The NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee made its official announcement last month that spring athletes will be granted another year of eligibility after losing most of their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period," the NCAA wrote in a statement. "The Council’s decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season."
This eligibility relief for these spring athletes means University of Arizona men’s tennis senior Alejandro Reguant will have the opportunity to return to Tucson next season to play another year with the Wildcats.
“My plan is to come back next year,” Reguant said. “ I’m very happy with the decision the NCAA has made to allow student athletes to get an extra year of eligibility, and I am happy that our athletic department is also supportive of it. However, there are still lots of things to be clarified regarding this extra year. But if everything goes as planned, I would love to come back.”
After entering this past season with high expectations as a team, the ‘Cats felt they had unfinished business and are all happy to have Reguant back for the ride, especially junior Filip Malbasic.
“The period before it got official from the NCAA granting us another year was nervous,” Malbasic said. “It was not supposed to end the way it did, and we are all very happy to have [Reguant] back for another year. [Reguant] is very keen to return next year, as he feels the same way as me, we have unfinished business to do that was lost this year. My expectations are to take this program to the next level and become an elite team next year and fight for the championship, as we have a great bunch of guys currently and good players coming in for next season.”
Reguant is not only highly regarded as a top player on the team, but he is also loved by the entire team as a great person on and off the court. Head Coach Clancy Shields hasn’t let that go unnoticed, praising what Reguant brings as one of the leaders of the team.
“Whether it is a hustle play that you didn’t think was possible, a tough locker room speech after a loss, giving back to the community or picking up a guy when he is down, [Reguant] is always there to make that difference,” Shields said. “He is one of those unique and rare individuals who brightens the room when he walks in it. He has led our team in so many ways, but I think the true measure of his success has been in how he has made everyone care more deeply about each other and how he has enriched all of our lives by just being in it.”
His play on the court also speaks for itself, as he is just four singles wins away from becoming the winningest singles player in Arizona history.
Shields noted that the team is already finding different ways to train and get ready for next season.
“They have all been talking about their goal of winning a national championship and having a magical season, and this whole situation has brought our team and family closer,” Shields said. “I know they can’t wait to all be back together soon and get started.”
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