No matter when their school plays its football in the 2020-21 academic year, mid-year enrollees that are part of the recruiting Class of 2021 and plan to begin classes at the semester break in January will not be eligible to play until the fall of 2021.
That news was handed down from the NCAA Division I council on Wednesday, as the leadership groups of both FBS and FCS levels of football approved measure.
Players enrolling earlier has become a significant trend around college football in recent years, and with high school seasons either not happening or being played under significant modifications this fall, many of the top prospects in the Class of 2021 have set their sites on entering college a semester early.
No. 3 player in Pennsylvania Elliot Donald has opted out of his season at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, instead choosing to focus on his future as a Pitt commit. Pitt had seven early enrollees in the Class of 2020.
The advantages of a freshman getting the extra practice time of the spring session before their first season and two whole semester of classes in before playing a game can be hugely beneficial to their chances of being able to contribute in their first collegiate season.
But even if the rest of the team will still be playing when those commits arrive in January, they won’t be able to, according to the NCAA’s latest ruling.