An NCAA DI athlete was told by her athletic trainer that she would not qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver even if she had surgery for her injury. The athletic trainer said it was because of her previous participation history.

The parents of this student-athlete contacted Informed Athlete to discuss.  They wanted to confirm the information given to their daughter and see what options were available.  In fact, the student-athlete IS eligible for a Medical Hardship Waiver.  If approved by the NCAA, this would give her the opportunity for another season of eligibility. The reason is that the applicable NCAA rule was changed last year.

This story isn’t shared to fault the athletic trainer, but to point out that the NCAA rules can change.  Sometimes student-athletes don’t get the most up-to-date information.

In many situations, a consultation with us can clarify what your athlete has been told and options that may be available. Give us a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

We were recently contacted by the parent of a student-athlete who transferred to an NCAA Division II university to play her sport, but was then told she wouldn’t be eligible this Spring because she had not earned enough academic credit hours at her previous college.

This student-athlete had recently transferred to the NCAA DII school after two previous years as a general student at an NCAA DI university.

The student-athlete and her parents scheduled a confidential consultation with me to get an objective opinion and learn what her options were. During the consultation we discussed the details of her situation and the parents asked about the possibility of a waiver.  However, it soon became clear that a waiver would not be necessary because the Division II compliance administrator was applying the wrong set of transfer rules and requirements to this student-athlete’s situation.

I gave a copy of the applicable academic requirements to the student-athlete and her parents and they set up a meeting to share the information with the compliance administrator. They approached the meeting with a congenial attitude and were even-tempered and business-like in their approach. The end result was an apology from the compliance administrator who realized that she had been applying the wrong set of rules for this student-athlete.

As a former NCAA compliance administrator, I know that mistakes can happen but can usually be worked through with the school with a positive outcome which is exactly what happened in this case.

If you are a parent and have concerns about your student-athlete’s eligibility, we can provide accurate information, objective advice, and options available that are in the best interest of your athlete and family. To schedule a private consultation, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

This time of year, I always like to remind college athletes and parents that any amount of participation in a game or contest against another team will count as a Season of Eligibility used.

The only way to get a season “over again” is if the student-athlete qualifies and is approved for a Medical Hardship Waiver.

A Medical Hardship Waiver is a possibility if your student-athlete incurs an injury or illness that is serious enough to be documented by a physician as “season-ending.”

There are also specific limitations for the number of contests that an athlete can participate in and still qualify for a hardship waiver.

Do you have questions about whether your student-athlete might qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver?  If so, click Book a Confidential Consultation, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Wednesday, February 6 is the starting date that NCAA DI and DII and NJCAA football programs can sign current high-school seniors to a National Letter of Intent.

The Football signing periods are:

  • NCAA DI – February 6 to April 1, 2019
  • NCAA DII – February 6 to August 1, 2019
  • NJCAA – February 6 to the first day of Fall 2019 classes

The NCAA DI Basketball Signing Period begins Wednesday, April 17 and goes through May 15, 2019.

All NCAA DI and DII sports with the exception of football and basketball have signing periods that began in November 2018 and continue through August 1, 2019.

An NCAA Qualifier is a high-school athlete who has satisfied the NCAA academic requirements to be eligible as a Freshman.

If the NCAA Freshman eligibility requirements are not met, the high-school athlete is classified as anNCAA Non-Qualifier.  Reasons for this frequently include:

  • The high-school athlete didn’t take the NCAA required core courses.
  • Low GPA, SAT or ACT test scores.

A high-school athlete who is classified as an NCAA Non-Qualifier:

  • Cannot receive an athletic scholarship during their freshman year unless the requirements for “Academic Redshirt” are met.
  • Will NOT be eligible to compete with the team during their freshman year.
  • Will not be eligible to practice with the team or attend weight training with their team.

High-school athletes who go to a JUCO their freshman year as an NCAA Non-Qualifier:

  • Will NOT be eligible to transfer to a Division I program after just one year.
  • Will have more extensive academic requirements at the JUCO to be immediately eligible upon transfer to a Division I program (more required junior college courses).

If you’re unsure as to whether your high-school athlete is on track to meet the NCAA Freshman Eligibility Requirements, we can discuss your situation in a confidential consultation. Click here to schedule a confidential consultation or call our office at 913-766-1235.

We also offer NCAA Freshman Transcript Evaluations to assess if your student-athlete is on track and if not, we can provide an action plan of what they will need to do to achieve NCAA Qualifier Status.

Recruited high-school student-athletes CAN double-sign a National Letter of Intent.  

Double-signing with an NCAA team and a NJCAA team provides an Option A and an Option B if a high-school athlete does not satisfy the academic requirements for NCAA eligibility and is classified as a NCAA Non-Qualifier.

A high-school athlete is NOT allowed to sign an NLI with two NCAA teams, even if one is an NCAA Division I and the other is a DII. A high-school recruited athlete is also not allowed to sign with two junior college teams.

A word of caution: There can be a down-side of signing.  For example, a high-school athlete is a NCAA Qualifier, signs with an NCAA school and a Junior College, but then decides to go to the Junior College for whatever reason.  In this case, the student-athlete will have to obtain an NLI release from the NCAA school.

In addition, there will be additional requirements that must be met if that same athlete does not get their release from the NCAA school, attends and plays for the Junior College school and then wants to transfer to another NCAA school in the future.

If your high-school athlete is considering double-signing, we can discuss the various scenarios available and save you potential heartaches and money down the road. Click here to schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consultation or call our office at 913-766-1235.

The most significant rule change that was approved at the recent NCAA Convention will benefit the health and well-being of Division I student-athletes at a Power Five university.

  • Those athletic programs will be required to provide their athletes with information and access to available mental health services.
  • Non-Power 5 NCAA Division I programs will not be required to offer such services, but many will do so to keep pace with the universities they are recruiting and competing against.

Here’s a brief rundown of other rule changes that might be of interest to our readers: 

NCAA Division I

Power Five universities will be allowed to provide room and board to athletes participating in summer school activities (strength and conditioning, etc.) even if they aren’t enrolled in summer courses.

NCAA Division II

Division II student-athletes competing unattached next school year will be permitted to receive athletic training support or medical services from their university at a competition site.

Under current legislation, if a track athlete is competing unattached, for example, at a meet where their teammates are competing for the college, that athlete is not allowed to be treated by the athletic trainers from their own college. They would instead need to receive treatment from the staff of the college hosting the event. The new rule will allow an unattached athlete to receive medical assistance from their own athletic training staff starting next year.

NCAA Division III

High school or prep school students who choose to participate in college athletics in NCAA Division III will be permitted to receive funds to pay for their pre-college educational expenses from any person or entity as long as the funds don’t come from an agent, a pro sports team, or the booster of a Division III college. Another condition is that such funds must be paid directly to the athlete’s high school or prep school rather than to the athlete’s family.

This past week we received multiple requests from families for options their student-athlete can consider if he or she chooses to withdraw from all classes and leave their college now in the middle of the semester.

We often advise that the student-athlete not leave unless they have a well thought out plan in place.  The plan should include considering their current and future NCAA academic eligibility status, and how it affects their scholarship obligations.   A potential transfer to another school and the steps involved is another important consideration.

We have advised many student-athletes and prepared such a plan so that they don’t damage their future eligibility. When working with student-athletes and their families, the most important aspect of the plan is to review and discuss the academic eligibility requirements that must be satisfied to make sure they will be eligible at their next college.

If you have a student-athlete who is considering leaving their college before the “drop/add date” or one who just wants to plan ahead for a possible transfer at the end of this school year, we can work with and guide you through the transfer process. To schedule your personalized, confidential consultation, call our office at 913-766-1235.