In action taken by the NCAA Division I Council last week, Winter sport student-athletes were granted an additional year of eligibility regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year. Athletes must be eligible to compete this season to receive this additional year.

This is consistent with action taken previously for Division I Fall sport athletes, as well as for athletes whose Spring 2020 seasons were cut short.

As a reminder, this blanket waiver is different than the ones provided for student-athletes in Winter sports at NCAA Division II and III colleges and universities.

Winter sport student-athletes at D2 and D3 programs will be granted an additional season of competition as long as their team competes in not more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions that are allowed in a normal year.

  • In addition, D2 and D3 athletes who compete in individual sports such as cross country, golf, or tennis, must also be sure that they don’t compete in more than 50% of the maximum competitions even if their team as a whole did not.

Do you need advice?

If you have specific questions regarding how these NCAA actions will impact your student-athlete and would like to discuss options available, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online.

NCAA scholarship student-athletes who are considering “opting-out” from participating in their sport this year, should make it very clear that they are “opting-out” rather than voluntarily withdrawing from their sport.

These two phrases – “Opting-Out” and “Voluntary Withdrawal” mean two different things in NCAA terminology.

The NCAA has given student-athletes the right to “Opt-Out” of their sport this year if they have concerns about COVID.  The benefit to scholarship athletes is that it protects their athletic scholarship from being cancelled by their athletic department.

When an athlete informs their university that they are “Voluntarily Withdrawing” from the team, that means the same as that they are quitting their team. In this situation, the coach or a staff member in the athletic department will tell your athlete that they need to sign a Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

It’s also somewhat common for a coach or staff member to tell an athlete that they need to sign a Voluntary Withdrawal Form if they are planning to transfer.

My Advice to NCAA Scholarship Student-Athletes

Don’t sign a “Voluntary Withdrawal Form” unless you are certain that you are leaving your team. Signing a Voluntary Withdrawal Form gives the university the right to cancel your scholarship!

If you have questions and want to discuss how various situations could impact your athletic scholarship,  schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, or by calling us at 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Back in early June, we wrote about the number of college sports programs that were being eliminated across the country. Many of those programs were/are being dropped at least in part due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on colleges and athletic departments nationwide.

Since then, I’ve continued to monitor the number of programs at the NCAA Division I level that are being eliminated.

Adding my unofficial count to the 19 Division I programs that were previously announced, I’m now counting 59 or 60 programs from Division I. (My count isn’t exact, because a few programs have been reinstated.)

The hardest hit programs were tennis, with 13 men’s programs being dropped and 10 women’s programs. Swimming and diving saw 10 programs dropped (6 men’s and 4 women’s) and golf lost 8 programs (5 men’s and 3 women’s).

What does this mean for your athlete?

If they are a high school senior hoping to be recruited to a college program, or are a current college athlete considering a transfer from a two-year or four-year college to the Division I level, it means that there will be even more limited roster spots in certain sports.

This just compounds even more those roster problems for Spring sport athletes who have already been granted an additional year of eligibility due to 2020 spring sport seasons being cancelled.

How we can help

We can assist by answering your questions, hearing your concerns, and discussing options to consider:

  • For a high school senior whose recruiting opportunities have been severely limited during the past 5 or 6 months,
  • For a two-year or four-year college athlete who is facing a crowded roster but is uncertain whether opportunities at other colleges will be any better.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult or a confidential Transfer consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or via email at rick@informedathlete.com.

As many of you know, most Spring sport college athletes at NCAA schools were granted an additional year of eligibility for Spring 2020 since seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Also, many athletes currently in Fall sports at their college are being granted an additional year of eligibility.

Did you know that your athlete might be able to gain even another additional year of eligibility if he/she:

  • Missed two seasons previously (before COVID) due to circumstances beyond their control,
  • Or were redshirted in their freshman year and then missed one other season due to circumstances outside their control?

There may not be many athletes (or parents!!) who are interested in having eligibility available for a possible 7th year of college attendance. However, while somewhat rare, it is certainly possible under the right set of circumstances.

For example, it might be something to consider for an athlete who may need a 7th year of college to complete a Master’s Degree or a second undergrad degree if the athlete has decided to change majors.

Not knowing, understanding, and meeting the eligibility rules can have serious short and long-term consequences. Problems meeting the eligibility standards can set back and even derail a student-athlete’s entire athletic career.

We help athletes and families by explaining the specific rules regarding your eligibility “timeline” and discuss how you may be able to gain additional eligibility.

We also regularly help families by reviewing their waiver documentation to make sure it’s in order and by proofreading and editing personal statements from athletes and parents that will support the waiver request.

Schedule your confidential Waivers and Appeals Consult Online to explore whether your athlete qualifies for an opportunity to regain or extend their eligibility. Or Contact us to schedule at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

We’ve recently been contacted by several student-athletes who are considering transferring to another college after this Fall term.

In one case, the athlete is looking at a transfer from a two-year college to a four-year college, while the others were considering a transfer from one four-year college to another.

It’s very important to know all the consequences of how a transfer will affect an athlete’s future eligibility BEFORE moving forward.

  • For example, many people think that a JUCO athlete can be immediately eligible when they transfer to a four-year program as long as they have graduated from their JUCO with an Associates Degree. That’s not always the case, especially if the athlete is transferring to an NCAA Division I program. It also may not be enough for an NCAA DII program either.
  • A four-year college athlete transferring from one program to another should also be aware of the steps and requirements that they need to satisfy for a successful transfer, and the potential downside to doing so.

Considering a transfer to another school can be extremely stressful.

We can help by answering any questions you have and explaining the steps your athlete will need to follow for a transfer. We’ll also explain the academic requirements that he or she will need to satisfy to be eligible at their next university.

For athletes transferring from a junior college to a four-year college, we can also provide a Transcript Review and Assessment to review their junior college courses and advise on whether those courses and grades will satisfy the NCAA or NAIA transfer requirements.

If you would like to have a confidential discussion of the steps to follow for a transfer and the rules involved, schedule a Transfer Consult online. Or you can contact us by phone or email: 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com

Many people have been confused because the NCAA publicly released the Division I recruiting calendars that WOULD be in effect under normal circumstances.

A few recruiting websites have posted these Division I recruiting calendars to their social media accounts, which has led to some confusion with athletes, families, and fans who follow those recruiting sites.

If you see or hear about NCAA Division I recruiting calendars that indicate that certain sports are now in a period other than a Dead Period, that is not correct.

To get the most current recruiting calendars, along with definitions of recruiting terms such as dead period, quiet period, evaluation period and more, click Send me the current NCAA Recruiting Calendars.  

The NCAA Division I Dead Period is still in effect through at least January 1, 2021.

Contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235 for questions about the recruiting rules or recruiting calendars.

The NAIA has become the first college sports organization to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, or likeness.

This action takes effect immediately.

As a result, an NAIA student-athlete will be permitted to be compensated if they are promoting a local business, providing instruction, signing autographs, or making an appearance on a radio show, as examples.

This does NOT mean that NAIA student-athletes will be able to receive compensation from their university (other than the value of their scholarship).

However, they will be allowed to identify themselves as a student-athlete and can name their university in any promotional activities or appearances, while also being able to receive payment for those activities.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It’s being reported that the NCAA Division I Council will vote soon on whether to move forward with a proposed One-Time Transfer Exception for ALL Division I student-athletes.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: This action will not be a final vote but will introduce the rule change into the NCAA’s legislative cycle.

This new proposal includes a specific date by which an athlete will be required to notify their university that they intend to leave and play their sport at another school.

  • The drafted legislation has those dates as May 1 for student-athletes in fall and winter sports, and July 1 for spring sport athletes.

Although the timeline for the “final” vote is not certain, all signs point to a new rule taking effect for the 2021-22 academic year.

Before your student-athlete makes a change, Call us!

If your athlete is considering leaving their current school and would like to have a confidential discussion of the steps to follow and the rules involved, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online or you can contact us by phone or email: 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com

The NAIA national office recently announced that they “…intend to proceed with our winter championship dates and locations as scheduled.” This decision was based on a survey of NAIA athletic directors and presidents, as well as input from winter host sites.

Start dates for winter sport seasons will be left up to the discretion of colleges and conferences, as requested by 74% of the AD’s and presidents surveyed. Also, the national office “…is not restricting practice or competition during the holiday break in an effort to allow institutions to manage the season in a way that works best for them.”

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion via Zoom regarding the various impacts of COVID on college athletics, ranging from eligibility questions to Title IX implications of sports programs being cut due to budget impacts.

Here’s a brief summary of the information I shared with participants regarding actions taken and waivers approved by the NCAA:

2020 Spring Sports – Athletes will not be charged with a season of competition as long as they were eligible during the season

  • Athletes in D-1 granted an additional year of eligibility on their clock
  • Athletes in D-2 granted an additional year if in their last year of eligibility
  • Athletes in D-3 treated as if semester “didn’t happen”

Fall 2020 Sport Athletes

  • D1 athletes not charged with a season and granted another year of eligibility
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season and granted another two semesters of eligibility
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted an additional 2 semesters.

20-21 Winter and Spring Sport athletes

  • D1 undetermined at this time
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.

Do you need have questions or need advice?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or at rick@informedathlete.com with questions about your athlete’s eligibility, or schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals consult.