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U-Va. football players in final year given extra season of eligibility

The NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia football players who were in their final years this season. (Justin Ide for The Washington Post)

Members of the Virginia football team in their final year of eligibility were granted an extra year by the NCAA, a spokesman for the Cavaliers confirmed Wednesday.

As first reported by the Daily Progress, school officials made a request for the special dispensation from the NCAA in the wake of last month’s on-campus shooting that killed players Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry.

Virginia elected not to play its final two games, including its finale at rival Virginia Tech on Nov. 26, to give the team and players’ families time to mourn after a gunman opened fire on a charter bus that was returning to campus from a school trip to Washington on Nov. 13. A game against Coastal Carolina on Nov. 19 also was canceled. The Cavaliers finished 3-7 under first-year coach Tony Elliott.

Players and the coaching staff instead spent the weekend after Thanksgiving attending the funerals of Perry, a junior linebacker, in Miami and Chandler, a junior wide receiver, in Virginia Beach. The funeral for Davis, a junior wide receiver, was last Wednesday in Charleston, S.C.

U-Va. tragedy: Remembering the three football players killed in shooting

All three players were awarded degrees posthumously, Virginia academic officials announced, from the College of Arts & Sciences. Athletic Director Carla Williams, who attended the funerals with school president Jim Ryan, distributed the degrees to the families of the slain players.

The decision to grant an extra year of eligibility came after quarterback Brennan Armstrong entered the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. Virginia’s career and single-season leader in total offense had his least productive campaign, directing an offense vastly different from what he ran under former coordinator Robert Anae.

Armstrong, a dual-threat left-hander, came back to Charlottesville for a fifth year after he contemplated entering last spring’s NFL draft. He finished with 2,210 passing yards and seven touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 10 games. In 2021, he threw for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 11 games.

Armstrong is one of several Cavaliers who entered the transfer portal, including cornerback Fentrell Cypress II, a second-team all-ACC selection.