With some universities experiencing coaching changes as the academic year winds down, I thought it would be good to address some of the common questions we receive from athletes and families when that happens.

Does a coaching change give me a “free” transfer to another university?

A coaching change (whether the coach is fired or leaves of their own choosing) doesn’t change anything about the steps to follow in a transfer or about whether an athlete can be immediately eligible at their new college upon transfer.

However, there is an exception to this for certain sports in circumstances when a coach leaves during the summer after an incoming recruit has arrived on campus.

Does a coaching change affect my scholarship?

When a head coaching change occurs at the NCAA D1 level, it is possible for the new coach to deny a returning athlete a spot on the roster. The university would be required to continue the athlete’s scholarship as long as the athlete makes satisfactory progress toward their degree. However, if the athlete wishes to continue competing in their sport, they will need to transfer in order to do so.

Does a coaching change void my NLI commitment?

When a high school or junior college recruit signs a National Letter of Intent, they are signing with the university rather than with a particular coach. While some schools will grant an NLI release after a coaching change, that’s not always the case.

Do you have Questions?

If you have questions about a coaching change and how your athlete’s scholarship or eligibility might be affected, purchase and schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, or call us at 913-766-1235.

There are a couple of unique aspects of NCAA Division III’s granting of an automatic or blanket waiver for spring sport athletes that we want to share with you.

The way that NCAA Division III is applying their “blanket waiver” for spring sport athletes due to COVID-19 is that – in effect – the 2020 spring semester “didn’t happen.”

In other words, a Division III spring sport athlete will not be charged with a season of participation during this academic year AND will not be considered to have used one of their 10 semesters (or 15 quarters) of full-time enrollment.

In addition, for those Division III colleges that conduct their conference golf or tennis season in the Fall, those student-athletes will still be able to benefit from the Division III blanket waiver. This is because golf and tennis are officially considered spring sports by the NCAA, even though some conferences conduct those two sport seasons in the Fall.

If you have questions about your remaining eligibility and need objective advice, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Those of you who are regular followers of our newsletters or readers of our blog may recall that the NCAA Transfer Working Group has been discussing possible changes to Waiver guidelines.

These proposed changes would make it possible for scholarship student-athletes in baseball, basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to receive a transfer waiver which will basically give them the same “One-Time Transfer Exception” that is currently available to athletes in other sports.

If passed, athletes in the above listed sports will be eligible in their first year at a new school as long as they satisfy the academic requirements for a transfer.

While no action was taken on these proposed changes at Friday’s Division I Council meeting, the meeting summary indicates that they “…could vote on the guidelines changes next month.”

We’ll be sure to provide an update if this vote takes place in May as expected.

Last Friday, the NCAA Division I Council adopted a change to the enrollment requirements for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I program after having graduated from their previous university.

Under the previous rule, a student-athlete who used a graduate transfer to compete at an NCAA Division I university after receiving their bachelor’s degree must have enrolled in a graduate program or professional school at their new university.

Under the new rule, an athlete who transfers to a Division I university after graduating elsewhere will be able to enroll in a graduate or professional school but will also have the option to pursue a second bachelor’s degree.

It will also be possible to be a non-declared student (if permitted under university rules) as long as the student-athlete is taking a full-time course load “…that would lead to the equivalent of a major or degree.”

This new rule becomes effective this Fall for athletes who transfer to a Division I university after earning their undergrad degree.

Do you Need Advice?

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation regarding a Graduate Transfer or any other transfer issue, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

NCAA coaches and athletes have limitations on the amount of time that can be required each week for “Countable Athletically Related Activities” (commonly referred to as “CARA” hours).

  • In normal times, those limitations on CARA hours will vary depending upon whether a sport is “in-season” or “out-of-season.”
  • However, due to COVID-19, all sports are now considered to be “out-of-season.”

Because of this situation, NCAA Division I recently issued the following two updates on the amount of time each week that coaches can require of their student-athletes.

  • To allow Division I student-athletes uninterrupted time to study and prepare for final exams, all countable athletically related activities are prohibited from one week before the start of that university’s final exam period through the conclusion of final exams.
  • Also, with the exception of the final exam restriction noted above, all sports can require up to 8 hours per week of virtual non-physical countable activities (such as film review, chalk talk, team meetings) through May 31 in order to keep athletes engaged and to be aware of their mental health during these challenging times. Each coaching staff must provide at least one day off per week that is free of any required activity.

If you have questions about this or other issues related to your athlete’s scholarship, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online, by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com

NCAA Division I and the NAIA are automatically granting an additional year or two semesters to any spring sport athlete due to COVID-19, as long as that athlete was on a roster and academically eligible for competition this spring.

NCAA Division II is only granting additional eligibility “automatically” for spring sport athletes who were already in their 10th semester or 15th quarter of their eligibility “clock.”

However, other Division II spring sport athletes also may be able to receive an additional year of eligibility as well.

As examples:

  • An athlete who redshirted in their freshman year and then missed this season due to COVID-19 may be able to receive a 6th year.
  • An athlete who missed last season due to injury before also having this season cancelled may also be able to receive a 6th year.

To arrange a consultation session to learn whether you might qualify for an additional year of eligibility, schedule your Waivers and Appeals Consult online, or you can contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

The NCAA has revised the 2020 Freshman Eligibility requirements in light of the impact of COVID-19 on current high school seniors.

These changes are in place only for 2020 high school graduates whose high schools either moved to online instruction or closed down classes for the spring semester. Another factor is the cancellation of ACT and SAT testing opportunities.

The following is a summary of the key factors that will trigger an “automatic waiver” by the NCAA.

Division I:

For 2020 HS Grads to be fully eligible and classified as a Qualifier:

  • Must have earned a 2.30 or higher GPA in 10 or more approved core courses PRIOR TO the athlete’s senior year.
  • Those core courses must include at least 7 courses in the subject areas of English, math and science.
  • Also, no ACT or SAT score will be required.

What about students who don’t satisfy the requirement for at least 10 core courses with at least 7 of those in the required subject areas earned prior to senior year?

  • Those students will be able to use courses completed during senior year as well as this summer, if necessary, to achieve the regular standard requirement of 16 total core courses.
  • Also, any students who are having courses graded as “Pass/Fail” this spring will be able to utilize those courses to achieve Qualifier status.

Division II:

For 2020 HS Grads to be fully eligible and classified as a Qualifier:

  • Must have earned a 2.20 or higher GPA in 10 or more approved core courses PRIOR TO the athlete’s senior year.
  • Also, no ACT or SAT score will be required.

What about students who don’t satisfy the requirement for at least 10 core courses prior to senior year?

  • Those students will be able to use courses completed during senior year as well as this summer, if necessary, to achieve the regular standard requirement of 16 total core courses.
  • Also, any students who are having courses graded as “Pass/Fail” this spring will be able to utilize those courses to achieve Qualifier status.

International Students:

International students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date will be fully eligible:

  • By earning 10 or more approved core courses PRIOR TO the athlete’s senior year as long as they have a 2.30 GPA for Division I or 2.20 for Division II.
  • No ACT or SAT score will be required.

However, this adjustment will only apply automatically for international students who are presenting ONLY international academic credentials to the NCAA Eligibility Center. International students who came to the U.S. and were enrolled in a high school here, or who have taken class through a U.S. online school, are NOT included in this scenario.

What about International students who don’t satisfy the requirement for at least 10 core courses prior to senior year or who took courses through some U.S. schools?

  • Students will be able to use courses completed during senior year to achieve the regular standard requirement of earning 16 total core courses.

If you have questions about how these adjustments may impact your student-athlete, purchase and schedule an Eligibility Issues Consult online, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

High school athletes must satisfy the NCAA academic requirements to be certified as a Qualifier and be eligible to compete and receive an athletic scholarship in their freshman year at an NCAA Division I or Division II university.

High schools shifting to online instruction or taking other action due to COVID-19 could have a negative impact on a recruit’s opportunity to satisfy the academic requirements for Division I and Division II eligibility.

As of the date of this post,  the NCAA Eligibility Center has not yet issued any official changes or adjustments to these academic requirements. However, the Eligibility Center will be conferring with NCAA Division I and II governing committees and is expected to release information on possible changes soon.

High school recruits and families should be aware that the NCAA freshman academic requirements to be certified as a Qualifier are also important if your athlete is planning to attend a two-year college before transferring to an NCAA university.

Recruits who are not certified as an NCAA Qualifier by the Eligibility Center will have more extensive academic requirements to satisfy while attending a two-year college in order to be eligible when they transfer to an NCAA university.

Do You Have Questions?

If you are concerned about the impact of online instruction on your academic eligibility, we offer confidential phone consultations. We’ll answer all your questions, discuss the possible impact on your athlete’s eligibility due to COVID-19, and suggest options for your athlete to consider. Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online here, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

As of April 15, 2020, the NCAA National Letter of Intent signing period has now re-opened after being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It will be permissible for all NCAA Division I & II sports programs – including Division I basketball and football – to offer a National Letter of Intent and an official scholarship agreement at any time from April 15 through August 1.

If you have questions about your NLI and scholarship agreement and what it means, want an explanation of the difference between Division I and Division II scholarships or have other questions in general, we can provide a confidential phone consultation to discuss.

Schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

If you’re a student-athlete considering a transfer to another school, it’s very important that you be informed BEFORE you take action!

This is obviously a stressful time for many college student-athletes as they consider whether to return to their current team for another year with an additional year of eligibility.

  • At the same time, many are wondering if their scholarship will be renewed for next year, or if there might be a better opportunity elsewhere.
  • Added to this is the potential logjam of rosters with new incoming recruits being added to rosters for next year.

If you are considering a transfer to another university, the last thing you should do is notify your current coach of that possibility without being informed about all you need to know regarding a transfer.

To learn all you should know about the transfer rules and process so you can make an informed decision, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online here, or you can contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.