Recently, the NCAA Division I Council extended the recruiting Dead Period through January 1, 2021.

A brief review of social media indicated that many athletes and coaches (high school, travel ball, and college coaches) are extremely frustrated with this decision. We completely understand that frustration.

The decision was made at least in part because NCAA leadership was concerned about coaches traveling across the country, as well as recruits traveling to visit campuses, and thereby increasing the spread of COVID-19.

Also, for what it’s worth, the last sentence of the NCAA press release about the dead period states:

“The majority of coaches associations also supported the extension of the dead period.”

So while a lot of frustration is directed at the NCAA, there had to be a number of coaches associations for different sports that were hesitant to travel or to have recruits visiting campus.

As a result of this action, coaches in all Division I sports are only allowed to:

  • Recruit by phone or video calls, text messaging, email, and other direct messaging.
  • Coaches can also review film and gather information on recruits by speaking with high school, junior college and/or club coaches, but are prohibited from leaving campus for recruiting purposes and can’t have face-to-face interaction with recruits or their family members.

It’s also not permissible during this Dead Period for Division I universities to offer complimentary admission for recruits or for high school or junior college coaches to a football or basketball game, or any other sports event that may take place on campus during this period.

Do you have questions and need assistance?

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation, we provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss options available to your athlete. Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division I championships for Fall sports will be moved to the Spring based on recommendations from the Division I Council which were approved by the Board of Directors on Tuesday.

As part of those recommendations, emergency legislation was also adopted that will prohibit midyear Fall sport enrollees from competing this Spring.

This will prevent a potential rush of athletes who may be participating in their sport at their current university this Fall, and then want to transfer at mid-year to compete in the same Fall sport at another university in the Spring.

Championship brackets in team sports will be filled with 75% of the normal number of qualifying teams. In addition, any contests completed this Fall will count toward championship qualification and can be considered by the selection committees.

Here are the schedules that have been established by the NCAA for Division I Fall sports teams to compete and qualify for championship selection in the Spring:

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country – Regular season competition is currently scheduled for Jan. 30 to March 5, with the championship scheduled for March 15. (Note: Due to concerns about athletes potentially competing in cross country, and then also indoor and outdoor track in the Spring, this scheduling is open to revision.)

Field Hockey – Regular season competition is scheduled for Feb. 12 to April 23, with semifinals and finals set for May 7-9.

FCS Football – 16 teams can qualify for playoffs to be conducted from April 18 to May 15. Up to 8 regular season games can be played within a period of 13 weeks to allow for weather conditions, COVID postponements and other factors. The championship will take place in mid-May.

Also, during this academic year FCS teams can have either “Fall ball” or “Spring practice” but not both. (FCS teams choosing to play in the Spring will be limited to 15 on-field practices this Fall.) FCS programs must declare when they are going to play their first game before they can begin practice this Fall.

Men’s and Women’s Soccer – Regular season will be Feb. 3 to April 17, with postseason selections on April 18. Finals will take place May 13-17.

Women’s Volleyball – Regular season will be Jan. 22 to April 3, with postseason selections on April 4. The semifinal and final will take place April 23-25.

Men’s Water Polo – Regular season will be Jan. 16 to March 6, with postseason selections on March 7. Semifinals and finals on March 19-21.

We realize that this is a very uncertain time for current college athletes.

  • Your sport rosters may be overcrowded.
  • Maybe your season has been postponed or cancelled.
  • Or perhaps your season is being moved from the Fall to the Spring.
  • You’re not sure whether your classes will be in-person or online as the semester progresses.

If you are a student-athlete who is considering a transfer or is considering taking a term off from college (or the parent of one) and would like to have a complete understanding of the rules that will impact your specific situation, we can help. We will answer all your questions, discuss options and help you develop an action plan to move forward in these uncertain times.

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult or Eligibility Consult online or you can contact us at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

When an NCAA D1 student-athlete is considering a transfer to another D1 university, there are two key steps in the process.

Step 1:

Submit written notice to the compliance office at your current university that you want your name entered into the Transfer Portal. The Transfer Portal eliminates the need to first obtain permission from your university to speak with coaches at other programs. However, it is still best practice to inform your coach of your plans to transfer before notifying your compliance office.

Step 2:

The university you’re leaving may choose to object to your opportunity to be immediately eligible in your first year at the new university. Such an objection could force you to sit out from competition in your first year of attendance unless an appeal or waiver is granted by the NCAA.

Why would a university state an objection?

There are a few different reasons that an athlete’s original university may object to the athlete being immediately eligible in their first year.

One reason can be when an athlete is following a former coach to a new job at another university.

Another primary reason is when the student-athlete’s GPA is under 2.60.

When a Division I scholarship athlete transfers,, the school’s team that they are transferring from will lose that athlete’s “retention point” for APR (Academic Progress Rate).

However:

  • When a transfer athlete has a GPA at or above 2.60, their original team can receive an “adjustment” and will be able to receive the retention point.
  • An athlete with a GPA below 2.60 won’t qualify for the adjustment and that will cause their original team to lose the retention point.

To learn more about how the APR can affect an athlete’s transfer, here’s a link to an article on our website: https://informedathlete.com/how-the-academic-progress-rate-apr-can-affect-an-athletes-ncaa-transfer/

Does the transferring athlete have any options?

  • The athlete may be able to take a summer course to raise their GPA above 2.60. However, where they take that summer course and when the grade is posted to their transcript can impact whether that will resolve the issue.
  • Also, if the university to which the athlete is transferring agrees to file for an NCAA waiver, the athlete has the potential to be ruled immediately eligible if the waiver is approved.

Do you need help?

If your student-athlete is considering a transfer at this point in the year and their GPA is a concern, or if you have other transfer questions, we can discuss the athlete’s options and help develop a plan to navigate through the process.

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, or contact us at 913-766-1235.

Student-athletes at NCAA Division I and II universities who receive notice that they have been awarded a “hometown” scholarship or one from other “outside sources,” such as from their local civic club or from mom’s or dad’s employer, should inform the compliance office at their university.

In most cases, there won’t be negative consequences for receiving such a scholarship.

  • However, athletes who are already receiving a full scholarship from their university may be prohibited from accepting the scholarship (or may need to have other scholarships adjusted) so that they don’t receive more than their university’s “cost of attendance.”
  • Also, student-athletes in NCAA Division I who are receiving scholarships from “outside sources” such as those examples above may be limited to accepting no more than $1000 during an academic year, depending on the various criteria for selected scholarships.

For questions about the combination of athletic scholarships with other scholarships, whether academic or from “outside sources”, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

The FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2021-22 academic year becomes available on October 1st

Should I fill out the FAFSA?

Yes! Here’s why. Whether you believe you won’t qualify based on family income or because your athlete is being offered a substantial athletic scholarship, you should know that some coaches and athletic departments require that the FAFSA be completed by all student-athletes.

That’s because those coaches and athletic departments are trying to stretch their scholarship allotments for each sport as far as possible.

Having their athletes qualify for other types of scholarships and aid assistance that might be available is a way for them to do this. That’s true in any year, but even more true now with loss of revenue and fewer donations from alumni at many colleges and universities.

Furthermore, to maximize their financial aid “reach” some colleges have policies that prohibit ALL students (not just athletes) from accepting more than one scholarship or grant so that more students can receive financial assistance.

When your athlete’s recruitment is becoming “serious” with a coach, be sure to ask about campus scholarship policies during a recruiting call or when you’re on a campus visit.

Note also that some states award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis so the earlier you apply the better your chances might be to receive some aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Issues Can Be Confusing!

For more information on scholarships and financial aid agreements, visit our website: https://informedathlete.com/how-we-help/scholarship-strategies/

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation, we provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss options. Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

The NAIA recently ruled that Fall 2020 will not be counted as a term of attendance toward the 10-semester or 15-quarter limit of eligibility for currently enrolled student-athletes.

  • Fall sport student-athletes who are entering their 10th semester or 15th quarter of full-time enrollment this Fall at an NAIA college will be allowed to return in Spring 2021 to compete in their final season of eligibility.
  • However, the Fall term will still count as a term of attendance for other NAIA rules, such as the GPA or number of credit hours required for eligibility.

Current NAIA student-athletes will only be charged with a season of competition during the 2020-21 academic year:

  • If they appear in more than 50% of the maximum number of contests in their particular sport,
  • OR if a student-athlete competes in NAIA post-season competition.

The NAIA will not charge current or prospective student-athletes with a season of competition if they participate in any outside amateur competition in their sport between May 16, 2020 to May 15, 2021.

  • This may especially benefit international athletes who may not be able to physically attend their NAIA university this year but would like to compete for an amateur team in their home country.

Do you have questions?

For questions about NAIA eligibility, schedule an Eligibility Issues consultation online, or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

Now that the use of the NCAA Transfer Portal has been approved for Division II student-athletes (effective Aug. 1, 2020) neither Division I nor Division II student-athletes are required to obtain “permission” from their current coaching staff or university before they initiate their plan to transfer to another university.

  • As a result, NCAA Division I and II coaches can’t block a student-athlete from contacting coaches at a rival school, or from transferring within the same conference.
  • However, in many cases, coaches can still choose to object to an athlete’s use of the “One-Time Transfer Exception” and block them from being eligible during their first year of attendance at the new university.

Transfer Portal Entry Timelines

For Division I student-athletes, their university is required to enter their name into the Transfer Portal within two business days of receiving written notification that the student-athlete is planning to transfer.

At the Division II level, athletic departments have up to 7 consecutive calendar days in which to enter a student-athlete’s name and contact info into the Transfer Portal (where that student-athlete can be “found” by coaches at other NCAA colleges.)

Confusing? We can Help!

Don’t let your athlete be the one to make a mistake in the Transfer process and damage their eligibility. Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, contact us by phone at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

We encourage athletes receiving athletic scholarships (and their families) to review all scholarship documents, as well as any athletic department student-athlete handbooks and/or team policies regarding the conditions under which an athlete’s scholarship can be reduced or cancelled during the academic year.

Once the academic year begins, an NCAA athletic program can only cancel an athlete’s scholarship for limited reasons.

Because a “violation of team rules” can be vague and open to interpretation, it will be important for athletes and families to be knowledgeable about any athletic department or team rules provided to the athletes.

Here’s a recent example of some key wording from a scholarship agreement issued to one of our clients from an NCAA university:

“I am aware the amount of my athletics grant may be immediately reduced or cancelled during the period of the award if:

  • I miss an excessive number of classes, fail to complete an excessive number of academic assignments, fail to take examinations, miss meetings with the Academic Service Coordinator for Student-Athletes or otherwise neglect my academic responsibilities;
  • I break team rules, miss treatment sessions with the Athletic Training Staff, violate the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, do not fulfill the terms of a behavioral contract or engage in serious misconduct bringing disciplinary action from XXX University.”

Need Advice?

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

Coaches at NCAA Division I programs continue to be “stuck” in a recruiting Dead Period through at least the end of September. This means that Division I coaches are prohibited from inviting recruits for campus visits or from having any face-to-face interaction with recruits.

For some Division I sports, September 1st opened up opportunities for coaches to at least communicate directly with 2022 high school graduates.

  • For the sports of Baseball, Women’s Basketball, Lacrosse and Softball, coaches can place recruiting calls and can send recruiting correspondence (emails, direct messages via social media, etc.) to recruits in the high school class of 2022 starting on September 1.
  • Division I football coaches (FBS and FCS) can also begin sending recruiting emails and direct messages to 2022 high school graduates starting on September 1. Recruiting phone calls, however, can only be initiated to 2021 high school graduates as of September 1.

We know that these recruiting rules for the various sports can be confusing. For questions about the recruiting rules, or for our tips on recruiting strategies, schedule a Recruiting Strategies consult online, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.