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.

Back in early June, we wrote about the number of college sports programs that were being eliminated across the country. Many of those programs were/are being dropped at least in part due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on colleges and athletic departments nationwide.

Since then, I’ve continued to monitor the number of programs at the NCAA Division I level that are being eliminated.

Adding my unofficial count to the 19 Division I programs that were previously announced, I’m now counting 59 or 60 programs from Division I. (My count isn’t exact, because a few programs have been reinstated.)

The hardest hit programs were tennis, with 13 men’s programs being dropped and 10 women’s programs. Swimming and diving saw 10 programs dropped (6 men’s and 4 women’s) and golf lost 8 programs (5 men’s and 3 women’s).

What does this mean for your athlete?

If they are a high school senior hoping to be recruited to a college program, or are a current college athlete considering a transfer from a two-year or four-year college to the Division I level, it means that there will be even more limited roster spots in certain sports.

This just compounds even more those roster problems for Spring sport athletes who have already been granted an additional year of eligibility due to 2020 spring sport seasons being cancelled.

How we can help

We can assist by answering your questions, hearing your concerns, and discussing options to consider:

  • For a high school senior whose recruiting opportunities have been severely limited during the past 5 or 6 months,
  • For a two-year or four-year college athlete who is facing a crowded roster but is uncertain whether opportunities at other colleges will be any better.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult or a confidential Transfer consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or via email at rick@informedathlete.com.

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion via Zoom regarding the various impacts of COVID on college athletics, ranging from eligibility questions to Title IX implications of sports programs being cut due to budget impacts.

Here’s a brief summary of the information I shared with participants regarding actions taken and waivers approved by the NCAA:

2020 Spring Sports – Athletes will not be charged with a season of competition as long as they were eligible during the season

  • Athletes in D-1 granted an additional year of eligibility on their clock
  • Athletes in D-2 granted an additional year if in their last year of eligibility
  • Athletes in D-3 treated as if semester “didn’t happen”

Fall 2020 Sport Athletes

  • D1 athletes not charged with a season and granted another year of eligibility
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season and granted another two semesters of eligibility
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted an additional 2 semesters.

20-21 Winter and Spring Sport athletes

  • D1 undetermined at this time
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.

Do you need have questions or need advice?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or at rick@informedathlete.com with questions about your athlete’s eligibility, or schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals consult.

We realize that this is a very uncertain time for current college athletes.

  • Your sport rosters may be overcrowded.
  • Maybe your season has been postponed or cancelled.
  • Or perhaps your season is being moved from the Fall to the Spring.
  • You’re not sure whether your classes will be in-person or online as the semester progresses.

If you are a student-athlete who is considering a transfer or is considering taking a term off from college (or the parent of one) and would like to have a complete understanding of the rules that will impact your specific situation, we can help. We will answer all your questions, discuss options and help you develop an action plan to move forward in these uncertain times.

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult or Eligibility Consult online or you can contact us at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

When an NCAA D1 student-athlete is considering a transfer to another D1 university, there are two key steps in the process.

Step 1:

Submit written notice to the compliance office at your current university that you want your name entered into the Transfer Portal. The Transfer Portal eliminates the need to first obtain permission from your university to speak with coaches at other programs. However, it is still best practice to inform your coach of your plans to transfer before notifying your compliance office.

Step 2:

The university you’re leaving may choose to object to your opportunity to be immediately eligible in your first year at the new university. Such an objection could force you to sit out from competition in your first year of attendance unless an appeal or waiver is granted by the NCAA.

Why would a university state an objection?

There are a few different reasons that an athlete’s original university may object to the athlete being immediately eligible in their first year.

One reason can be when an athlete is following a former coach to a new job at another university.

Another primary reason is when the student-athlete’s GPA is under 2.60.

When a Division I scholarship athlete transfers,, the school’s team that they are transferring from will lose that athlete’s “retention point” for APR (Academic Progress Rate).

However:

  • When a transfer athlete has a GPA at or above 2.60, their original team can receive an “adjustment” and will be able to receive the retention point.
  • An athlete with a GPA below 2.60 won’t qualify for the adjustment and that will cause their original team to lose the retention point.

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 transferring athlete have any options?

  • The athlete may be able to take a summer course to raise their GPA above 2.60. However, where they take that summer course and when the grade is posted to their transcript can impact whether that will resolve the issue.
  • Also, if the university to which the athlete is transferring agrees to file for an NCAA waiver, the athlete has the potential to be ruled immediately eligible if the waiver is approved.

Do you need help?

If your student-athlete is considering a transfer at this point in the year and their GPA is a concern, or if you have other transfer questions, we can discuss the athlete’s options and help develop a plan to navigate through the process.

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, or contact us at 913-766-1235.