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.

One of the most commonly encountered roadblocks to a transfer from one school to another is when a student-athlete has eligibility issues. This seems to be especially true when a student-athlete transfers from a junior college to an NCAA school.

Student-Athletes who start their college career at a junior college have differing academic requirements when it comes time to transfer to an NCAA school.

For example:

  • Was the student-athlete a “qualifier” or “non-qualifier” coming out of high school? The answer to this will affect what a junior college transfer athlete must achieve academically to be eligible to compete at an NCAA DI or DII school.
  • How many semesters did a student-athlete attend at a junior college?
  • Was the student-athlete required to earn their Associates Degree before they were ruled academically eligible to transfer to an NCAA school?

These are the types of things that frequently derail a Junior College student-athlete’s athletic and academic career and end up costing them personally and financially.

If a student-athlete has not satisfied all necessary academic requirements BEFORE starting classes this Fall, they won’t be able to compete for their university during the 2019-2020 academic year and may also not be qualified to receive an athletic scholarship!

Knowing the academic requirements for certain ahead of time can allow a student-athlete to make the adjustments that are needed to avoid disappointment and possibly financial problems down the road.

If you are uncertain about your eligibility status, Informed Athlete can help!

  • Book a PERSONAL PHONE OR SKYPE CONSULT when answers to your questions require more information and are more complex or an EMAIL CONSULT if you need quick, simple answers to concise questions.

Using the term “Agent” will, in most cases, automatically raise questions and concerns about whether an athlete has violated NCAA rules and will be ineligible for college athletics!

I recently received an email from an international student who referred to the college recruiting service that was assisting him as his “agent” or “agency.” When I questioned him, I learned that rather than violating NCAA rules, he was simply mis-using the terms and didn’t realize the consequences of using the wrong terminology. The student asked me what he should call them and I advised referring to the service as an “advisor” or “consultant” rather than an “agent” or “agency.”

Can Athletes use an Advisory or College Athletic Recruiting Service?

It IS acceptable to use a college athletic advisory service or college athletic recruiting service to help market and promote you to college coaches.

HOWEVER, such services can’t charge a fee that is based on the condition of you getting placed with a college team or have a fee structure in which they are paid more based on the value of your athletic scholarship. The fee charged should be the same regardless of the level of college the athlete attends, or whether the athlete receives only a walk-on opportunity instead of an athletic scholarship.

Are agents acceptable at the NCAA DI Level?

There are very limited exceptions where the use of agents is acceptable, but they only apply to the sports of baseball, basketball, and men’s ice hockey at the NCAA Division I level.

How does the NCAA define an Agent?

The NCAA defines an agent as an individual who:

“(a) Represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or

(b) Seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment at an educational institution or from a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.”

To learn more about recruiting rules, visit How We Help – Recruiting Rules.  To learn more about eligibility Issues, visit How We Help – Eligibility Issues.  

If you have questions about the use of college recruiting or advisory services and would like a confidential consultation, give us a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Academic 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 serious short and long-term consequences. Problems meeting the eligibility standards can set back and even derail a student-athlete’s entire athletic career.

Academic Eligibility Rules are different at each level (NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA), each division (NCAA Division I, II, III), and even at different conferences and schools.

The worst thing I had to do when I worked on campus was tell a student-athlete they weren’t academically eligible and couldn’t play their sport.  It’s one of the primary reasons we started Informed Athlete over 12 years ago.  

Some of the questions we are frequently asked include:

  • What are the consequences if my student-athlete doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements as an incoming freshman?
  • What are eligibility requirements for my student-athlete to compete at the Division and level they desire?
  • What happens if my student-athlete accepts a scholarship offer, enrolls and begins classes, and then is told they aren’t eligible to compete?
  • What other ways can a student-athlete lose their eligibility?
  • Can a student-athlete extend their eligibility if they have extenuating circumstances?
  • What if my student-athlete has a learning disability that was undiagnosed or they didn’t want to share?
  • Will my student-athlete lose their scholarship money if they lose their eligibility?

Do you have questions about your athlete’s eligibility? 

Here are some ways we help student-athletes and their families.  ALL information shared is private and confidential – nothing is shared with schools, coaches, etc. unless you specifically ask us to contact someone for info on your behalf.

In a Confidential Eligibility Issues Consult, we will review the eligibility rules that specifically pertain to your athlete and answer your questions. We will also discuss the options that are available depending on the situation – including the possibility of an academic eligibility or extension of eligibility waiver (see Waivers & Appeals).

With a Freshman Transcript Review Service, we will:

  • Compare the courses completed with the courses approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Review your ACT or SAT test scores, and determine the GPA that will be needed for eligibility,
  • Provide a written assessment of the subjects that need to be completed to satisfy initial eligibility requirements.
  • Suggest steps and discuss a plan of action that may be available to satisfy eligibility requirements.

With a college athlete transcript review, we will:

  • Inform you of the changing NCAA and/or NAIA 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)

Give us a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have questions about our services.

If you are a college athlete who is going to take summer courses from a college or university other than the one you were enrolled this spring, you should keep these points in mind.

If you are taking the summer course to gain additional credit hours toward your degree requirements:

Check with your academic advisor to confirm that the course can be transferred back to your current college or university and will count toward your degree requirements.

If you are taking the summer course to improve your GPA:

Call the Office of the Registrar at your college or university to ask whether the summer course will impact your GPA, or whether it will only impact the credit hours you need for your degree. Such policies can vary from one college to another.

Do you have questions?

Give Informed Athlete® a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have questions about this information or other eligibility issues.

Is it better for a student-athlete to drop a class or fail a class?

This time of year, many student-athletes start thinking about dropping a course in which they are struggling.  It’s important to consider the possible consequences of dropping a course versus staying in but possibly failing.

Dropping a Class

All college athletes must be enrolled in a full-time course load in order to be eligible to compete for their team (there are a few limited exceptions).

If an athlete drops a course and as a result is no longer carrying a full-time course load, that athlete will not be eligible for competition. Also, in the case of NCAA universities in particular, the athlete won’t even be eligible to participate in practice or strength and conditioning sessions with their team.

Failing a Class

On the other hand, if an athlete chooses to stay in a course to stay eligible this semester, but ends up failing the course, it could negatively impact their eligibility for the next year.

College athletes must be making sufficient progress toward their degree and keep their GPA above minimum levels each term in order to be eligible for the following term.

As an example, an NCAA Division II soccer or football athlete must successfully complete at least 9-semester hours or 8-quarter hours of academic credit this Spring in order to be eligible next Fall. They also must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.

Need Confidential Advice?

The academic requirements vary from one level of college athletics to another. If you want to discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation in a private, confidential consultation, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.