NCAA Division I baseball programs will continue to be impacted by special NCAA rulings regarding their roster size and scholarship rules for the 2021-22 academic year in a somewhat similar manner to the way they were impacted during this season.

  • There will be a 40-man limit on roster size for Division I programs during the 2022 baseball season.
  • Up to 32 student-athletes will be allowed to receive a baseball scholarship – an increase from the normal limit of 27 in Division I.
  • Coaches will be allowed to renegotiate scholarships to provide less than 25% for 2021-22 with conditions in place for the following year or years of an athlete’s attendance.

The previous sentence is especially important for baseball student-athletes who were on a multi-year scholarship during the 2020-21 academic year. In a “normal” time, DI baseball scholarship athletes must receive at least 25% scholarship.

If your Division I baseball athlete has been notified of a change to their scholarship for this next year and you desire detailed information regarding their options, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

If a prospective student-athlete is being recruited by multiple Division I athletic programs and has an opportunity to “negotiate” for a multiyear scholarship from School A compared to a one-year renewable scholarship from School B, they should consider doing so.

The reason is that Division I schools are very limited in the reasons that they can use to take away a scholarship during the “period of the award.” Those reasons may not include a student-athlete’s athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success or any injury, illness or physical or mental health condition.

The “period of the award” for a multi-year scholarship is in effect from the first academic year in which an athletic scholarship is provided through the final year of scholarship offered, even if there are years in-between in which no scholarship is offered (e.g., 50 percent in year one, zero percent in year two, 50 percent in year three).

If you or your athlete have questions about how to navigate through various scholarship offer situations, we can help.  Schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult and we will explain how your student-athlete could be impacted in various situations.  With this information, you can make an informed decision that’s in your athlete’s and your family’s best interest.

All current NCAA Division I student-athletes who are on a year-to-year scholarship and all NCAA Division II scholarship student-athletes are to be notified no later than July 1 whether their scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the upcoming year.

Note that Division I athletes on a multiyear scholarship may not receive notice of renewal or non-renewal because the scholarship will be continuing for another year. However, the athlete will probably need to “accept” their scholarship for the next year before it will be applied to their student account.

If your athlete has not been notified by now, they should definitely contact their coaches and ask.

This is especially important if your athlete has recently changed their email, or your family has moved to a new physical address. Make sure that email and physical addresses that are on file with the Office of Financial Aid for your student-athlete are up-to-date.

Once in a while we hear from student-athletes or parents who say they didn’t receive their required scholarship status notification. Not receiving the official notification in a timely manner could mean that your student-athlete could miss the deadline for an appeal hearing should their scholarship be reduced or taken away.

If your student-athlete’s scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the coming year, you do have some options.

For objective information and assistance regarding a possible appeal and other options available to your student-athlete, schedule a personal and confidential Waivers and Appeals consult onlineWe will answer your questions, discuss your athlete’s specific situation and advise you of their rights and options. You can also contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or at 913-766-1235.

On Monday (June 21), the US Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling against the NCAA in the case of “NCAA vs. Alston.”  This ruling addresses benefits for athletes that are related to education, but it did not specifically address the issue of Name, Image and Likeness or direct payments to athletes.

The official Supreme Court opinion is 40 pages long.  I haven’t read all of it.  As I scroll through comments on Twitter or other social media, some folks are predicting the death of the NCAA.

A summary article on the USA Today website indicates that this ruling “…specifically challenged the association’s ability to have national limits on benefits for athletes that are related to education, but more broadly had raised doubts about its ability to limit benefits at all.”

In it’s own statement regarding SCOTUS decision, the NCAA claims that “While today’s decision preserves the lower court ruling, it also reaffirms the NCAA’s authority to adopt reasonable rules and repeatedly notes that the NCAA remains free to articulate what are and are not truly educational benefits…”

In thinking about yesterday’s ruling, the predominant thought I have is that this decision seems to create more questions than it answers.

While I think most of us can agree that this ruling is focused on NCAA Division I sports and the athletes that compete in those “high profile” sports, this ruling simply refers to “the NCAA.”  I haven’t seen anything that distinguishes between Divisions I, II, and III.

A few examples of my questions are:

  • Does this eventually mean that athletes will be able to be “paid” by their schools?
  • If so, how will athletic departments balance their budgets (or least try to)?  Will they drop sports programs?  Will coaches accept reduced salaries so their players can benefit?
  • OR, will head coaches be given a total budget that they must manage to cover not only their assistant coaches but also the athletes on their teams?  (Will athletes be treated as employees of that coach or team rather than of the athletic department?  Will athletic teams be treated akin to subcontractors on a building project??)
  • Will athletes need to pay taxes on those increased benefits/payments?
  • Will NCAA Division II schools be allowed to offer multi-year scholarships like Division I?
  • Will NCAA Division III athletes now be able to receive athletic scholarships?
  • Could this ruling eventually also impact the NAIA or the NJCAA, which also currently offer athletic scholarships but have limits on those scholarships?

I realize that a few of my questions above may seem a bit “out there”, but it remains to be seen how this all turns out.  We’ll provide updates for you as we learn more.

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts, questions, opinions about this ruling, leave your comments below and I’ll address them directly or in a future blog post.

We always appreciate receiving good news from our clients, and this email this past week from the parent of a softball transfer is an example:

“Hi Rick,

Just wanted to let you know that my daughter’s team played in the NAIA Softball World Series National Championships recently in Columbus GA. We battled through the loser’s bracket to come back and win the national title – #1 in the Nation. It was an amazing experience and an amazing way for my daughter to end her college career.

Thanks so much for the help you gave us in getting her into such a great place. Your calm in our storm of transfer was truly a blessing for our family. Wishing you the best in your mission to help players.”

Read what other clients have to say about Informed Athlete®

June 15th is the date when coaches in most NCAA Division I sport programs will be able to initiate recruiting phone calls and emails/messages to athletes who have just completed their sophomore year of high school.

The following Division I sports are the only ones that have a date other than June 15th as the earliest date for placing recruiting calls and sending emails/messages:

  • Baseball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Women’s Basketball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Football – Sept. 1 of senior year except for one call between Apr. 15 – May 31 as a Jr.
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – Jan. 1 of sophomore year
  • Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Softball – Sept. 1 of junior year

For NCAA Division II programs, June 15th is the date when coaches in ALL sports can start to contact recruits who have completed their sophomore year via phone, email, or direct message services.

Here is a list of resources for recruits and their families:

Eligibility Issues – Not knowing, understanding and meeting the eligibility rules can have serious short and long-term consequences. Is your athlete on track to meet the eligibility requirements?
Recruiting Rules – A recruiting coach’s job is to sell their school in the best light possible. YOUR job as a recruit or parent of a recruit is to have as much accurate information as possible to make a decision based on what is the best fit for you!
Scholarship Strategies – Athletic Scholarships and Financial Aid agreements are NOT one-size fits all and they are not guaranteed. Is your athlete getting a good deal?

Do you have questions and need advice?

For questions about the NCAA recruiting rules and recruiting tips and advice, schedule a confidential Recruiting Rules or Scholarship Strategies Consultation to make sure your athlete is prepared for their recruitment and potential scholarship offers. You can also call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

When an NCAA DI head coaching change occurs, it frequently results in a change to a student-athlete’s scholarship status.

Sometimes the change happens immediately; in other cases it might occur long after the new head coach is hired and comes onboard.

Student-athletes who believe they are “safe” because they have a four-year “guaranteed scholarship” that cannot be reduced for athletic or medical reasons may be in for disappointment and frustration when a coaching change happens.

The NCAA Division I rule addresses the status of an athletic scholarship in this situation in Bylaw 15.5.1.7 “Aid After Departure of Head Coach.”  

Basically, this rule says that when a head coach who recruited and provided a scholarship to a DI student-athlete is replaced, the new head coach has the right to not invite an athlete back to the team the following year.  The athlete may, however, be given the right to stay at the school on scholarship until the athlete graduates with their degree.

The benefit of this rule for the athlete is that they can continue to receive their scholarship while working to complete their degree.  The benefit to the new coach is that the athlete’s scholarship won’t count against the team limit in that sport so the coach can use that scholarship to recruit another athlete.

Here’s the actual rule and subsections:

“NCAA Division I Bylaw 15.5.1.7 Aid After Departure of Head Coach. A student-athlete who receives athletically related institutional financial aid in subsequent academic years after the departure of a head coach from the institution is not a counter in a year in which he or she does not participate in intercollegiate athletics, provided:

(a) The student-athlete participated in the applicable sport and received athletically related institutional financial aid during the coach’s tenure at the institution; and

(b) The student-athlete does not participate in the applicable sport beyond the next regular academic year (including completion of the championship season in spring sports) after the departure of the head coach.

DIvision I Bylaw 15.5.1.7.1 Subsequent Participation. If the student-athlete subsequently participates in the applicable sport at the institution, the student-athlete shall become a counter for all years during which athletically related institutional aid was received.”

We’ve seen this rule used in two ways to the disadvantage of student-athletes – one way when they’re told about it and another way when they’re not told about it.

Situation 1 – The first way is when a new D1 head coach tells a student-athlete that he or she won’t be allowed to continue on the team but can continue at the school on scholarship until they graduate.

The original intention of this rule was to benefit student-athletes who are close to finishing their degree requirements and want to stay at their school in order to graduate – an athlete who values the scholarship to complete their degree over transferring to another school where they will have an opportunity to continue in their sport.

However, what is becoming more common is that some newly-hired head coaches will use this rule against sophomore and even freshman athletes so that the coach can “claw back” the value of an athlete’s scholarship and then recruit a new athlete for his or her roster.

In those cases, many athletes are choosing to transfer to continue competing in their sport rather than give up their goal of playing at the Division I level in order to complete their degree. We’ve helped a number of those athletes and families navigate a transfer to another university.

Situation 2 – Coaches and athletic departments notify the student-athlete that their athletic scholarship isn’t being renewed for the upcoming year and don’t inform the student-athlete about this rule.

This usually happens at schools on tight budgets that don’t want to fund a scholarship to allow the student-athlete to complete their degree – even if it’s the right thing to do for the student-athlete.

The school is hoping that the student-athlete won’t appeal the loss of their scholarship or will lose their appeal.

Do You Have Questions & Need Help?

If your athlete is in this tough situation, we understand the frustrations, concerns, and insecurities that you’re feeling.  In a confidential consultation, we will answer any questions you have and discuss specific options available so that you and your athlete can make a fully informed decision that’s in their best interest.

Schedule your confidential Scholarship Strategies consultation online or call 913-766-1235 to arrange a time that works best for you.

NCAA Division I recently approved a change to the “One-Time Transfer Rule.” This change now allows an athlete to transfer to an NCAA Division I program with the opportunity to be eligible in their first year at the new university – even if the athlete was a scholarship athlete in baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey at their previous university.

A consequence of this new rule which has not been well-publicized is that a potential second transfer to a 3rd Division I university will become much more difficult for the 2022-23 academic year or thereafter.

The One-Time Transfer Rule is – as the name implies – available for an athlete to use one time when they transfer to an NCAA university.

However, when an athlete transfers the second time, the options for transfer a second time with immediate eligibility have been limited.

Waivers for a second transfer are currently a possibility in certain situations including personal or family financial hardship, the injury/illness of a family member, mental health concerns, or no participation opportunity if the athlete had stayed at their previous school.

New Transfer Waiver guidelines for scholarship athletes who will be transferring a second time to Division I for the 2022-23 academic year will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Under these new guidelines, the ONLY reasons that will be accepted by the NCAA for an athlete to be immediately eligible are:

  • A student-athlete is facing a “real and imminent health and safety” threat, or;
  • A student-athlete with an education-impacting disability is leaving a school because support services and/or treatment are inadequate or unavailable.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about the Transfer Rules and how these new guidelines could impact your athlete’s future, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.