One last rodeo Eligibility for spring senior athletes extended

Tara Chatowsky comes up to home plate ready to bat. 

With the NCAA’s announcement to extend eligibility to spring sport seniors, the softball team will be seeing double for the 2021 season as sisters Tara and Taylor Chatowsky will be returning to finish out their careers. 

When the Chatowsky sisters first learned their senior season would be cut short, they truly thought their careers had come to an end.

“In the moment, we genuinely felt like our softball careers were over,” Tara said.

Even when they were told about a possible eligibility extension, the sisters knew they were going to look into it but were uncertain if they would even take the opportunity, as they did not know if they would be able to afford a fifth year of school. 

However, when confirmation on an eligibility extension was finalized, the decision became easy for the twins.


On April 5, student athletes received an email from Compliance Coordinator Kelly Thompson regarding changes for athletes caused by COVID-19. In the email, Thompson explained spring sport NCAA student athletes will receive another year of eligibility, and seniors interested in utilizing their extended eligibility were to fill out a survey indicating their potential plan for coursework if they were to return next year. 

According to the 2020 NCAA Division III COVID-19 Question and Answer Guide, bylaw 14, last updated on April 3, “A student-athlete wishing to participate during the 2020-21 academic year will be subject to all NCAA enrollment and eligibility requirements.” 

This means a returning student athlete would have to be taking 12 credits towards a baccalaureate degree or graduate program, while also being in good academic standing as defined by the institution. 

For students who were in their 10th semester during the 2020 spring semester, they would only be eligible to return for one semester. In order to participate in the spring, student athletes would have to “not attend full time in the fall and not participate in athletics during that semester; or Seek a waiver through the Division III Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement to extend the student’s eligibility period.” 

The Chatowsky sisters have decided to delay graduation until the spring of 2021 as they look to add management and finance degrees. 

“Even before we decided to come back to RWU, we already had a plan of taking a semester of classes at URI in the fall,” Tara said.

“We want to be certified public accountants one day and in order to get that certification you need 150 credits. So we were going to continue school anyway, but now we are lucky that we get to continue at RWU.”

As of April 8, seven seniors have reached out to Thompson on potentially playing next year. Thompson encourages any senior with interest to fill out the survey form that was sent out. 

“There is not necessarily a deadline, but anyone wishing to play next year really needs to contact their coach and map out a plan with me. Like I said, every individual student-athlete has to be looked at as just that — an individual. What works for one person may not work for someone else,” Thompson said.


“At the end of the day, we will do whatever we can to help our student-athletes utilize their extra year.”