Four University of Hawaii volleyball seniors — including two-time All-American Rado Parapunov — will be returning for the 2021 season.
It was presumed their eligibility had ended in March when the NCAA canceled the remainder of the spring-sport seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the NCAA Division I Council then approved a measure providing spring-sport players “an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.” Translation: Each athlete’s current class standing was frozen, meaning a senior this year will remain a senior next academic year, a sophomore will be a sophomore, and so forth.
The council left the implementation to the individual schools. Today, UH announced each of its 10 spring programs will have the option of bringing back this year’s seniors. The NCAA allows returning seniors to receive up to — but not exceeding — the amount of financial aid they currently receive. UH’s stipulation is each program will incur the added scholarship costs.
“No new institutional funds will be used,” Matlin wrote in a news release.
UH has 10 teams that are deemed spring-semester sports, including men’s volleyball. The Rainbow Warriors were ranked No. 2 nationally when their season was canceled in March. Today, volleyball coach Charlie Wade confirmed that Parapurov, outside hitter Colton Cowell, middle blocker Patrick Gasman and serving specialist James Anastassiades will return in 2021.
Coupled with the addition of the incoming recruits, Wade said, “the energy in the practice gym is going to be at a really high level, super intense, super competitive.”
Wade said the four seniors are set to complete work on bachelor’s degrees next week. They will enter master’s programs in the fall.
“They’re all good students,” Wade said. “They’re all excited about leaving here with a master’s degree. Hopefully, a master’s and a championship would be a great way to go out. They’re really committed to the academic piece. And getting a master’s from the University of Hawaii is something that’s going to benefit them the rest of their lives.”
Parapunov said the announcement came at the right time. Parapunov, who was born and reared in Bulgaria, said his student visa was set to expire.