Almost every year, we receive emails similar to the one below two or three weeks AFTER an athlete has started attending classes at their new college:

“I transferred to this new college but wasn’t informed until two weeks into this semester that I didn’t meet the academic requirements to be eligible this year. What options do I have now that I’ve already started attending classes?”

Assuming the university received this athlete’s transcript in a timely manner, someone should have reviewed and notified this athlete of her academic deficiency before the semester started.

Had they done so, this athlete would have had the option to go back to her previous junior college for one more semester to take the necessary courses for eligibility, or she could have considered other options.

Now her options are limited and more complicated:

  • By waiting until two weeks into the semester to inform the athlete of her status, she is stuck at that college and is now ineligible for this academic year. She must now work to earn her academic eligibility to be able to compete next year at this college.
  • Also, because most transferring athletes must be academically eligible when they leave their current school in order to be immediately eligible as a transfer to an NCAA member school, she either needs to stay at this school and work to earn her eligibility there, OR
  • If she chooses to transfer to another NCAA college before she regains eligibility where she is, she may be ineligible for her first academic year at the next college.
  • Another option is that she could possibly transfer to an NAIA college where it would be possible to regain eligibility after one semester.

How can an athlete AVOID this type of situation?

Make sure you are certified academically eligible by the school you are transferring to before classes begin.

In fact, I suggest that you request confirmation in writing prior to the start of classes that the athletic compliance office can confirm that you’re eligible to compete this year! This way, if something goes wrong and you’re later told that you aren’t eligible, you at least have documentation of what you were told that could possibly be beneficial in a waiver situation.

How frequently does this type of thing happen?

More frequently than you would think. These are the type of situations I hate because they could easily be prevented.

How can you prevent this from happening to your athlete?

For “2-4” transfers from a two-year college to a four-year college or “4-2-4” transfers (four-year college to two-year college to second four-year college), there are specific academic requirements that must be completed in order to be immediately eligible.

With a college transcript review, we will:

  • Inform you of the current NCAA transfer requirements,
  • Compare courses you’ve taken with the academic requirements for a transfer athlete,
  • Inform you of any specific subject requirements or limitations for your transfer situation, and
  • Review consequences and options for your situation based on completed courses, deadlines, and any rules that apply specifically to certain sports (such as mid-year transfers in Division I baseball or basketball)

If you have questions about the transfer and eligibility requirements, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult, or would like to discuss how a college transcript review can help your athlete, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

But first, let’s cover some background reminders.

During the past 15-16 months, almost all college athletes were granted an automatic Extension of Eligibility for one additional year on their college eligibility “clock” and were not charged with a season of competition in their sport.

These exceptions of normal eligibility rules were and are applicable for a college student-athlete in a Spring 2020 sport or a Fall or Winter sport during the 2020-21 academic year. Those athletes have a six-year “clock” to compete in four seasons in their sport.

Beginning with the Spring 2021 sport season, NCAA Division I and II returned to their normal “season-of-competition” rules.

Those rules require that an athlete is charged with one of their four available seasons of competition if they appear in any amount of game competition, even if it’s only for one inning in baseball or softball or one minute of a lacrosse match (as examples).

Exception: NCAA Division I & II spring sport athletes who had a restricted season schedule may be eligible for a season of competition waiver.

Moving forward from this point, starting this Fall student-athletes will have a five-year or 10-semester window of eligibility in which to compete in their sport. It will be possible for student-athletes to receive an extension waiver for an additional year or two semesters of eligibility in one of two ways:

  • An athlete is redshirted in their true freshman year while eligible and then misses one other season of competition due to a documented injury or illness, OR
  • The athlete misses two different seasons of competition due to a documented injury or illness which prevents them from competing in those seasons.

We’re sharing this information with you so you can possibly “plan ahead” if your athlete redshirted as a freshman during the 2021 spring sport season or incurred a season-ending injury or illness.

For a detailed confidential discussion of the rules and guidelines for an Extension of Eligibility Waiver, schedule a Waivers and Appeals Consult online, or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

The new NCAA Division I One-Time Transfer Exception which was approved in late April requires that four-year college athletes must enter the Transfer Portal no later than July 1 to have an opportunity to be immediately eligible upon enrollment at a Division I university this Fall.

Does that mean that it’s too late for an athlete to enter the Transfer Portal and be eligible if they transfer to an NCAA Division I university this Fall from their previous four-year college? Not necessarily.

There are other transfer “Exceptions” which will permit an athlete to be immediately eligible in their first year at a Division I university.

  • The one most widely available to the largest number of four-year college athletes is the Non-Scholarship Transfer Exception. This Exception can be used by student-athletes who have not received an athletic scholarship at their previous university. (For athletes who have been at a university that doesn’t award athletic scholarships, the athlete must not have been “recruited” to the previous university.)
  • Other transfer Exceptions for four-year college athletes are for specific situations that don’t occur that often, such as when an athlete’s previous institution dropped the athlete’s sport or discontinued their academic major.

If you want to learn whether it’s still possible for your athlete to transfer for this upcoming year, you can purchase and schedule a confidential Transfer Consultation online. Or you can arrange a consultation session by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling our office at 913-766-1235.

Since July 1st was the deadline for NCAA D1or D2 student-athletes to be informed whether their scholarship would be reduced or not renewed for the upcoming school year, we have been contacted by a number of families about the appeal process.

One of the key questions they have is whether it is “worth it” to pursue the appeal.

Each athlete and family must decide this based on the factors unique to their situation, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Is it more important for you to have a chance to compete in your sport, or stay at your school on scholarship?
  • You might win your appeal, but the coach may be angry with you for appealing and might “take it out” on you. The coach might even bar you from playing and might not even allow you on the team.
  • In addition, if you’re not kept on the team, the athletic department may require you to serve as a student worker in the department in exchange for your scholarship.
  • How close are you to finishing your degree? If you have only one year left to finish your degree, you’ll likely have to take additional courses to earn your degree if you transfer to another college. For example, you might end up taking 135 or 140 credit hours for a degree which normally requires 120 credit hours.
  • What points can you cite to support your case in an appeal hearing? For example, Have you been an excellent student at your school, and/or had a leadership position on your team?

Do You Need Help?

If you’d like to discuss the appeal, and whether you should pursue that option, contact us for a consultation. I can help you determine whether to pursue an appeal, and if so, we’ll discuss the best strategy, and discuss the strongest points to make during an appeal hearing.

Should you decide to transfer rather than appeal, I can walk you through the transfer process to ensure your transition to a new school is as smooth as possible.

To schedule an appointment, call my office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Last week, the NCAA approved an interim policy for “Name, Image and Likeness” (NIL) rules that became effective on July 1.  The new policy applies to both current NCAA student-athletes in all divisions as well as prospective student-athletes currently in high school, prep school or junior college.

This policy is an “interim” policy adopted by the NCAA due to the variety of state laws that have been proposed or signed into law and the lack of over-arching Federal legislation that the NCAA has not been able to achieve.

Here are a few of the key points regarding this interim policy:

  • This policy applies to all NCAA Divisions – I, II, and III
  • Individuals – both current NCAA student-athletes and prospects – “…can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the student-athlete’s school is located.”
  • For prospective student-athletes in high school or junior college, they will need to also consider whether state NIL laws will impact their eligibility under their state high school federation rules or under the NJCAA or CCCAA rules.
  • Current NCAA student-athletes attending a college or university in a state that has not yet enacted an NIL law can participate in those activities without being concerned about violating NCAA rules regarding all NIL activities.
  • College and prospective student-athletes can use a professional services provider (such as an attorney or brand marketing agency) to assist with their participation in NIL activities.
  • Athletes will also need to consider any applicable rules regarding amateur status in their particular sport.  For example, golfers who accept compensation for NIL activities may be jeopardizing their amateur status under USGA rules.

The following NCAA rules will still apply to prospects and current student-athlete:

  • An individual may not accept payment for NIL activities that require the athlete to attend a particular university.
  • An athlete accepting “Pay for Play” will still jeopardize their NCAA eligibility.  While an athlete’s athletic ability or performance in an event or a season will impact their public and social media visibility, their athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success can’t be the factor that their compensation is based on.  Their compensation should instead depend upon their social media presence or their popularity with the public – how engaged they are to promote a product or service or in signing autographs.
  • An athlete can’t receive compensation for work that they don’t do.  While they may not actually be “doing anything” if they are receiving compensation for having their picture in a product advertisement, they are granting express permission for that product or service to use their picture.  So, in essence, they are “working” in exchange for their compensation.

The NCAA has prepared a list of “Interim Policy Resources” which can be found as you scroll down on the page that is linked below:

https://www.ncaa.org/about/taking-action

While we are not familiar with the various state laws that have been enacted across the country regarding NIL, we will do our best to answer your questions about NIL if you have questions that you’re not ready to pose to a college coach or compliance office.  Contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.