Senior Javier Renones playing in a match earlier in the 2019-2020 campaign. 

In the midst of the sports cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has found it appropriate to grant spring sports athletes an additional year of eligibility.

The NCAA’s decision is ultimately an effort to give all the senior student-athletes who wish to return and have a full final season of athletics the opportunity to do just that. This decision will of course have a number of impacts, both beneficial and detrimental, some of which we may not recognize for some time to come.

Regardless, the NCAA’s decision comes at a time when life just isn’t being fair and East Carolina University men’s tennis coach Shawn Heinchon believes the NCAA is handling things about as well as they can.

“First and foremost, I believe it is the right way to go about everything with what they're trying to do,” Heinchon said.

ECU men’s tennis has just one senior on it’s eight man roster in Javier Renones, but Renones has been as impactful as one senior can be. Doubles teams that included Renones this season had an overall record of 9-7 and in singles Renones finished 12-10.

According to Heinchon, Renones plans to return to ECU for his extra year of eligibility after he graduates this summer and then enroll in graduate school.

“I’ll speak only to Javi’s situation because I can’t speak to other teams' situations, but he actually is going to graduate. He’s gotta make sure he can get into graduate school. We’re hopeful that all of that will work out, we'd love to have him back, he’s a great player and a great teammate and he’s done a lot for our university already,” Heinchon said on Renones’ situation and what it would mean to have him back for another season.

As for ECU women’s tennis, there are two seniors on the roster in Lisa Hofbauer and Nastja Rettich. Rettich finished with overall records of 10-11 in singles and 7-10 in doubles. Hofbauer finished the season at 10-7 in singles and 9-9 in doubles.

According to ECU women’s tennis head coach Kirstin Burgess, Rettich will not be returning for her additional year of eligibility, but Hofbauer will as she already had plans to graduate this year and has already enrolled in graduate school as well.

“I think that they have an incredibly difficult situation to deal with,” Burgess said. “I don’t think there is a right or perfect way to handle this situation, I think in the end, somebody is going to suffer. It’s just a matter of who does the suffering. With their decision, I think they’ve made things just a little bit harder for high school students in the future because they will now be competing for scholarships against actual current players.”

Both teams are looking forward to next season, the men’s team excited to be a year better and the women’s squad excited to get healthy and come back full of upperclassmen talent. The women’s squad will get junior Alisa Diercksen back from injury and will have four juniors to accompany the returning Hofbauer.

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