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.

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.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors recently ratified and made official the new One-Time Transfer Rule.

As a result, any four-year college athlete – even a full scholarship athlete in the sports of baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey – will have the opportunity to be eligible in their first year as a transfer to an NCAA Division I university without the need to serve a “year in residence” before they can compete for their new team.

The new rule takes effect immediately. This means that an athlete transferring this summer to a Division I university will be able to be eligible as soon as next Fall as long as they meet the required conditions.

Those conditions are:

  • Transfer from any four-year college to an NCAA Division I university.
  • Must be academically eligible at the school the athlete is leaving. (In addition, the NEW school must certify that Progress Toward Degree requirements are satisfied.)
  • Athlete has not transferred previously from a four-year university.
  • Athlete and new head coach must certify in writing that there was no direct or indirect communication between the athlete and the athletic staff at the new university before entering the Transfer Portal.
  • Any athlete planning to use this new rule to transfer to a Division I university for next year must submit their name for the Transfer Portal by July 1.

NOTE for any athletes who transferred to a Division I university in the middle of this current 2020-21 academic year:

If you were required at the time of your midyear transfer to serve a “year in residence” at your new university, you may also be able to use this new rule to become eligible next Fall.

Do you Have Questions?

If you need advice regarding how this rule impacts your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Transfer consultation online, by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) has ruled that their athletes can compete this Spring while being enrolled in just 9 units or credit hours. Enrollment in just 9 units or credit hours is almost always classified as part-time enrollment.

A term of part-time enrollment in most cases won’t negatively impact an athlete’s future eligibility for NCAA or NAIA.

However, any CCCAA athlete who competes this Spring while enrolled as a part-time student will need to keep in mind that this will be considered a full-time term of enrollment by NCAA or NAIA standards.

  • For a CCCAA athlete in this situation who is hoping to transfer to an NCAA Division I university to compete next Fall, it could impact the number of hours they will need to have completed toward their specific chosen degree.
  • For an athlete transferring to an NCAA Division II program, it will mean that all 9 units that they are currently taking at their CCCAA college will need to be transferable credits to the Division II university to which they will transfer.
  • For an athlete transferring to an NAIA program, competing this Spring while being enrolled in just nine hours could impact their transfer eligibility under the NAIA’s 24/36 Hour Rule or the Progress Rule.

The document “CCCAA Modifications Due to COVID-19” was most recently updated on March 22nd. It describes the special actions or exceptions that the CCCAA has taken regarding eligibility for their student-athletes due to the impact of COVID-19 on instruction as well as on athletic participation at those colleges. Here’s a link to the full document: https://www.cccaasports.org/coronavirus/CCCAA_Modifications_Due_to_COVID-19_032221.pdf

Do you Have Questions and Need Assistance?

We know that these eligibility rules can be confusing, especially when you also consider that the rules of the CCCAA may not align with the NCAA or the NAIA.

If you have questions or need assistance regarding how these rules could affect your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

The NCAA recently issued clarification for current Division II spring sport athletes regarding what will constitute the use of a “season of competition” as well as how a Division II spring sport athlete can qualify for an Extension of their eligibility for this Spring sports season.

Season of Competition:

A Division II spring sport athlete who plays during the season for a team that competes in more than 50% of the maximum number of contests or dates of competition for their sport will be charged with the use of a season.

If the athlete’s Division II team does NOT compete in more than 50% of the maximum number of contests or dates of competition for their sport, the athlete will NOT be charged with the use of a season.

Student-athletes in individual sports will be impacted by the same 50% threshold and must also account for any competition in which they are competing individually and not as part of a team competition.

Extension of Eligibility:

Division II student-athletes will be able to receive an Extension of one academic year (two semesters or three quarters) onto their eligibility “clock” as long as the student-athlete was eligible at some point during the academic year AND meets one of the following conditions:

    • Qualifies for a Season of Competition waiver (described in the first section above).
    • Spring sport season was cancelled due to pandemic.
    • Student-athlete opts out of participation in their sport at any time prior to the final game or date of competition.
    • Student-athlete doesn’t compete this season at all.

Possible Impact for a Division II Student-Athlete

Based on the Division II rulings for Spring sport athletes to receive an Extension of their eligibility, here are two examples of how a Division II spring sport student-athlete may be able to benefit from these rulings.

Scenario 1: A spring sport athlete was eligible during the Fall ’20 semester but is not academically eligible to compete this Spring season.

Even though this athlete did not satisfy academic requirements and is not eligible to compete this Spring, he or she can still receive the Extension of Eligibility for two more semesters. This is possible because the athlete was academically eligible during at least a portion of this academic year.

Scenario 2: Spring sport athlete is academically eligible this Spring and plays in the vast majority of the games or dates of competition in their sport, but then chooses to opt out late in the season.

(For this scenario, let’s assume this athlete has been playing with a minor injury this spring and wants to have one more healthy season, or they receive a season-ending injury late in the year just before postseason play begins.)

In this scenario, the athlete will be charged with a season of competition for this Spring 2021 participation since their team competed in more than 50% of a normal season.

However, as long as this athlete still has at least one more season of competition available, he or she will qualify for the Extension of eligibility for two more semesters because they chose to opt out before the end of the season.

We know that these special NCAA rulings can be confusing!

If you have questions and need help understanding how these rules could impact your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online, call 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Every year we receive calls from frustrated parents telling us that their incoming freshman or transfer student-athlete was not informed until AFTER they started attending classes that they are NOT be eligible to compete in their first year.

For example:

I recently heard from a parent who told me that their athlete (who was transferring from one college to another) was told by the coach and academic advisor last summer that all was in order and that the athlete would not have any problem being eligible at the new college.

However, approximately two weeks after the athlete started attending the new college – and AFTER it was too late to consider a possible “Plan B” – the athlete was informed that he/she is not eligible because not enough academic credits from the previous college were accepted as transferable to the new college.

Why does this happen?

This seems to happen most often for prospects or transfer athletes who are walking on to their college team rather than being recruited with a scholarship. I believe the reason is because the coaching staff – and by extension other offices at the college – aren’t as “invested” in making sure that the athlete will be fully eligible.

Another situation in which we sometimes hear of this happening is when an athlete is enrolling at a college or university where they may have just one compliance staff member responsible for all the compliance duties for all the coaches and athletes of that college. And I get it!! I used to be in that same situation early in my career!

It’s only natural that when there is one compliance person for all of the athletic teams at a university that this individual will need to prioritize their work responsibilities. That often means that the certification of eligibility for Fall sports at the start of the school year will take priority and that eligibility certification for winter and spring sports will take a “back seat.”

What can you do about this? Be Informed!

Contact us for a confidential consultation so we can discuss the academic requirements that your athlete will need to satisfy to be eligible as an incoming recruit or as a transfer athlete. We can also review your athlete’s classes to make sure they are on track to be eligible. If they’re not, we can tell you what your athlete needs to do so they WILL be eligible.

It’s SO much easier to make adjustments BEFORE than to find out AFTER THE FACT and have to make major changes. In my years working at two major DI schools, I encountered some athletes who simply gave up when they realized the difficulty of what they had to do before they could be ruled as eligible.

In the meantime

One thing that I advise all incoming recruits and transfer athletes to do is request confirmation of their eligibility in writing a few weeks before they are due to start classes at the new university. While receiving “bad news” even at that point would be stressful, at least it might be possible for your athlete to consider another option.

Such options might possibly include returning to their previous junior college to take another semester of coursework, or to attend a semester of college only as a part-time student while taking some additional coursework to make sure you have enough academic credits that will be acceptable as transfer credits to the new college.

Do You Need Confidential Advice?

Schedule an Eligibility Issues Consult online for a confidential discussion of the rules and academic requirements that will apply to your student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

If your athlete has signed an NJCAA Letter of Intent, or has been offered one by a junior college, I congratulate them on that opportunity!

But here are a few things those athletes should know about the NJCAA LOI:

  • Unlike the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent, an NJCAA LOI can be offered to and signed by a recruit even if no athletic scholarship is being offered to the recruit.
  • Once an athlete signs the LOI, they can’t be contacted by coaches at any other NJCAA college.

What happens if you change your mind after signing the LOI?

If a student-athlete decides after signing the LOI that they don’t want to attend that JUCO, they’ll need to request an NJCAA Letter of Intent Release before coaches at other NJCAA colleges can talk with them about a possible transfer.

A student-athlete who signs an NJCAA Letter of Intent but then chooses to transfer to another NJCAA college will also need to receive an NJCAA Transfer Waiver from the original JUCO that they signed with in order to be eligible.

  • The NJCAA Letter of Intent Release and the NJCAA Transfer Waiver are two separate documents. The first NJCAA college might sign the Release but not the Transfer Waiver.
  • If the student-athlete doesn’t receive the Transfer Waiver from the first NJCAA college, they’ll be ineligible for competition at the new college for one full academic year.

Furthermore, an athlete transferring within the same NJCAA conference from one college to another may be subject to more restrictive requirements.

  • They may not be eligible to compete at their new JUCO for one full academic year after a transfer from another college in the same conference.
  • They also may be prohibited from receiving a scholarship at the new NJCAA college.

Do you Have Questions Before your Athlete Signs an LOI or Need Help Navigating Through a Transfer?

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues or confidential Transfer Issues consult online if your athlete has questions/concerns about the rules that will specifically apply to your JUCO transfer student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

ACT or SAT scores will not be used in determining if a High School Recruit satisfies the NCAA requirements to receive Qualifier or Academic Redshirt/Partial Qualifier status for enrolling at an NCAA Division I or II university during the 2021-22 academic year.

However, don’t misinterpret this and think that the ACT or SAT test is no longer important for NCAA eligibility.

This is only a temporary exception that was granted for the current year and next academic year because of the number of ACT and SAT testing opportunities that have been cancelled or postponed during the last year.

For recruits who will be enrolling at an NCAA university for the 2022-23 or later academic years, an ACT or SAT score will still be required in order to be certified eligible for an athletic scholarship, practice and competition in the freshman year.

Eligibility issues affect student-athletes at all levels from high school to junior college and 4-year universities. Not knowing, understanding, and meeting the eligibility rules can have long-term consequences. Problems meeting the eligibility standards can set-back and even derail a student-athlete’s entire athletic career.

If you have questions about the NCAA eligibility requirements for high school recruits, contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online.

During the recent NCAA Convention, Division II members voted to do away with the academic status of “Non-Qualifier” effective August 1, 2021.

This action means that any student-athlete who enrolls at an NCAA Division II institution on or after August 1, 2021 will be classified as either a Qualifier or as a Partial Qualifier.

Any student-athlete currently attending a junior college as a Non-Qualifier or who would be classified as a Non-Qualifier as a freshman entering a Division II university this coming Fall will be treated as a Partial Qualifier effective August 1.

As a result of this action, a student-athlete who enrolls at a Division II university with Partial Qualifier status will be able to practice and receive an athletic scholarship during their first year of enrollment. A Partial Qualifier will not, however, be eligible for competition in their first year.

If you have questions about how this changing rule may impact you or your athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.