The Spring semester has started or will be starting soon at most colleges across the country. This is a good opportunity to remind our readers about the current rules and waivers that are in effect regarding seasons of competition and eligibility.

I’ve summarized the information by level and broken it down by Spring Sports and Fall Sports.

As you review the information, please keep in mind that the rules and/or waivers that have been approved are likely different for the traditional Spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, etc.) as compared to those that have been approved for traditional Fall sports that will now be competing this Spring (volleyball, soccer, etc.).

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online.

NCAA Division I Current Rulings

NCAA Division I student-athletes in Fall or Winter sports who are eligible to compete during their season will not be charged with a season of competition used, regardless of the number of contests or dates of competition that they appear in.

For Division I student-athletes in Spring sports, the NCAA has not issued any guidance at this point in time. I’m sure that the Division I leaders don’t want to further “clog up” and overload their Spring sport rosters in the next year or two by giving Spring athletes a 2nd free season of eligibility.

Therefore, I believe that Division I Spring sport athletes should move forward under the assumption that any appearance in a game this Spring for their team will be counted as using one of their permissible seasons of competition.

NCAA Division II Season of Competition Waiver Status

The NCAA Division II Management Council has granted blanket waivers for Fall and Winter sport student-athletes to receive an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

DII Fall and Winter sport athletes will receive these waivers regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year AS LONG AS they are eligible for competition.

Waivers for an additional season of competition and an additional year of eligibility are also possible for Division II Spring sport athletes.

HOWEVER, the rules regarding a waiver for Spring are different.

For Spring sport athletes to qualify for these waivers, they must be eligible to compete and the individual athlete and their team must not participate in more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests or dates of competition.

If a Division II team or individual student-athlete does participate in more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions, those athletes will be charged with a season of competition used and a term (or terms) of enrollment toward their 10 semester or 15 quarter limit if the athlete appeared in a contest.

NCAA Division III Waiver for ALL Current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL eligible D3 student-athletes this year. These student-athletes can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

An important factor to note is that a Division III athlete can receive these waivers as long as the athlete is or was eligible for competition during at least one term of the 2020-21 academic year.

NAIA Season of Competition Waiver Status

The current status of waivers for NAIA student-athletes happens to be the same as for NCAA Division II student-athletes described above.

NAIA Fall and Winter sport student-athletes will be able to receive a waiver regardless of the number of contests that they compete in, as long as they are academically eligible for competition.

Spring sport athletes will only receive a waiver if they and their team compete in no more than 50% of the maximum number of contests in that particular sport.

NJCAA Will Not Count 2020-21 Sport Seasons

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow student-athletes in ALL sports – Fall, Winter, and Spring – to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for NJCAA athletes to know that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to an NCAA or an NAIA four-year college.

For questions about the rules and requirements for transfer eligibility from a two-year college to a four-year program, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

CCCAA Spring Participation Plan

The California Community College Athletic Association has not issued any updates on their website regarding waivers or season participation plans since July 9, 2020. Their sport participation plan is that all sport seasons will take place this Spring.

The following sports were scheduled to begin organized practices on Monday, January 18 with competition beginning in early February:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Women’s Golf
  • Soccer
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Remaining CCCAA sports are scheduled to begin organized practices on March 27 with the first date of competition in those sports being April 10.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online if you’d like information and assistance specific to your student-athlete’s situation.

Two bills were introduced in Congress in December which overlap or intersect with each other.

Name, Image & Likeness Bill

The first bill was introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee and would permit college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness (as would many bills introduced by various states this past year).

This particular bill was requested by the NCAA for help on a Federal level in dealing with the numerous bills introduced by various states. It would also provide oversight for the process of athletes receiving such compensation from companies and organizations via the Federal Trade Commission.

The College Athletes Bill of Rights

The College Athletes Bill of Rights, on the other hand, is a competing bill that is much more favorable to the college athletes than it is to the NCAA.

Here are some key provisions of this Bill:

  • It would require universities to share 50% of the profit from revenue-generating sports with the athletes in those sports (after deducting the value of scholarships already provided).
  • It would create “enforceable” health and safety standards developed by the CDC and the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Hefty fines would be imposed on universities not meeting those standards.
  • Establish a medical trust fund for athletes available for five years after leaving college.
  • Guarantee scholarships for athletes to complete their undergrad degree.
  • Remove penalties for not honoring a National Letter of Intent agreement to attend the university signed with for at least one full academic year.
  • Remove restrictions on athletes transferring between four-year colleges.
  • Permit athletes who enter a professional draft to declare a return to college within seven days of the draft.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on these developments in our upcoming newsletters. In the meantime, you can always contact us with questions about these or any other issues by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

We’ve recently written to inform you about the new Transfer Rule being proposed by NCAA Division I, as well as the Name, Image, and Likeness proposals in all three NCAA divisions.

https://informedathlete.com/proposed-new-ncaa-di-transfer-rule/

https://informedathlete.com/ncaa-name-image-and-likeness-legislation-update-overview/

These proposals were originally going to be voted on at the annual NCAA Convention.

However, NCAA President Mark Emmert urged the governing bodies of Division I, II, and III to postpone the votes on these proposals.

There are various factors that have contributed to this delay including:

  • A lawsuit advancing to the US Supreme Court regarding whether the NCAA can limit the benefits that college athletes can receive which are related specifically to their education.
  • Increasing concerns are being shared by university and conference administrators regarding the proposal that a third-party administrator will manage student-athlete information about the “deals” (and compensation) the student-athletes might receive regarding name, image, and likeness.To imagine how a third-party administrator for NIL might work, any of you who have interacted with the NCAA Eligibility Center can think about a similar organization to manage Name, Image, and Likeness information for all NCAA student-athletes and ask yourself whether you think that would be efficient for your athlete.
  • Another reason for the postponement of these votes is the introduction in mid-December of two different bills in Congress that impact NCAA student-athletes. In the following segment of this newsletter, I’ll provide a bit of info about those bills.

Do You Have Questions?

If your athlete is considering a transfer and you would like to review and discuss the Transfer rules, you can schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online. You can also send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

Most of you are probably aware that in response to legislation being proposed in many states across the country, the NCAA has proposed their own set of rules regarding opportunities for athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image, or likeness.

These proposals will be voted on at the upcoming NCAA Convention in January, and if approved, will take effect August 1, 2021.

The proposals differ between Division I, Division II and Division III, so we won’t describe the various proposals in great detail. However here is an overview of the proposed legislation for Division I student-athletes since those athletes receive the most media exposure and will be more likely to benefit from such opportunities.

Employment

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to establish their own business and will be able to actively promote their own business.

Current student-athletes will be able to promote and offer fee-for-lesson instruction, or conduct their own camp or clinic. If they use their university facilities to provide instruction, they will need to rent the facilities in the same manner as the general public.

Autographs, Memorabilia, Crowdfunding

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to receive compensation for their autograph.

Current student-athletes will not be able to sell items provided by their university until they are no longer eligible for collegiate competition.

Current and prospective student-athletes will be allowed to crowdfund for limited educational expenses or for charity.

Non-institutional Promotions

Current or prospective student-athletes will be able to receive compensation for promoting a commercial product or service. Universities will not be allowed to assist in arranging such opportunities.

Certain categories of products and services will be prohibited (such as promoting tobacco products or gambling).

A university will be allowed to prohibit current student-athletes from promoting certain products or services that conflict with university sponsorship arrangements. For example, a university that has a shoe contract with Nike will be allowed to prohibit their student-athletes from promoting Adidas or Under Armour.

Agents or Professional Service Providers

The term “agent” will be defined as an individual who is marketing an athlete to be drafted by a professional team or signed to a professional athlete contract.

Individuals or services who market athletes for their name, image, or likeness opportunities (separate from being a professional athlete) will be referred to as “Professional Service Providers” (PSP).

A PSP may not also act as an “Agent” for professional athletic participation.

A student-athlete using a PSP must pay the same fees as the industry standard and can’t receive a discount because of their athletic ability. A university employee or an independent contractor aligned with a university can’t act as a PSP.

A university can’t choose or recommend PSP’s for their student-athletes.

Disclosure to a Third-Party Administrator

The NCAA will establish an independent third-party administrator to manage name, image, and likeness information.

Current and prospective student-athletes will be required to disclose to the NCAA’s third-party administrator any types of promotional activities they are part of. This will include providing contact information and compensation arrangements for such activities.

Remember that these new rules won’t take effect until August, 2021. Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have any questions.

Representatives from the NCAA Division I membership will be voting on proposed “Uniform Transfer Legislation” at the January NCAA Convention.

If approved, this legislation will permit all Division I student-athletes – even scholarship athletes in basketball and football – the opportunity to transfer one time to a new school with the chance to be eligible and not have to sit out from competition in their first year at the new university.

Here are some key points to note about this proposed legislation:

  • Student-athletes transferring to an NCAA Division I program for the 2021-22 academic year will be able to benefit from this rule change.
  • This will be a one-time opportunity that can be used at any point during a student-athlete’s eligibility. It can be used as an undergrad or as a grad transfer, but not both.
  • Student-athletes must be eligible at the time of their transfer.
  • Athletes will not be permitted to compete for two different programs in the same school year.
  • Coaches and athletic departments will not be able to object to the athlete’s transfer.
  • Student-athletes and their new head coach will be required to affirm that recruiting didn’t occur until after the athlete’s name appeared in the NCAA Transfer Portal.
  • Under this proposal, student-athletes will have a deadline to enter the Transfer Portal in order to take advantage of this new rule – May 1 for Fall and Winter sports and July 1 for Spring sports.
  • There will likely be exceptions to those deadlines granted for student-athletes in situations when there is a head coaching change or when an athlete is informed of a scholarship reduction or non-renewal.

Potential pitfalls and concerns

  • With a proposed deadline of May 1st for Fall sport athletes in a year when most Fall sports have been shifted to the Spring, student-athletes who are considering a transfer may need to enter the Transfer Portal before their season concludes (unless an exception is granted for this particular situation).
  • The dates noted above could also have a very significant impact for student-athletes who may want to transfer at midyear. An athlete who might be thinking next Fall about a midyear transfer would not be able to use this new rule unless they had already entered the Transfer Portal before May 1 or July 1 (depending upon their sport).

This means that midyear transfers won’t be eligible in their first year at their new school unless the rule is revised or if another exception is established.

  • Also, it’s unclear at this time whether conferences will still impose restrictions or penalties on athletes who transfer from one school to another within the same conference.

If your athlete is considering a transfer and you would like to review and discuss the Transfer rules, purchase and schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online or by calling our office at 913-766-1235.

A head coaching change (due to retirement, job change, or firing) doesn’t change anything about the steps required for a student-athlete to navigate a transfer or about whether they can be immediately eligible at their next college if they choose to transfer.

However, a coaching change in Division I CAN potentially have an impact on an athlete’s scholarship, or perhaps more accurately, on a scholarship athlete’s opportunity to continue as a member of their team at the university that has the coaching change.

That’s because a new head coach being hired at an NCAA Division I university can tell an athlete “You won’t be a member of this team next season. You can continue on scholarship here at the university until you graduate, but you won’t be a part of this team.”

The NCAA rationale for this rule is that an athlete should have the right to complete their degree at their current university while continuing on scholarship even if the new coaching staff tries to “run off” the athlete.

The best example may be a football player who chose their university because the former coaches featured a pass-oriented offense, but the new coaching staff prefers a run-oriented approach.

The downside of this rule is that an athlete in this situation will, in most cases, never be able to continue on the team at their current university.

That’s because the benefit to the new coaching staff is that they get to “reclaim” that scholarship to go recruit a new player while allowing the current player to continue on scholarship at the university until they complete their degree – as long as that current player never participates in football again for their current university.

If you’d like to have a confidential detailed discussion about the Division I scholarship rules when a coaching change occurs, schedule a scholarship strategies consult online or call 913-766-1235 or email rick@informedathlete.com.

The NCAA has made several rulings recently that will impact student-athletes’ eligibility at Division I, II, and III.  In addition, the NJCAA has recently granted a blanket waiver for student-athletes in all sports.  These rulings are summarized below in this post.

NCAA Division I Midyear Enrollee Ruling

“Emergency legislation” which impacts midyear enrollees at a Division I program specifically for Fall sport athletes has been adopted by the NCAA Division I Council.

This ruling applies to both transfer athletes as well as initial enrollees from high school or prep school.

This recent decision revises a position taken earlier this Fall by Division I which would have prevented athletes in a traditional Fall sport from transferring at midyear and then being immediately eligible in the Spring at another university.

  • This will now be possible for Fall Sports athletes who satisfy certain conditions.
  • Student-athletes who are considering such a transfer (or midyear enrollment from high school) must satisfy specific conditions in order to take advantage of this ruling.

NCAA Division II Winter Sport Athletes Receive Expanded Eligibility Waiver

Recently, the NCAA Division II Management Council granted winter sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

All eligible winter sport athletes in Division II will receive this additional opportunity regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year. This is consistent with action taken previously for Division II Fall sport athletes.

NCAA Division III Grants Waiver for ALL current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL D3 student-athletes this year. They can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

While the NCAA’s press release did not provide this level of detail, you can be certain that an athlete must be academically eligible to compete this season in order to receive the benefit of this blanket waiver.

NJCAA Grants Waiver for Student-Athletes in ALL Sports

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow athletes at NJCAA member colleges in ALL sports to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision obviously provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for them to keep in mind that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to the “next level.”

Do You Have Questions or Need Advice?

If you have questions about these recently rulings or any other eligibility situation, we can help answer your questions and discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and options.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It seems that every college athletic organization and division is granting waivers for student-athletes to have an additional year of eligibility, or to have the season treated as if it never happened.

This is coming at the same time that some colleges are dropping sports programs because of the financial impact that the pandemic has had on college athletic budgets.

At some point, these actions will have a major impact on rosters at every level and, in some cases, already have.

Currently, college coaches are focused on coaching this current season and managing rosters that are changing frequently depending on testing outcomes. At this time, a student-athlete’s current eligibility is primary; their future eligibility status may not be a priority.

If you are concerned and would like to discuss how these changes could affect your student-athlete’s eligibility and place on a team roster, we can help sift through the confusion and discuss possible options and scenarios so you can make informed decisions about their current and future situation.

Schedule a confidential eligibility consult online or by calling us at 913-766-1235, or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It seems that more student-athletes than normal have been struggling in one or more classes. I’m sure that one main reason is because courses are being taught almost exclusively online this year.

As a result, your athlete may be thinking about dropping a class before their final exam. Before doing that, there are a number of things that should be considered:

  • Will dropping the class affect current eligibility right now? (If the athlete drops below full-time status, they become immediately ineligible for competition in most cases, and in many cases, also ineligible for practice.)
  • Will dropping the class affect my eligibility next semester? (That depends upon the athlete’s specific situation. The required number of credit hours that an athlete must earn will vary from one college division to another.)
  • If I don’t drop the class, but fail it, how might that impact my eligibility? (If the athlete’s GPA drops too low, it could make them ineligible for next semester.)
  • What other implications have I not thought about? (Will dropping the class or having your GPA drop too low impact your athletic scholarship or other financial aid?)

In a confidential phone, Zoom or Skype session, we will discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and the impact that dropping a course compared to staying in it but failing the course, could have on their current and future eligibility. Schedule your confidential eligibility consult online, by emailing rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

In action taken by the NCAA Division I Council last week, Winter sport student-athletes were granted an additional year of eligibility regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year. Athletes must be eligible to compete this season to receive this additional year.

This is consistent with action taken previously for Division I Fall sport athletes, as well as for athletes whose Spring 2020 seasons were cut short.

As a reminder, this blanket waiver is different than the ones provided for student-athletes in Winter sports at NCAA Division II and III colleges and universities.

Winter sport student-athletes at D2 and D3 programs will be granted an additional season of competition as long as their team competes in not more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions that are allowed in a normal year.

  • In addition, D2 and D3 athletes who compete in individual sports such as cross country, golf, or tennis, must also be sure that they don’t compete in more than 50% of the maximum competitions even if their team as a whole did not.

Do you need advice?

If you have specific questions regarding how these NCAA actions will impact your student-athlete and would like to discuss options available, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online.