Division I Softball Coaches React To NCAA Eligibility Decision
This story has been updated to include a statement from San Diego State's Kathy Van Wyk.
In the wake of the NCAA Division I Council's ruling in favor of eligibility relief for Division I spring student-athletes, Softball America got reactions about the decision from three Division I softball head coaches.
See below for the reactions of Washington's Heather Tarr, Baylor's Glenn Moore, Oklahoma State's Kenny Gajewski and San Diego State's Kathy Van Wyk.
Washington head coach Heather Tarr:
“I am proud of the DI Council’s decision on behalf of spring sport athletes. This decision will lead to a lot of individual and program determinations to make everything work. It will take a team effort to manage the rosters and allow the athletes to have all the resources they need to succeed.”
Baylor head coach Glenn Moore:
“It was a big day for seniors, a big day for all our athletes. I certainly was pleased with the decision overall. (There have been) lots of questions over the last couple of weeks, lots of decisions have to be made, but to have the opportunity to play another year, especially for our seniors, was huge for everyone. It was important. From the feedback I have received from my (players), it was important to each of them.
“Having said that, this decision proved to be a little more complicated than just the fact that we have a returning class. Certainly, I would be excited with this senior class coming back and we’ll work through all the things we need to. I think it was a fair decision. No decision is perfect, but I have a lot of gratitude toward our administration.”
Oklahoma State head coach Kenny Gajewski:
“I was ecstatic after I heard. I’m going to be honest, I haven’t been sleeping well the past four or five days and I feel like this is a big part of it. I just didn’t want to have to deliver news to a group of kids that their careers were over. At first, after the NCAA put that first tweet out that they were recommending that they were going to do this, I thought this was going to be a slam dunk. But, after last week, we started to lose a lot of steam on this. I was concerned.
“It was a great relief, I was ecstatic for these kids, all these kids, but especially the seniors because they get to finish their careers out right.
“This is about opportunity. This is about student-athletes. There’s no guarantee that you’re a senior and that you’re going to play if you played last year. You still have to come in and earn your spot. It’s going to create more competition. I think our softball game is going to be even better because of it.
“I’m not worried about the roster spots. Just like anybody for budget purposes and that kind of stuff, I don’t know what my school is going to do. I don’t know what Oklahoma State is going to do and tell me I can only travel so many. We don’t know that yet, we’ll figure that stuff out. We’ll communicate to our kids like we always do. It has to be upfront, be honest, there’s tough things to tell them. It’s part of this.
“The bottom line is these kids have an opportunity. If you’re a Division I athlete, an athlete anywhere, you just want a fair opportunity, and it sounds like that’s what they’re going to get.”
San Diego State head coach Kathy Van Wyk:
“There is no doubt the DI Council did the right thing with the vote to extend eligibility to the athletes due to this unprecedented time. The difficulty now begins for everyone with how we find the extra money, especially since we are all affected by the drastic difference in the NCAA distribution. I’m excited and relieved for the seniors who now have the opportunity for a ‘do over.’ I hope they will appreciate it and learn from the coaches who say ‘play each game like it’s your last’ because it very well could be.”