If your son or daughter is on an athletic scholarship, do you have a copy of their scholarship agreement for this year?

It’s very important to read through the scholarship agreement and know what expectations have been placed on your son or daughter.

  • We all know that they’re expected to stay academically eligible, conduct themselves properly, and work hard in practice every day.
  • But how do you know if there are team rules or athletic department policies that could cause them to lose their scholarship if you haven’t carefully reviewed the scholarship agreement?

It’s much better to get a copy of the agreement at the time of signing as it can be an uncomfortable conversation to ask the coach or athletic department for a copy later if:

  • You feel that things aren’t going well for your son or daughter, or if they are being threatened with the cancellation of their scholarship, it will be important to know what is stated in those rules or policies.
  • In addition, if your athlete is thinking about a possible transfer to another university, it can be important to know the impact on his or her athletic scholarship if they decide to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal and when they might do that.

Here are a few potentially concerning examples that I’ve recently seen in scholarship agreements of our clients:

  1. The scholarship can be cancelled if the student-athlete “Refuses to participate or provides a positive test result in the NCAA or University drug-testing program.” (At some universities a positive drug test results in required drug counseling but not necessarily the cancellation of the athlete’s scholarship.)
  2. If an athletic scholarship agreement is written as 100% of a full athletic scholarship for the freshman year but then “0% of a full athletic scholarship” for the three following years, then there will be no notification of a scholarship reduction and no appeal opportunity because the student-athlete knew when they signed the scholarship agreement that there was no scholarship given after the first year.
  3. A student-athlete could have their scholarship cancelled due to “…actions that are deemed detrimental to the team that I am a member of.”But, if the coach does not provide his or her athletes with a detailed list of what those “detrimental” actions are, how can the athlete know that what they may consider a very minor discretion (perhaps being a few minutes late for a team meeting or making a disparaging remark about a teammate) may end up costing them their scholarship?

If you have concerns or questions about your student-athlete’s scholarship agreement or you want to have a proactive discussion about what to look for or be aware of in a scholarship agreement, we can help.

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online for a confidential 1:1 consultation. We’ll answer your questions and provide accurate information, objective advice and guide you through potential issues that could possibly create problems in the future.

The FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2022-23 academic year becomes available on October 1.

Here is why you should fill out the FAFSA form even if you don’t think you will qualify based on family income or because your athlete is being offered a substantial athletic scholarship:

  • Some coaches and athletic departments require that the FAFSA be completed by ALL student-athletes.
  • Coaches and athletic departments are trying to stretch their scholarship allotments for each sport as far as possible.
  • Having their athletes qualify for other types of scholarships and aid assistance that might be available is a way for them to do this.
  • That’s true in any year, but even more true now with loss of revenue and fewer donations from alumni at many colleges and universities due to the pandemic.
  • Furthermore, to maximize their financial aid “reach” some colleges have policies that prohibit ALL students (not just athletes) from accepting more than one scholarship or grant so that more students can receive financial assistance.

When your athlete’s recruitment is becoming “serious” with a coach be sure to ask them about campus scholarship policies during a recruiting call or when you’re on a campus visit.

It’s also important to note that some states award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis so the earlier you apply the better your chances might be to receive some aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Issues Can Be Confusing!

For more information on scholarships and financial aid agreements, visit our website: https://informedathlete.com/how-we-help/scholarship-strategies/

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation, we provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss options. Schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online, or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

If a student-athlete is injured or becomes ill to the point that they won’t be able to compete any more during the season, it’s possible for them to receive a Medical Hardship Waiver to get that season “over again” even if:

  • They have competed for their team during the season.
  • Or in the case of Division III they’ve continued practicing with their team after the first game of the season.

If your athlete has already received a significant injury or illness early in the Fall season, you may be wondering about the possibility of a Medical Hardship Waiver.

  • It’s important to know that there are specific conditions and restrictions that apply for these types of waivers, and they vary between the NCAA, NAIA and JUCO rules.
  • In fact, even within the NCAA, the conditions and guidelines for such a waiver can differ between Division I, Division II, and Division lII.

Examples of some of the questions we are asked during a confidential consultation about Medical Hardship Waivers include:

  • If I missed out on a large portion of the early-season schedule with my injury but then am re-injured after playing in the second half of the season, can I still receive a Hardship Waiver?
  • What can I do if my doctor hasn’t cleared me to return to competition but our team trainer is telling our coach that I’m able to play?
  • How much medical documentation will I need for my Hardship Waiver to be approved?
  • If I sat out this past Spring season due to injury but couldn’t see my doctor until after the season was over, can I still receive a Hardship Waiver?
  • Is the “off-season” portion of our team schedule included in the calculation of the 30% requirement or the midpoint of the season?
  • Are the requirements the same for a Hardship Waiver for mental health issues?

If you have any of these same or other questions and need objective advice and accurate information, we can help!

Schedule a Waivers & Appeals consultation online, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

We’re getting questions asking what it means if a recruiting service promotes themselves as “NCAA-approved” and/or feature the official NCAA logo on their website.

Here are the facts:

  • The ONLY sports that are required to subscribe and receive information about recruits from an NCAA-approved recruiting service are NCAA DI Football and DI Men & Women’s Basketball programs.
  • The Recruiting Service must be pre-approved by the NCAA before they can provide information to NCAA DI Football and Basketball coaches under very strict guidelines established by the NCAA.
  • This does NOT mean that the service has been recommended or endorsed by the NCAA for high school athletes and parents to sign up for that recruiting service.

Also, if you come across a recruiting service website that features a quote from an NCAA Division I or II coach recommending that service, beware.

Coaches who promote recruiting services or recruiting websites that claim to be endorsed by an NCAA coach are violating NCAA rules.

As with any other business, some recruiting services are better than others, and you may have a very good experience in using a particular service.

But don’t be swayed by the label of “NCAA-approved” – especially if your sport is NOT basketball or football – since those are the only sports for which such approval is required before an NCAA Division I coach can access their information.

Do you Have Questions or Need Advice?

If you have questions about this or any other topic pertaining to recruitingeligibility issues, scholarship strategies, or transfer situations, contact us for further information at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com

A question that we often receive early in the school year is whether an athlete can withdraw from some or all of their classes without an eligibility “penalty.”

If your athlete has already started attending their college classes this Fall as a full-time enrolled student, please keep the following in mind:

  • If your athlete withdraws from a class and is no longer enrolled in a full-time course load, it will negatively impact their eligibility.
  • Dropping a course later in the term to avoid a failing grade that will hurt the athlete’s GPA may be OK in some situations, but you should encourage them to finish the semester (or quarter) if possible, instead of withdrawing from their courses.
  • If your athlete withdraws from all courses, they’ll lose all their academic credits for this term which WILL impact future eligibility.

To discuss a potential withdrawal situation and how it could impact your athlete’s eligibility, schedule an Eligibility Consult online, e- mail rick@informedathlete.com or call our office at 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division I coaches in the sports listed below can engage in the specified recruiting activities beginning September 1st of a recruit’s junior year in high school.

Baseball – Coaches can call and can send text messages, email or other direct correspondence (mailings, instant messages, etc.) They can also provide official and unofficial visits to HS juniors.

Women’s Basketball – Coaches can call and can send text messages, email or other direct correspondence (mailings, instant messages, etc.)

Football (both FBS and FCS) – Coaches can send text messages and emails or other direct correspondence.

Lacrosse – Coaches can call and can send text messages, email or other direct correspondence. They can also provide official and unofficial visits to HS juniors. Sept. 1 is also the first date when these coaches can accept incoming calls from HS juniors.

Softball – Coaches can call and can send text messages, email or other direct correspondence. They can also provide official and unofficial visits to HS juniors. Sept. 1 is also the first date when these coaches can have off-campus contact with HS juniors and can accept incoming calls from them.

If you have questions about the recruiting rules for these or any other NCAA sports, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Recruiting Rules Consult online for an in-depth conversation regarding your athlete’s specific situation.

Student-athletes at NCAA Division III colleges who are preparing to start their fall season should know that the “redshirt” rule is quite different for Division III than it is for NCAA Division I and II athletes.

NCAA Division III rules require that an athlete be charged with one of their four “seasons of participation” if they practice with their team after the first game of the season – even if they never appear in an actual game against another team.

This happened to a client of ours two years ago. The athlete’s father contacted us to ask about his son’s redshirt season because he had left the team after just one week of the season.

However, since he continued practicing with the team after the first game of the season, he was charged with a “season of participation” for that season, and at that time had three seasons remaining rather than the four that the father thought his son had.

For a consultation regarding the NCAA redshirt rules and guidelines, schedule an Eligibility Issues online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

Student-athletes who transfer from a two-year to a four-year college are commonly referred to as a “2-4 transfer,” while those who transfer from one four-year college to another are referred to as a “4-4 transfer.”

In most of those 2-4 or 4-4 transfer situations, a student-athlete will have the chance to be eligible for competition in their first year at the new college as along as the academic requirements for a transfer to the NCAA or NAIA university have been satisfied.

However, when an athlete has transferred more than one time, the rules and academic requirements can be more difficult to navigate.

The more times that an athlete transfers from one college to another, the greater the odds are that the athlete won’t be eligible in their first year at the new college. In fact, many of these student-athletes are often given misleading information or don’t have a complete understanding of the transfer rules.

They often learn after arriving at their new university that they won’t be eligible to compete their first year.

I’ve spoken to several families of 4-4-4 transfers who find themselves in this situation.

Had they known the transfer rules and requirements for their specific situation in advance, they would have been prepared and possibly made better and more informed decisions as they navigated through their transfer process.

Of course, the best situation is if you and your athlete are prepared and knowledgeable about how to navigate successfully ahead of time.

However, if your athlete has recently transferred and learned they won’t be eligible this year, we can discuss their specific situation and advise about possible options available to them. Schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeal Consult online to learn what options are available at this point and how to move forward.

If your athlete is considering a transfer and wants to know what their options are before making the decision, we can help. Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online and we’ll review and discuss best steps to take before proceeding with a transfer.

To learn more about these and other services we offer, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.