The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility for Duke’s men’s lacrosse players. The 33 players who were on the team in 2006 when Duke’s season was cancelled, but were not seniors, will receive a fifth year of eligibility.
This is an interesting decision because, in my opinion, the fault for the cancellation lies with Duke’s administration. The NCAA must have concluded either that cancellation was a reasonable decision at the time it was made but not when viewed in hindsight, or that the players shouldn’t be punished for an unreasonable decision made by spineless administrators.
It seems likely that at least some of Duke’s seniors, having twice narrowly missed out on the championship, will return for another go. And once a few seniors take this option, one can imagine many others being tempted to follow. The ruling should help Duke compensate for the loss of recruits in this year’s freshman class (the class of 2010) who were put off by uncertainty resulting from the cancellation and/or by the criminal charges.
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