The NCAA has made several rulings recently that will impact student-athletes’ eligibility at Division I, II, and III.  In addition, the NJCAA has recently granted a blanket waiver for student-athletes in all sports.  These rulings are summarized below in this post.

NCAA Division I Midyear Enrollee Ruling

“Emergency legislation” which impacts midyear enrollees at a Division I program specifically for Fall sport athletes has been adopted by the NCAA Division I Council.

This ruling applies to both transfer athletes as well as initial enrollees from high school or prep school.

This recent decision revises a position taken earlier this Fall by Division I which would have prevented athletes in a traditional Fall sport from transferring at midyear and then being immediately eligible in the Spring at another university.

  • This will now be possible for Fall Sports athletes who satisfy certain conditions.
  • Student-athletes who are considering such a transfer (or midyear enrollment from high school) must satisfy specific conditions in order to take advantage of this ruling.

NCAA Division II Winter Sport Athletes Receive Expanded Eligibility Waiver

Recently, the NCAA Division II Management Council granted winter sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

All eligible winter sport athletes in Division II will receive this additional opportunity 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. This is consistent with action taken previously for Division II Fall sport athletes.

NCAA Division III Grants Waiver for ALL current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL D3 student-athletes this year. They can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

While the NCAA’s press release did not provide this level of detail, you can be certain that an athlete must be academically eligible to compete this season in order to receive the benefit of this blanket waiver.

NJCAA Grants Waiver for Student-Athletes in ALL Sports

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow athletes at NJCAA member colleges in ALL sports to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision obviously provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for them to keep in mind that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to the “next level.”

Do You Have Questions or Need Advice?

If you have questions about these recently rulings or any other eligibility situation, we can help answer your questions and discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and options.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It seems that every college athletic organization and division is granting waivers for student-athletes to have an additional year of eligibility, or to have the season treated as if it never happened.

This is coming at the same time that some colleges are dropping sports programs because of the financial impact that the pandemic has had on college athletic budgets.

At some point, these actions will have a major impact on rosters at every level and, in some cases, already have.

Currently, college coaches are focused on coaching this current season and managing rosters that are changing frequently depending on testing outcomes. At this time, a student-athlete’s current eligibility is primary; their future eligibility status may not be a priority.

If you are concerned and would like to discuss how these changes could affect your student-athlete’s eligibility and place on a team roster, we can help sift through the confusion and discuss possible options and scenarios so you can make informed decisions about their current and future situation.

Schedule a confidential eligibility consult online or by calling us at 913-766-1235, or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It seems that more student-athletes than normal have been struggling in one or more classes. I’m sure that one main reason is because courses are being taught almost exclusively online this year.

As a result, your athlete may be thinking about dropping a class before their final exam. Before doing that, there are a number of things that should be considered:

  • Will dropping the class affect current eligibility right now? (If the athlete drops below full-time status, they become immediately ineligible for competition in most cases, and in many cases, also ineligible for practice.)
  • Will dropping the class affect my eligibility next semester? (That depends upon the athlete’s specific situation. The required number of credit hours that an athlete must earn will vary from one college division to another.)
  • If I don’t drop the class, but fail it, how might that impact my eligibility? (If the athlete’s GPA drops too low, it could make them ineligible for next semester.)
  • What other implications have I not thought about? (Will dropping the class or having your GPA drop too low impact your athletic scholarship or other financial aid?)

In a confidential phone, Zoom or Skype session, we will discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and the impact that dropping a course compared to staying in it but failing the course, could have on their current and future eligibility. Schedule your confidential eligibility consult online, by emailing rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

Within the past few weeks, we’ve consulted with at least three families regarding situations in which their athlete has been dismissed from a team or penalized in other ways primarily for their political beliefs.

While these situations are certainly unfortunate and unfair, decisions as to who a coach keeps on their roster are left to the discretion of the coach by most athletic directors. If a coach removes an athlete from their team, the athlete may have no choice but to transfer to another school.

However, if an athlete is receiving an athletic scholarship, the NCAA rules limit the ability of a coach or athletic department to cancel the scholarship in the middle of the academic year.

Midyear cancellation of a scholarship is only possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled ineligible for competition
  • Provides fraudulent information on an application, letter of intent, or financial aid agreement
  • Engages in serious misconduct that rises to the level of being disciplined by the university’s regular student disciplinary board;
  • Voluntarily quits their team; or
  • Violates a university policy or rule which is not related to athletic conditions or ability (such as a university or athletic department policy on COVID-19 restrictions, which is a very significant concern in the current environment).

Also, in NCAA Division I, an athlete entering the Transfer Portal could possibly lose their scholarship at midyear.

My advice to athletes and parents

Review very carefully any athletic department or university rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation of an athletic scholarship.

Contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com for or schedule online a confidential scholarship consultation to discuss a situation in which your athlete’s position on their team or their scholarship is being threatened by a coach for their political beliefs, or for alleged violations of policies.

Transferring to another school at any time of the year has its challenges. However, midyear transfers to a new university can be especially difficult because a student-athlete often has a short window of time to find a new school and then get enrolled for classes that start in January.

  • In addition, there can be specific rules that determine whether or not a mid-year transfer athlete will have immediate eligibility.
  • And there are also specific academic requirements that the student-athlete must satisfy in the Fall to order to be eligible to compete in the Spring.

Before your student-athlete takes action, make sure they know where they stand and what options they have so they don’t make mistakes that could cause them to lose eligibility or add a financial burden to the family. As an example, an NCAA Division I student-athlete entering the Transfer Portal could possibly lose their scholarship at midyear.

If you or your athlete have questions about a transfer situation and want to know all of the steps and rules involved, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult session online, send and email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

November 11th is the first opportunity for high school seniors (and JUCO athletes) to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program in sports other than football.

Here are a few mistakes when signing an NLI that have been noted by compliance directors on Division I and II campuses across the country. Don’t make these same mistakes when you or your athlete sign the NLI. A mistake could cause the NLI to be invalid if not caught and corrected.

  • Forgetting to include the time that the NLI was signed.
  • Signing the NLI prior to 7 AM your local time on the initial signing date.
  • Not signing the NLI within 7 days after the date it was issued to you.
  • Names are printed on the NLI instead of an actual signature.
  • The Parent or Legal Guardian box is not checked.
  • Poor scan quality when you return your signed copy to the university.

If you have questions about signing a NCAA National Letter of Intent or an NJCAA Letter of Intent, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

NCAA National Letter of Intent:

November 11 is the initial signing date for an NCAA National Letter of Intent in all sports other than football.

  • An athlete can only sign one NLI with one NCAA Division I or II university.
  • An NCAA National Letter of Intent must be accompanied by an official athletic scholarship agreement from the university your athlete is signing with.
  • When the athlete signs the NLI, they are committing to attend that university for at least one full academic year in exchange for receiving the athletic scholarship.
  • It is not a requirement that the prospective student-athlete sign the NLI, but not doing so could cause the coaching staff recruiting the athlete to question the athlete’s commitment to their team.

See our article for reasons why an athlete may not want to sign the NLI, especially this year if they’ve been recruited during an NCAA Dead Period. https://informedathlete.com/should-your-recruited-athlete-sign-an-ncaa-national-letter-of-intent/

NAIA Letter of Intent:

There actually is no Letter of Intent that is recognized or acknowledged by the NAIA. In other words, there are no NAIA rules or requirements that apply to a Letter of Intent that an NAIA college offers to an athlete. Each college acts on their own regarding scholarships.

There is no NAIA signing date or deadline, and an athlete can sign with more than one NAIA college if they choose to do so. They could sign multiple offers from NAIA schools and then choose to wait until later on to decide which NAIA college they will actually attend.

One downside to the NAIA having no standard Letter of Intent or scholarship rules is that if an NAIA athlete loses their scholarship, there are no NAIA rules that require that an appeal opportunity be made available to them.

NJCAA Letter of Intent:

November 1st was the initial signing date for an NJCAA Letter of Intent in all sports other than football. An athlete can only sign one LOI with one NJCAA program.

  • An NJCAA LOI can be issued to a prospective student-athlete even if no athletic scholarship is being offered to the athlete.
  • Each NJCAA team has a limit on the number of LOI’s that can be signed in any given year, including those for which no scholarship is provided to the athlete.
  • Similar to the NAIA above, there are no NJCAA rules that require that an appeal opportunity be made available to an athlete who loses their scholarship while attending an NJCAA college. Any opportunity to appeal would depend on the policies of that particular college.

Do you have questions or need guidance?

If you have questions about any of this information, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.