Michigan State Basketball: Should NCAA grant seniors an extra year?

Cassius Winston, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cassius Winston, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The 2019-20 season has come to a sudden end and that means the careers of some Michigan State basketball seniors. Could the NCAA fix that?

What a strange couple of days it’s been. First, the Big Ten and NCAA ruled that no fans would be in attendance for the conference tourney and the Big Dance, respectively, and then just as quickly as that development came about, both cancelled their tournaments.

The Spartans saw their season come to an end after finishing the season as the Big Ten’s hottest team, beating five ranked teams in a seven-game span to split another conference title — their third straight.

They also saw the careers of Cassius Winston, Kyle Ahrens and Conner George come to an end.

More heartbreaking than anything else was the fact that Cassius returned to try and win a title and suffered the toughest year of his life. He lost his brother to start the season and then played with the heaviest of hearts only to play some of the best basketball of his career to help lead the Spartans to another Big Ten title and head into March with all the momentum in the world.

And then a bomb is dropped on him and the rest of the team.

With the sudden conclusion of his Spartan career and of all of college basketball’s seniors, there’s been talk about granting another year of eligibility by the NCAA. It’s all just propositions by the likes of UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Jay Bilas, but it seems to be picking up steam by college basketball experts and coaches.

Allow the seniors to come back for one more season so they can get a proper send-off and just allow programs to keep more scholarship players for one year. Seems simple, right?

It’s definitely something the NCAA could make happen and it would change the light some people look at it with. If the NCAA allowed such an athlete-first approach like this, it would gain a ton of respectability and it’s a route that it should go.

Will it happen? I’m doubtful in that regard, but it’s something that wouldn’t hurt the NCAA, so why not give these kids who have dedicated four years to the sport another opportunity to come back and play with their brothers for a chance at a national title?

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It only seems fair, especially since this is the only senior class in history that has seen careers cut way too short because of a pandemic. An unprecedented global crisis calls for an unprecedented move by the NCAA.