2020 Seniors Athletes Granted One Extra Year to Compete

Written by Meah Copeland, Sports Editor

The above infographic shows the 35 student-athletes that chose to stay an extra year, postponing their graduation date. (Photo by Derek Walsh)

  The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association granted senior university students an opportunity for an extra year of eligibility, meaning they can stay for one extended year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MIAA wanted to make up for the year that was lost. At the University of Central Missouri, 35 student-athletes chose to stay an extra year to make up for last season. 

  Sixth-year senior Hannah Vanbuskirk chose to have an extra year of eligibility. She plays in two sports and chose to play in volleyball and track and field. Vanbuskirk decided to do both sports because she was passionate about both and wanted to continue her career. In volleyball, she is an outside hitter. In track and field, she does indoor pentathlon and outdoors, she does the heptathlon events. 

  “I was really excited, happy and grateful to be given the opportunity,” Vanbuskirk said. “I really wanted to come back and get the opportunity to compete for more years.” 

  Vanbuskirk’s set graduation date was spring 2020, but now that she has extended her Master’s program and will be graduating in spring 2022. 

  Collin Braun, a senior heavy-weight wrestler weighing in at 285 pounds, also chose to stay for an extra year. He is set to graduate in fall 2022 and his major is occupational safety management. Braun chose an extra year to focus on his academics to help him get his degree. He said the choice was not hard because Warrensburg is his hometown, and he has more school left to finish. 

  “I’m very grateful,” Braun said. “It’s helped me out and gave me another year of school paid for and helped me out to get closer to my degree.” 

  Braun said he has a good connection with teammates and hopes to continue this relationship with the team. He said he likes that no athlete has not dropped out since the new interim head coach, John Feeney, was named. 

  Fifth-year athlete Elliott Anderson said he is passionate about track and field. He is a sprinter who sprints under 400 meters. He chose an extra year of eligibility for track. Anderson said he believes the extra year was an opportunity to make up for the year that was lost. 

  Anderson said the choice was easy for him and he was not ready to graduate. He was supposed to graduate spring 2020, but now he will be graduating in spring 2022. Anderson also said he feels more prepared to graduate now. 

  “This is the program for track, if you need proof the banner is out there,” Anderson said. “We are that team and just being here is incredible.”