Spring sports athletes will benefit -
LEBANON -- An innovative move by the Cumberland University administration will honor scholarships for spring sport students-athletes who had their senior years terminated by the NAIA.
Back on March 16 the NAIA cancelled the spring 2020 sports season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the mandate, no spring sport student-athlete will be charged a season of competition.
Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be allowed to return for another senior year - provided the athlete remains academically eligible.
Cumberland's baseball team wrapped up the abbreviated season 9-11 overall while softball was off to a 7-2 start before the plug was pulled.
Also impacted were men's volleyball, and both the men's and women's sports of golf, tennis and track & field.
"I had an idea and (CU) President Paul Stumb backed it," said Cumberland's director of athletics Ron Pavan.
"We're going to honor the existing scholarships for our seniors, who will more than likely become graduate students. And we've committed to our incoming freshmen as well.
"We're going to honor scholarship offers we've made and redshirt them. In addition, Cumberland will forgo the ACT or SAT as part of our requirements for incoming freshmen."
Students with at least a 3.0 grade point average and a score of 75 percent or better on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale -- a 25 question test that helps determine, "the grit" of those who take it, will be enrolled.
"This puts Cumberland out in front of the NAIA and the NCAA," Pavan said. "I'm thankful Dr. Stumb is letting us do this.
"In the climate we're in, there's people losing their jobs all around us. With the ability to start on a masters program, this allows our older students an opportunity to earn another degree and to be more marketable once they enter the workforce."
As to "redshirting" all incoming freshmen, Pavan said this action was necessary in the event the NAIA refuses to expand roster limits for the 2020-2021 academic year. "I think this is a win-win for everyone," Pavan said.
"Cumberland has been around for 178 years. We've survived the Civil War, two world wars, the great Depression, tornados, you name it and now this COVID-19. We'd like to think we're offering some stability for our students in this trying time."
Pavan said work on the athletic facilities are still going forward including moving back the men's three-point line at the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena.