Eligibility relief is on the way.

The NCAA has granted an extra year for Division I spring sport athletes whose seasons were shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA Division I Council, which met in closed session Monday afternoon, declined to extend eligibility for winter student-athletes because all or much of their regular seasons were completed.

The NCAA is adjusting financial aid rules to allow spring programs to carry more scholarships, which will help account for the overlap of incoming recruits and current seniors who opt to stay with their respective teams next school year.

Scholarships for returning seniors will be determined on a case-by-case basis by each school. Schools will have at their disposal the NCAA Student Assistance Fund, an initiative designed to help student-athletes cover non-athletics-related costs, to pay for scholarships for student-athletes who exercise their extended eligibility.

"The council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level," said council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania. "The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that."

The council, a 40-plus-person panel with representatives from all 32 Division I conferences, also increased the roster limit in baseball for student-athletes impacted by COVID-19, the only spring sport with such a limit. The previous roster limit was 35 players.

Missouri baseball has five seniors, while Eli Daniel is the Tigers’ lone current softball senior.

Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said multiple times this month he was open to extending eligibility to affected athletes but cautioned the details would be complicated.

A total of 140 spring sport athletes at Missouri received athletic aid totaling approximately $3.7 million in fiscal year 2019, more than $26,000 per individual.

Extending eligibility only increases those costs.

"Nationally, the NCAA announced last Thursday that its revenue distribution to member institutions will only be 33% of its original projection following the cancellation of all winter and spring championships," Sterk said in a statement early Monday evening before the NCAA officially made an announcement on extending eligibility.

Sterk has been meeting regularly with fellow Southeastern Conference athletic directors since the shutdown began.

"I remain confident that we will get through this together and at some point down the road athletics will bring the Mizzou family together," he said.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which is composed of around 60 athletes who represent each of the Power Five Conference institutions, released a joint statement ahead of Monday’s deliberations detailing their recommendations.

The SAAC’s guidelines centered on three points: NCAA student-athletes desperately need immediate support for housing and food; all athletes who did not have the opportunity to complete their championship season should be given the opportunity to pursue an extra year of eligibility; and returning seniors should have their scholarships renewed.

The SAAC not only recommended relief for athletes in spring sports, but also winter sport athletes who qualified for postseason play and weren’t able to complete their seasons.

"I want people to play as long as possible," Missouri head softball coach Larissa Anderson said during an interview Friday. "... Female athletes do not have a very long professional career. Everybody that graduates for softball, it's their dream and their collegiate career is their professional career because they're not going to make a living playing the sport.

"So I just want everyone to always have an opportunity to be able to play as long as they're capable of playing, as long as their body allows them to play."

For Missouri, winter athletes impacted by the virus shutdown included every men’s basketball player, as the Tigers’ SEC Tournament opener never took place.

Missouri women’s basketball was eliminated in the second round of the SEC Tournament by Tennessee on March 5 and its season was completed before the cancellations.

The Missouri contingent had already flown to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but the event never began. MU junior Ja’Mari Ward would’ve competed in the long jump, while senior Karissa Roman and sophomore Roberto Vilches were set to be competitors in the high jump.

Missouri swimming and diving had nine competitors qualify for the national championships that were scheduled to take place last weekend. All four diving qualifiers were freshmen.

Tiger freshman Leonardo Garcia Varela earned a 3-meter berth, while Maddie Huitt and Savana Trueb both qualified on platform. Freshman Carlo Lopez gained a spot in the national meet on both disciplines.

Five male swimmers also were scheduled to compete in Indianapolis. Seniors Nick Alexander, Daniel Hein and Micah Slaton, as well as sophomores Jack Dahlgren and Danny Kovac, would’ve rounded out the Tigers’ group performing on a national stage. Missouri was also eligible to swim in all five relay events.

Missouri wrestling had eight competitors qualify from eight different weight classes for the NCAA Championships, which were scheduled to start on March 19 in Minneapolis.

#TigerStyle would’ve been represented by Columbia natives Brock Mauller and Jarrett Jacques, seniors Dylan Wisman and Connor Flynn as well as Allan Hart, Grant Leeth, Peyton Mocco and Wyatt Koelling at the national meet.

Missouri gymnastics had its final meet of the year against Georgia canceled, which would’ve taken place March 14 in Athens. The SEC and NCAA gymnastics championships were called off.

The Tigers were projected to send at least a few gymnasts to the national championships. There were three MU senior gymnasts: Morgan Porter, Aspen Tucker and Mary Nicholson.

In addition to softball and baseball, the spring sports at Missouri that stand to benefit from the NCAA ruling next school year include outdoor track and field, golf and tennis.

The SEC has yet to extend its suspension of all activities past April 15, but Sterk said Monday he expects that stoppage to continue through the rest of the academic year, which would follow the lead of the Big 12 Conference.

The remainder of all spring sports schedules have been canceled, as well as spring football practices and games.

"It’s a really tough situation, but to our players, it’s devastating of all the work that they put in and to get themselves in great shape and then not to be able to see their season go all the way through. They’ve been crushed," Missouri head baseball coach Steve Bieser said during an interview last week.

"But to see the seniors have that opportunity if they so choose, I think that’s very important for them. Some of them can and some of them can’t."