Last week on our Informed Athlete Facebook page I shared a brief comment about an article from a University of Kentucky fan website. The article noted the football coach responding “No” when asked whether their injured quarterback would qualify for a medical redshirt for this season after receiving a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 7.

This is an example of athletes receiving inaccurate eligibility information from a coach, even one who’s been in the business for many years. After all, coaches are hired and paid to win games and they have other athletic department staff members who focus on eligibility issues.

The Case Study

The athlete in this case is Terry Wilson, quarterback at the University of Kentucky. (Note – Terry Wilson is not a client of Informed Athlete). He certainly should qualify for a medical “redshirt” (officially called a medical hardship waiver) for this season, and also for a 6th year of eligibility.

According to Wilson’s publicly available timeline:

  • He started at the University of Oregon by enrolling early in the Spring of 2016 for spring practice.
  • Redshirted during that freshman season of Fall 2016.
  • Transferred to a JUCO in Kansas and played there during the 2017 season.
  • He then transferred to Kentucky where he is now in his second season and year four of his Division I “five-year clock.”

His “clock” will expire after the 2020 football season.

However, because Wilson redshirted during his true freshman season at Oregon and has now suffered a season-ending knee injury at Kentucky, his situation certainly appears to meet the NCAA guidelines to receive an “Extension of Eligibility” waiver and 6th year to play football during the 2021 season if he chooses to do so.

Do You Need Help?

Many times, student-athletes don’t realize they qualify for waivers or appeals that could possibly extend their eligibility, make them immediately eligible for competition, or even allow for a scholarship or appeal hearing.

We provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss your specific situation. Schedule your consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Currently, sports betting is now legal in 13 states with 6 more states reported to begin within the next year. This comes after a 2018 Supreme Court decision to return such control to the states.

An NCAA athlete’s participation in sports gambling, or sharing information that can be used by sports gamblers, can result in being ruled ineligible by the NCAA. The rule also includes coaches and athletic staff members as well with possible penalties imposed on the school.

What the NCAA Gambling Rule Covers

The prohibition on betting includes not only college sports but also professional sports if that same sport is a recognized NCAA-sponsored sport. For example, betting on horse racing, while frowned upon, is not prohibited, while betting on professional baseball, basketball, football, etc. is absolutely prohibited.

The NCAA gambling prohibition also extends to fantasy leagues that provide a prize based on the outcome of league standings.

Participation in a “pool” as is common with the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament is also prohibited for those in NCAA athletics.

Athletes, coaches, and staff members of NCAA athletic programs must also be very careful not to share information that can be used by gamblers, such as key players being unable to play in an upcoming game due to injury, illness, or other reason.

Do You Have Questions?

As more states across the country legalize sports betting, the NCAA monitoring of athletes, coaches and athletic staff is becoming more difficult but I expect the NCAA to become more vigilant with penalties when caught.

If you have any questions regarding the NCAA rules on sports gambling, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

When an NCAA DI athlete is considering a transfer to another DI university, there are 2 basic steps in the process.

Step 1:

Submit a written request to be entered into the Transfer Portal.

Prior to the establishment of the NCAA DI Transfer Portal last year, a student-athlete was required to get the permission of his/her coach for a request to speak to other schools. The coach could deny an athlete’s request for permission to speak with all other schools. The coach could also restrict an athlete from talking to particular schools.

This changed in October 2018. Now a student-athlete is required to submit a written request to their compliance office asking to be entered into the Transfer Portal. However, they should inform their coach before contacting the compliance office.

Step 2:

The school the athlete is leaving may be able to object to the student-athlete being immediately eligible at their next school. The student-athlete will then need to sit out a year of competition unless an appeal or a waiver is approved.

Why does a school do this?

There are several reasons that the original school can object. One of the reasons is when the student-athlete’s GPA is under 2.60.

When a transferring athlete has a GPA of 2.60 or higher, their team can receive an APR (Academic Progress Rate) “adjustment” so that they won’t lose the retention point for that athlete. As a result, that team’s APR won’t be negatively impacted by the athlete’s transfer.

To learn more about how the APR can affect an athlete’s transfer, here’s a link to an article on our website: https://informedathlete.com/how-the-academic-progress-rate-apr-can-affect-an-athletes-ncaa-transfer/

Does the transfer athlete have any options?

If the school to which the athlete is transferring agrees to file for a NCAA waiver, they have the potential to be ruled immediately eligible depending on whether the NCAA approves it.

Do you need help?

If your athlete is considering a transfer and their GPA is a concern or you have other questions, we can discuss your specific situation and help you develop a plan to navigate through the process.  Schedule a confidential consult online or call our office at 913-766-1235.

The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate is a calculation that was designed to improve the academic standards of Division I sports teams and the progress of DI athletes toward graduation.

Each DI scholarship athlete has 2 potential points that they can earn for their team at the end of each semester that will impact each team’s APR rate.

They can earn one “eligibility point” for being academically eligible each semester, and they can also earn the “retention point” if they are returning to their university for the following semester.

As an example, the 27 scholarship players on a Division I baseball team can earn 108 APR “points” in an academic year (the “eligibility point” and the “retention point” for each semester, so 27 players x 2 points, x 2 semesters = 108).

If 7 players don’t stay in the program or aren’t eligible to return in the Fall, there will be 7 “points” lost for that team (108 potential points – 7 lost = 101).  101 divided by 108 is 93.5, so that team’s APR would be 935.

When a student-athlete transfers from a Division I university to another 4-year university, their team can lose a “retention point” unless the athlete has a GPA of at least 2.60.

The reason?  When a transferring athlete has a GPA of 2.60 or higher, their team can receive an APR “adjustment” so that they won’t lose the retention point for that athlete. As a result, that team’s APR won’t be negatively impacted by the athlete’s transfer.

If a team loses too many retention points and the team’s APR drops below 930, there are various penalties that can be imposed including not being allowed to re-award scholarships.  In the most serious cases, the school may lose opportunities for post-season competition.

If the team’s APR is already hovering near the 930 level that can result in penalties, it’s possible that the athletic department may object to the athlete’s immediate eligibility at their next university by requiring that they serve a “year in residence” unless their GPA is at least 2.600 or higher.

To discuss the steps for a transfer and the academic requirements involved, schedule a confidential consult online or by calling us at 913-766-1235.

The “redshirt” rule is quite different for NCAA Division III athletes than it is for NCAA DI and DII student-athletes and can have major consequences if not known or understood.

NCAA Division III rules require that an athlete be charged with one of their four “seasons of participation” if they participate in a game or 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 during that season.

This happened to a client of ours last year. 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, he was charged with a “season of participation” for that season, and had three seasons remaining rather than the four that the father thought he had.

If you have questions about redshirt rules or other eligibility issues for your student-athlete, schedule a confidential consultation online or call us at 913-766-1235.

A question that we often receive this time of year is whether a student-athlete can drop a class(es) without a “penalty.” They might wish to do this because of second thoughts about their college choice, or due to injury or illness.

If your athlete has already started attending their college classes this Fall as a full-time enrolled student, withdrawing from their classes will, in most cases, negatively impact their eligibility now, and also in the future at their current college or at a new college that they may transfer to.

Dropping a course later in the term to avoid a failing grade that will hurt the GPA may be OK, but encourage them to finish the semester or quarter before they withdraw or transfer to another college so that they don’t lose all their credits for this term.

To discuss a potential withdrawal situation and how it could impact your athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online or contact us at 913-766-1235.

Almost every Fall since we started Informed Athlete back in 2008, 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?”

My first comment is that somebody at that college didn’t do their job as they should have (assuming they received this athlete’s transcript in a timely manner) if they didn’t inform their athlete of her academic deficiency before the semester started.

Had they done so, this athlete could have at least 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 an athlete 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?

We frequently work with junior college athletes to make sure they’re eligible at their NCAA school of choice by doing a college transcript review.

If you are interested in a confidential consultation about your student-athlete’s specific situation, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

NCAA Division I student-athletes must complete their playing eligibility within five years of their initial full-time college attendance. This is commonly referred to as a student-athlete’s “5-year eligibility clock.”

Student-Athletes at other four-year college divisions must complete their playing eligibility within their first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment and attendance.

Don’t make this mistake!

A student-athlete triggers the start of their five-year clock or uses one of their 10 semesters or 15 quarters when they attend their first class while registered for a full-time course load – even if they drop to part-time status on the afternoon of the first class day!! 

In addition to causing you to lose eligibility at your current school, this could also negatively impact a potential transfer to another school.

Do you need assistance?

If you or your athlete have questions about their eligibility “clock” and the impact of dropping to part-time status, schedule a confidential eligibility consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or by send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com.

All NCAA student-athletes are required to sign an NCAA drug-testing consent form at the start of each academic year in order to be eligible for competition and practice.

All incoming freshmen and transfer student-athletes should also know that any medication or over-the-counter supplements that they are taking must be cleared by the sports medicine staff or athletic trainer at their college or university.

If a student-athlete tests positive for an NCAA-banned substance (even if they did not know a banned substance was included in an over-the-counter supplement) they will be ruled ineligible for one calendar year after the positive test and until the athlete retests negative.

The best way for a student-athlete to prevent the possibility of this is to check with the sports medicine staff or athletic trainer at their college or university BEFORE they take anything.

JUCO Student-athletes transferring to NCAA Division I or II programs should know that there are specific academic requirements that must be achieved to be immediately eligible at an NCAA Division I or II university.

The academic eligibility requirements are different for NCAA Division I compared to Division II, and can also depend upon the student-athlete’s status as a “Qualifier” as well as how many semesters they have attended at their JUCO.

There are, however, two NCAA rules/requirements that apply to a junior college transfer regardless of whether they are transferring to a Division I or II university:

  • The first is that a JUCO transfer can only use 2 credit hours of Physical Education Activity courses toward the required transferable degree credits, unless the athlete is going to major in Physical Education or another major which calls for additional credit hours in those types of courses.
  • The second consistent requirement is that remedial-level courses taken at a junior college can’t be used to satisfy the academic requirements for immediate eligibility when transferring from a junior college to an NCAA university.

For more information on eligibility issues that JUCO athletes often face when transferring, you might be interested in reading this article: JUCO Student-Athletes and Eligibility Issues at NCAA Schools.

If you have questions about the NCAA academic requirements that JUCO student-athletes must meet to be immediately eligible at an NCAA university, click Transfer Consult Options to learn how we can help.

If you’d prefer to schedule a consult directly with our office, call Informed Athlete at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.