In response to the cancellation of spring sports in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NCAA granted athletes an extra year of eligibility.
It made sense: Players didn’t get to complete a full season, so they should be allowed a redo. But it disrupted the typical four-year cycle, and as more fifth-year players stick around with their programs or transfer into new ones, it’s becoming harder for newcomers to break through.
Endicott College men’s coach Eric Hagarty, however, said he has not been concerned with how the playing time has been divided. His roster numbered an even 50 players this past season.
“We have always believed that the best players play, regardless of year, and the graduate student dynamic tests that,” said Hagarty, who coaches four graduate students on his current roster. “We have been fortunate that our fifth-year players have bought into the team and understand that coming back for their fifth year is the same process as any previous year. So far, each player has maintained or grown within their role.”