Student-athletes taking advantage of fifth-year opportunity


Cassie Nash

Simpson is giving seniors the opportunity to have a fifth-year tuition-free which allows student athletes to return.

by Cassie Nash, Staff Reporter

Multiple Simpson College student-athletes moved their graduation dates due to COVID-19 interrupting their college experience. They plan to use the extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA, as well as the tuition-free fifth year Simpson is offering, with hopes that they can accomplish more athletically and academically.

The NCAA ruled in Oct. 2020 that all three division levels will gain an extra year of eligibility for fall and winter sports during the 2020-21 season. Division III is the only level that also carried that out through their spring sports as well.

Dylan McChesney, a senior on the wrestling team, is taking advantage of the extra year.

“Both my coaches really wanted me to come back. A few of my senior teammates are coming back as well so that also helped,” he said.

Chris Honz is part of the men’s basketball team and feels like he has unfinished business.

“My season wasn’t really fulfilled so I feel like I lost a year, so coming back would kind of help that,” he said.

He’s also looking forward to another year playing with his team.

“My team is great and I have a lot of great friends on the basketball team that aren’t graduating in my class so them staying with me and my fifth year definitely impacted that,” Honz said.

Megan Roberts is returning to remain a member of the women’s soccer team.

“I wanted another year playing with my friends and playing the sport that I love,” she said.

Roberts was planning on taking an extra semester regardless, as she transferred in her sophomore year and not all of her credits carried over.

Honz plans to benefit academically while remaining a part of the men’s basketball team. He wants to use time to gain experience and get prepared for the real world.

“Academics is definitely helping my decision too because it gives me more time to try out new internships and help see different views and perspectives of what I want to do in my career,” he said.

Coming back for an additional year helps McChesney academically as well.

“It gave me the opportunity to add another major,” he said.

To go along with the extra eligibility, Simpson announced in August 2020 that they will provide a tuition-free fifth year for all students that were enrolled full-time during the 2020-21 school year.

“It’s like a 20 grand discount so that was definitely involved in the decision-making process,” McChesney said.

Honz also plans to take advantage of a tuition-free year. 

“I don’t know if I would’ve actually come back for my fifth year if they didn’t offer the free tuition,” he said.

The seniors feel like they had a year taken away from them when it comes to COVID-19, so they all have things they want to achieve in their 2022-23 seasons.

McChesney wants to continue to succeed individually.

“I’m hoping to get another All-American status or a national title and to finish up my marketing communications major,” he said.

Honz wants to improve with the team.

“Our team has a lot to build on this year so just coming back next year with a different attitude can hopefully help us succeed a lot more than we did this year,” he said.

Roberts has hopes for herself individually, but also on the team side.

“I just want to be better than I was last season and have more accomplishments and get further with our team in the conference and NCAA tournaments,” she said.