Situations That Affect Student-Athlete NCAA Transfers and Eligibility

With practices beginning at many colleges and universities for Fall sports such as football, volleyball, soccer, and cross country, this seems an appropriate time to provide these reminders:

  • If a college athlete participates in organized practice sessions, and then leaves their team for any reason (e.g., academic eligibility concerns, injury, illness, homesickness), even if after only one or two days of practice, they will be considered a “transfer student.”
  • If that athlete then enrolls at another NCAA university, they must satisfy all the transfer requirements to be eligible for competition at the new university.  This rule is consistent across NCAA Division I, II, and III colleges and universities.
  • Also, if a student has received the benefit of an athletic scholarship to take a summer school class, or attend a summer orientation program, and then chooses to leave that college for another university, that student also will be considered a transfer student and will be subject to all the transfer requirements in order to be eligible for competition.
  • Finally, if an athlete attends their first day of class this Fall while registered as a full-time student, and then later chooses to withdraw from the college completely, or drops to part-time status after withdrawing from one or two classes (even if it’s the very next day), they will have started their “five-year clock” under the NCAA rules, and will be held accountable for the grades and credit hours earned for the semester or quarter.

If you have questions about these topics and how it might impact an athlete’s transfer to another college or their eligibility, contact us at 913-766-1235 or 

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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