The Spring semester has started or will be starting soon at most colleges across the country. This is a good opportunity to remind our readers about the current rules and waivers that are in effect regarding seasons of competition and eligibility.

I’ve summarized the information by level and broken it down by Spring Sports and Fall Sports.

As you review the information, please keep in mind that the rules and/or waivers that have been approved are likely different for the traditional Spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, etc.) as compared to those that have been approved for traditional Fall sports that will now be competing this Spring (volleyball, soccer, etc.).

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online.

NCAA Division I Current Rulings

NCAA Division I student-athletes in Fall or Winter sports who are eligible to compete during their season will not be charged with a season of competition used, regardless of the number of contests or dates of competition that they appear in.

For Division I student-athletes in Spring sports, the NCAA has not issued any guidance at this point in time. I’m sure that the Division I leaders don’t want to further “clog up” and overload their Spring sport rosters in the next year or two by giving Spring athletes a 2nd free season of eligibility.

Therefore, I believe that Division I Spring sport athletes should move forward under the assumption that any appearance in a game this Spring for their team will be counted as using one of their permissible seasons of competition.

NCAA Division II Season of Competition Waiver Status

The NCAA Division II Management Council has granted blanket waivers for Fall and Winter sport student-athletes to receive an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

DII Fall and Winter sport athletes will receive these waivers 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 AS LONG AS they are eligible for competition.

Waivers for an additional season of competition and an additional year of eligibility are also possible for Division II Spring sport athletes.

HOWEVER, the rules regarding a waiver for Spring are different.

For Spring sport athletes to qualify for these waivers, they must be eligible to compete and the individual athlete and their team must not participate in more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests or dates of competition.

If a Division II team or individual student-athlete does participate in more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions, those athletes will be charged with a season of competition used and a term (or terms) of enrollment toward their 10 semester or 15 quarter limit if the athlete appeared in a contest.

NCAA Division III Waiver for ALL Current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL eligible D3 student-athletes this year. These student-athletes 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.

An important factor to note is that a Division III athlete can receive these waivers as long as the athlete is or was eligible for competition during at least one term of the 2020-21 academic year.

NAIA Season of Competition Waiver Status

The current status of waivers for NAIA student-athletes happens to be the same as for NCAA Division II student-athletes described above.

NAIA Fall and Winter sport student-athletes will be able to receive a waiver regardless of the number of contests that they compete in, as long as they are academically eligible for competition.

Spring sport athletes will only receive a waiver if they and their team compete in no more than 50% of the maximum number of contests in that particular sport.

NJCAA Will Not Count 2020-21 Sport Seasons

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow student-athletes in ALL sports – Fall, Winter, and Spring – to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision 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 NJCAA athletes to know that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to an NCAA or an NAIA four-year college.

For questions about the rules and requirements for transfer eligibility from a two-year college to a four-year program, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

CCCAA Spring Participation Plan

The California Community College Athletic Association has not issued any updates on their website regarding waivers or season participation plans since July 9, 2020. Their sport participation plan is that all sport seasons will take place this Spring.

The following sports were scheduled to begin organized practices on Monday, January 18 with competition beginning in early February:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Women’s Golf
  • Soccer
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Remaining CCCAA sports are scheduled to begin organized practices on March 27 with the first date of competition in those sports being April 10.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online if you’d like information and assistance specific to your student-athlete’s situation.

On February 3rd, high school and junior college football players will have an opportunity to sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II football program.

While NCAA Division I football programs already had an “early” signing period in December, February 3 will mark the first opportunity to recruits to sign with a Division II football program.

Should your student-athlete sign with a school or take a Gap Year?

Considering that college football programs at all levels may be crowded next Fall with almost all football athletes from this current year being granted an additional season of eligibility, should your athlete sign with a school and enroll next Fall, or should they consider taking a gap year?

Below is a link to an article we wrote last Fall about this issue if you missed it. You may want to also keep in mind that at the Division I level, coaches in ALL sports are still in a recruiting Dead Period which prevents campus visits and face-to-face interaction with coaches until at least April 15.

https://informedathlete.com/should-your-recruited-athlete-sign-an-ncaa-national-letter-of-intent/

Do Need Advice?

If you have questions and need objective advice, schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult. We will discuss options available to your student-athlete so you can make an informed decision.

Two bills were introduced in Congress in December which overlap or intersect with each other.

Name, Image & Likeness Bill

The first bill was introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee and would permit college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness (as would many bills introduced by various states this past year).

This particular bill was requested by the NCAA for help on a Federal level in dealing with the numerous bills introduced by various states. It would also provide oversight for the process of athletes receiving such compensation from companies and organizations via the Federal Trade Commission.

The College Athletes Bill of Rights

The College Athletes Bill of Rights, on the other hand, is a competing bill that is much more favorable to the college athletes than it is to the NCAA.

Here are some key provisions of this Bill:

  • It would require universities to share 50% of the profit from revenue-generating sports with the athletes in those sports (after deducting the value of scholarships already provided).
  • It would create “enforceable” health and safety standards developed by the CDC and the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Hefty fines would be imposed on universities not meeting those standards.
  • Establish a medical trust fund for athletes available for five years after leaving college.
  • Guarantee scholarships for athletes to complete their undergrad degree.
  • Remove penalties for not honoring a National Letter of Intent agreement to attend the university signed with for at least one full academic year.
  • Remove restrictions on athletes transferring between four-year colleges.
  • Permit athletes who enter a professional draft to declare a return to college within seven days of the draft.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on these developments in our upcoming newsletters. In the meantime, you can always contact us with questions about these or any other issues by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

We’ve recently written to inform you about the new Transfer Rule being proposed by NCAA Division I, as well as the Name, Image, and Likeness proposals in all three NCAA divisions.

https://informedathlete.com/proposed-new-ncaa-di-transfer-rule/

https://informedathlete.com/ncaa-name-image-and-likeness-legislation-update-overview/

These proposals were originally going to be voted on at the annual NCAA Convention.

However, NCAA President Mark Emmert urged the governing bodies of Division I, II, and III to postpone the votes on these proposals.

There are various factors that have contributed to this delay including:

  • A lawsuit advancing to the US Supreme Court regarding whether the NCAA can limit the benefits that college athletes can receive which are related specifically to their education.
  • Increasing concerns are being shared by university and conference administrators regarding the proposal that a third-party administrator will manage student-athlete information about the “deals” (and compensation) the student-athletes might receive regarding name, image, and likeness.To imagine how a third-party administrator for NIL might work, any of you who have interacted with the NCAA Eligibility Center can think about a similar organization to manage Name, Image, and Likeness information for all NCAA student-athletes and ask yourself whether you think that would be efficient for your athlete.
  • Another reason for the postponement of these votes is the introduction in mid-December of two different bills in Congress that impact NCAA student-athletes. In the following segment of this newsletter, I’ll provide a bit of info about those bills.

Do You Have Questions?

If your athlete is considering a transfer and you would like to review and discuss the Transfer rules, you can schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online. You can also send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

Most of you are probably aware that in response to legislation being proposed in many states across the country, the NCAA has proposed their own set of rules regarding opportunities for athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image, or likeness.

These proposals will be voted on at the upcoming NCAA Convention in January, and if approved, will take effect August 1, 2021.

The proposals differ between Division I, Division II and Division III, so we won’t describe the various proposals in great detail. However here is an overview of the proposed legislation for Division I student-athletes since those athletes receive the most media exposure and will be more likely to benefit from such opportunities.

Employment

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to establish their own business and will be able to actively promote their own business.

Current student-athletes will be able to promote and offer fee-for-lesson instruction, or conduct their own camp or clinic. If they use their university facilities to provide instruction, they will need to rent the facilities in the same manner as the general public.

Autographs, Memorabilia, Crowdfunding

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to receive compensation for their autograph.

Current student-athletes will not be able to sell items provided by their university until they are no longer eligible for collegiate competition.

Current and prospective student-athletes will be allowed to crowdfund for limited educational expenses or for charity.

Non-institutional Promotions

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to receive compensation for promoting a commercial product or service. Universities will not be allowed to assist in arranging such opportunities.

Certain categories of products and services will be prohibited (such as promoting tobacco products or gambling).

A university will be allowed to prohibit current student-athletes from promoting certain products or services that conflict with university sponsorship arrangements. For example, a university that has a shoe contract with Nike will be allowed to prohibit their student-athletes from promoting Adidas or Under Armour.

Agents or Professional Service Providers

The term “agent” will be defined as an individual who is marketing an athlete to be drafted by a professional team or signed to a professional athlete contract.

Individuals or services who market athletes for their name, image, or likeness opportunities (separate from being a professional athlete) will be referred to as “Professional Service Providers” (PSP).

A PSP may not also act as an “Agent” for professional athletic participation.

A student-athlete using a PSP must pay the same fees as the industry standard and can’t receive a discount because of their athletic ability. A university employee or an independent contractor aligned with a university can’t act as a PSP.

A university can’t choose or recommend PSP’s for their student-athletes.

Disclosure to a Third-Party Administrator

The NCAA will establish an independent third-party administrator to manage name, image, and likeness information.

Current and prospective student-athletes will be required to disclose to the NCAA’s third-party administrator any types of promotional activities they are part of. This will include providing contact information and compensation arrangements for such activities.

Remember that these new rules won’t take effect until August, 2021. Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have any questions.

NCAA Division I or II athletes who are thinking about putting their name in the Transfer Portal before the next semester or quarter begins should consider these things:

For NCAA Division I Student-Athletes

When  a student-athlete submits their name for the Transfer Portal during the period between terms, their university has the right to cancel the athlete’s scholarship before the next term begins.

If the athlete is planning to stay at their current university this Spring while exploring other opportunities for next Fall, this could potentially have devastating financial consequences.

For NCAA Division II Student-Athletes

The rule is a bit different. The school doesn’t have the right to immediately cancel the athlete’s scholarship before the next term begins as long as the athlete is academically eligible and is fulfilling any other athletic responsibilities that their coach and athletic department expect of them.

However, if the athlete doesn’t want to continue practicing and working out with their team after putting their name in the Transfer Portal, a Division II university would have the right to immediately cancel the athlete’s scholarship if their coach or athletic department interpret their actions as quitting their team.

Do You Have Questions?

If your student-athlete is considering a transfer and you would like to review and discuss the Transfer rules, you can schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online. You can also send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.