Almost every Fall since we started Informed Athlete back in 2008, we receive emails similar to the one below two or three weeks AFTER an athlete has started attending classes at their new college.

“I transferred to this new college but wasn’t informed until two weeks into this semester that I didn’t meet the academic requirements to be eligible this year. What options do I have now that I’ve already started attending classes?”

My first comment is that somebody at that college didn’t do their job as they should have (assuming they received this athlete’s transcript in a timely manner) if they didn’t inform their athlete of her academic deficiency before the semester started.

Had they done so, this athlete could have at least had the option to go back to her previous junior college for one more semester to take the necessary courses for eligibility, or she could have considered other options.

Now her options are limited and more complicated:

  • By waiting until two weeks into the semester to inform the athlete of her status, she is stuck at that college and is now ineligible for this academic year. She must now work to earn her academic eligibility to be able to compete next year at this college.
  • Also, because an athlete must be academically eligible when they leave their current school in order to be immediately eligible as a transfer to an NCAA member school, she either needs to stay at this school and work to earn her eligibility there, OR
  • If she chooses to transfer to another NCAA college before she regains eligibility where she is, she may be ineligible for her first academic year at the next college.
  • Another option is that she could possibly transfer to an NAIA college where it would be possible to regain eligibility after one semester.

How can an athlete AVOID this type of situation?

Make sure you are certified academically eligible by the school you are transferring to before classes begin.

In fact, I suggest that you request confirmation in writing prior to the start of classes that the athletic compliance office can confirm that you’re eligible to compete this year! This way, if something goes wrong and you’re later told that you aren’t eligible, you at least have documentation of what you were told that could possibly be beneficial in a waiver situation.

How frequently does this type of thing happen?

More frequently than you would think. These are the type of situations I hate because they could easily be prevented.

How can you prevent this from happening to your athlete?

We frequently work with junior college athletes to make sure they’re eligible at their NCAA school of choice by doing a college transcript review.

If you are interested in a confidential consultation about your student-athlete’s specific situation, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

NCAA Division I student-athletes must complete their playing eligibility within five years of their initial full-time college attendance. This is commonly referred to as a student-athlete’s “5-year eligibility clock.”

Student-Athletes at other four-year college divisions must complete their playing eligibility within their first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment and attendance.

Don’t make this mistake!

A student-athlete triggers the start of their five-year clock or uses one of their 10 semesters or 15 quarters when they attend their first class while registered for a full-time course load – even if they drop to part-time status on the afternoon of the first class day!! 

In addition to causing you to lose eligibility at your current school, this could also negatively impact a potential transfer to another school.

Do you need assistance?

If you or your athlete have questions about their eligibility “clock” and the impact of dropping to part-time status, schedule a confidential eligibility consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or by send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com.

August 1 is a very important date for certain aspects of recruiting for many NCAA Division I sports programs. Those recruiting opportunities that can begin on August 1 are listed below:

Official Visits – Can be provided August 1 by Division I programs to recruits who will be entering their junior year of high school, with the following exceptions:

  • Baseball, Softball, and Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year of HS
  • Women’s Basketball and Football – April of junior year of HS

Unofficial Visits – Division I programs can be actively involved in unofficial visits for recruits who will be entering their junior year of high school starting August 1, with the following exceptions:

  • Football and Women’s Basketball – Any time, no restrictions.
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – January 1 of sophomore year of HS
  • Men’s Basketball – August 1 before sophomore year of HS
  • Baseball, Softball, and Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year of HS

Off-Campus Contacts – Face-to-face interaction between Division I coaches and prospects (and/or their family) at off-campus locations permissible August 1 before their junior year with the following exceptions:

  • Men’s Basketball – Opening day of junior year of HS
  • Lacrosse and Softball – September 1 of junior year of HS
  • Women’s Basketball – March 1 of junior year of HS
  • Baseball and Football – July 1 after junior year of HS

If you have questions about the NCAA recruiting rules for your specific sport of interest, contact us at 913-766-1235 or via email to rick@informedathlete.com

We are having multiple student-athletes call us for help in guiding them through transfers because of coaches reneging on a “promise” that they would increase their scholarship in future years.

If you are being recruited and a coach is telling you that “I don’t have a scholarship now but can give you one in the future,” or “I can increase your scholarship based on how you perform this year” our advice is to just assume that WON’T happen.

If it sounds like I’m cynical about such promises after my many years in this business, that would be correct! Here are a few reasons why:

  • Once a coach gets your athlete on campus as a walk-on or only on a small scholarship, they know that in many cases your athlete will start making multiple connections – with classmates and teammates, and being “all-in” with their choice of school.
  • Some coaches assume that if you could pay for your athlete’s freshman year with only a small scholarship or as a walk-on athlete, that you can find a way to continue paying once your athlete is happy and invested at their college.
  • Coaches are always trying to improve their programs by recruiting athletes who are better than the ones they already have. When deciding between allocating scholarship money to a new incoming recruit or an athlete who’s already in their program, most of the time the coach is going to give that scholarship to an incoming recruit to attract them to the school while your athlete has already “bought in.”

My personal opinion

I suggest an athlete or family should NEVER expect that the scholarship value will increase in future years – UNLESS your athlete receives an official multi-year scholarship offer that provides a freshman year scholarship AND steady or increasing values in future years.

Need Advice?

If you’d like an unbiased, confidential opinion about your athlete’s scholarship offer or how that scholarship might change in the future, schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call our office at 913-766-1235.

High School athletes who are offered 10-15% of a full scholarship by a 4-year college coach might be better advised to not accept the scholarship and instead be a walk-on.

The reason?

They may have more flexibility should they decide to transfer in the future.

The NCAA recently approved a change that will allow walk-on student-athletes to transfer to a Division I program from another 4-year university and be immediately eligible at their new school. In addition, the school that the athlete is leaving will not be allowed to have an objection to the transfer.

This new rule impacts a student-athlete who is:

  • A walk-on athlete from a 4-year college program that awarded athletic scholarships, or
  • A non-recruited athlete from a 4-year college program that doesn’t provide athletic scholarships (such as an Ivy League university).

If you have questions about the transfer rules and how they could impact your athlete in the future, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

All NCAA student-athletes are required to sign an NCAA drug-testing consent form at the start of each academic year in order to be eligible for competition and practice.

All incoming freshmen and transfer student-athletes should also know that any medication or over-the-counter supplements that they are taking must be cleared by the sports medicine staff or athletic trainer at their college or university.

If a student-athlete tests positive for an NCAA-banned substance (even if they did not know a banned substance was included in an over-the-counter supplement) they will be ruled ineligible for one calendar year after the positive test and until the athlete retests negative.

The best way for a student-athlete to prevent the possibility of this is to check with the sports medicine staff or athletic trainer at their college or university BEFORE they take anything.

Each year about this time, we receive a few inquiries from parents whose son or daughter is having second thoughts about attending the college with which they’ve signed a scholarship or made a commitment to.

The most common reason that a student-athlete wants to de-commit from their signed scholarship offer with a university is because the coach that recruited them has left for a job at another school.

In these situations, we strongly advise the student-athlete to decide what they want to do BEFORE the semester starts.

There are a few important reasons for this:

  • If your athlete starts attending classes and then wants to leave, it could potentially cost thousands of dollars in withdrawal fees, dorm charges, etc.
  • Starting the semester and then withdrawing could also result in zero credit hours on their transcript for the semester. This will damage their eligibility for the spring semester at their current college or at another college as a transfer student.
  • When a student-athlete starts attending classes, it triggers the start of their “five-year clock” if they are currently (or hope to be in the future) a Division I athlete. If they are a DII or DIII athlete, it will be counted as using one of their 10 semesters of full-time enrollment.

If your athlete is having “second thoughts” and you’d like to discuss possible options and consequences, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

To schedule a phone consult or an email consult online, click Scholarship Strategies Consult Options.

 

JUCO Student-athletes transferring to NCAA Division I or II programs should know that there are specific academic requirements that must be achieved to be immediately eligible at an NCAA Division I or II university.

The academic eligibility requirements are different for NCAA Division I compared to Division II, and can also depend upon the student-athlete’s status as a “Qualifier” as well as how many semesters they have attended at their JUCO.

There are, however, two NCAA rules/requirements that apply to a junior college transfer regardless of whether they are transferring to a Division I or II university:

  • The first is that a JUCO transfer can only use 2 credit hours of Physical Education Activity courses toward the required transferable degree credits, unless the athlete is going to major in Physical Education or another major which calls for additional credit hours in those types of courses.
  • The second consistent requirement is that remedial-level courses taken at a junior college can’t be used to satisfy the academic requirements for immediate eligibility when transferring from a junior college to an NCAA university.

For more information on eligibility issues that JUCO athletes often face when transferring, you might be interested in reading this article: JUCO Student-Athletes and Eligibility Issues at NCAA Schools.

If you have questions about the NCAA academic requirements that JUCO student-athletes must meet to be immediately eligible at an NCAA university, click Transfer Consult Options to learn how we can help.

If you’d prefer to schedule a consult directly with our office, call Informed Athlete at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.