An NCAA ruling has provided a huge boost to the Colorado ski program.

Men's Nordic skier Alvar Alev, the runner-up in the 20K freestyle race at the 2018 NCAA Championships, was granted another year of eligibility to compete for the Buffaloes in 2019.

With the adoption of proposal 2017-20 and subsequent change of Bylaw 12.8.3.5 - Delayed Enrollment, CU filed a waiver with the NCAA to revisit Alev's amateur certification completed by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Colorado learned Wednesday the waiver was approved and that the legislation is retroactive, granting Alev the extra season of eligibility.

Alev was in his mandatory military service in his native Estonia and had participated in organized competition with the Joulu Skiclub and the Estonian National Team for three years beyond his 21st birthday prior to coming to Colorado. Based on guidance from the NCAA Eligibility Center and the Pac-12 Conference, CU was able to retroactively analyze Alev's amateur certification using military documentation. Specifically, his participation in competition during the first calendar year beyond his 21st birthday is exempt due to his military enlistment that spanned those dates of competition. The ruling gives Alev another season of competition.

Last winter, Alev finished eighth or better in 11 of 12 races, had five total podium finishes, and won a pair of races at the Denver Invitational in Minturn.


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"He's a mature skier who has been around a lot and he obviously with a second place finish last year at NCAA's, he has the skill to be right in there again," CU head Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said in a statement. "I think he is pretty psyched and motivated, too, to come back and I think everybody wants to feel like we are psyched to win a championship and he will just add that extra ability there."

With Colorado losing six-time All-American Petter Reistad, who left CU after graduating with a 3.956 GPA in finance to return to Norway, Alev will be one of CU's top returnees. Joining him is Sondre Bollum who, like Alev, in his first year at CU last winter also claimed All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. Bollum was seventh in the 10K classical and 10th in the 20K freestyle to earn a pair of second-team All-American nods.

"He's like a mentor for these kids," Cranmer said of Alev. "After not having (Reistad) coming back, I think having Sondre (Bollum) and him in there, even though both of them have only been here one year, it will add a dimension of maturity to the team. The more good skiers you have the better your chances are... Having that extra person, especially a person of his caliber, is just great."

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