MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — This week, the NCAA voted to allow seniors in spring sports to return for an extra season of competition next year. But it left the matter of whether their scholarships will be funded up to the discretion of the individual institutions themselves.
According to West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, the decision has yet to be made on whether WVU’s returning seniors would receive their scholarships next year.
“We have not [decided], just getting that information Monday night,” Lyons said when he met with reporters via video conference on Wednesday. “I know some of my sport administrators have been in discussions with athletes that would be returning. In our case, that’s men’s golf, track, rowing and a few baseball players.
“It’s a matter of us sitting down with the student-athletes. There’s the initial emotion, ‘I want to play another year.’
“If they’re going to finish their degrees and graduate, is their hope to come back next year? We have to have those conversations now and figure out from that standpoint how we move forward… we’re really at the front end of this, and we’ll be making decisions of what that looks like in the coming weeks.”
If every senior comes back, Lyons estimates the total cost to WVU would be close to a half-million dollars.
“We’re probably looking at $450-500,000 in additional expense if all of those student-athletes returned,” Lyons said. “That’s something we’ll have to look at. Overall, the financial picture and how we’re going to operate is just a lot of unknowns at this point.”
All of the construction projects currently in progress at WVU remain on target for scheduled completion.
That includes the renovation at the Milan Puskar Center as well the replacement of the seats and installation of a new video board at WVU Coliseum.
“We’re hoping there’s no delays in materials we’re receiving,” Lyons said. “The work here on campus is moving forward. We hope to have those completed on the deadline dates.”
Lyons working towards Pitt renewal
December’s basketball game with Pitt is the last on the current four-year contract with the Panthers. Lyons said that Pitt AD Heather Lyke and Mountaineers basketball coach Bob Huggins are both receptive to continuing the series, but renewal talks are understandably on the backburner during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think she’s on the same page as me, and talking to Coach Huggins as well, we’d love to see that series continue,” Lyons said. “We’ll be in discussions with Pitt to continue that series.”