In some of our recent newsletters, we’ve been suggesting that athletes and families who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 may want to skip attending college this Fall semester or this year.

Some have expressed concern about their university’s plan for instruction and/or the possible impact on their competitive eligibility if they don’t have a full sports season – or no season at all.

At levels other than NCAA Division I, athletes can preserve one or more semesters or quarters that will count against the 10-semester or 15-quarter eligibility “clock” if they’re not taking classes at all or are only taking a part-time course load.

However, in fairness, that’s only looking at things from an athletics perspective.

There may be other reasons why student-athletes should consider NOT skipping a semester or year of attendance – including having to possibly re-apply for admission or triggering student loan payments.

The link below will take you to a recent article explaining some reasons “Why Missing College This Fall is a Bad Idea.”

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/missing-college-bad-idea

If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of your athlete not attending college this Fall, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Updated 7/17/17 – The Trump administration has agreed to rescind rules it issued last week barring international students from being in the U.S. if they were taking classes only online, a rare reversal by the government on immigration policy.

This past week the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) issued a “modification” to F-1 Visa status that could have a huge impact on international student-athletes (and their coaches and teams).

Effective for the Fall 2020 semester, “non-immigrant students” who are taking their college courses through an entirely online delivery method will not be permitted to remain in the US.

According to Monday’s press release from ICE, “Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”

As most of you know from our previous communications with you as a client or as a newsletter subscriber, while the ICE statement seems to read as if “transferring is easy – no big deal”, that’s obviously not the case!!

An international student-athlete transferring on short notice will find it extremely difficult to find another college that has scholarship money available for an unexpected transfer.

This decision by ICE will have very serious implications for those international student-athletes who are currently here in the US, or plan to arrive in the US, and then possibly learn that their university will only be providing instruction via online courses.

We can’t predict whether the NCAA will provide a special waiver for international student-athletes who will be impacted by this decision. But we can discuss options that international student-athletes can consider and how those options will impact their future athletic eligibility.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Unfortunately, we are starting to see more reports of colleges and universities that are cancelling Fall sports. Recent examples include Morehouse College in Atlanta, Bowdoin College in Maine, and UMass Boston. Morehouse is an NCAA Division II university, while the other two are members of Division III.

  • If your student-athlete’s season is cancelled by his or her college or university, will they attend that college this Fall?
  • Will they stay home instead where they may be “safer” from contracting Covid?
  • What will happen to their scholarship?

Do You Need Advice?

Due to the uncertainty of this time and the frequent changes being announced by colleges across the country, we may not have all the answers for you. However, we can talk with you confidentially to review key eligibility or scholarship rules to keep in mind as well as possible options that your student-athlete can consider.

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

Athletes who plan to attend a junior college and then transfer to an NCAA university to be immediately eligible must satisfy specific academic requirements while attending the junior college. 

These academic requirements will vary depending upon a number of factors. Those factors include:

  • Was the athlete an NCAA Qualifier based on their academic record in high school?
  • Is the athlete starting at the junior college as a freshman, or as a transfer from another college – especially if coming from a four-year college to do a 4-2-4 transfer back to another four-year college?
  • How many years or semesters is the athlete planning to attend the junior college? Will the athlete be considered a part-time student for any of those semesters?
  • Is the athlete thinking about attending the junior college beyond their second year of college enrollment?

Academic Eligibility Considerations for Current JUCO Athletes

Current junior college athletes who choose to stay at the junior college level for a second season of playing eligibility next year in their 3rd year of college attendance should keep a few points in mind:

  • Academic eligibility upon transfer to an NCAA program often depends upon the number of semesters that an athlete attended a junior college as a full-time student. Attending a two-year college for an additional year or semester beyond the normal two years could possibly have negative consequences on academic eligibility when a junior college athlete transfers to join an NCAA athletic program.
  • Eligibility upon transfer to an NCAA program also depends upon the number of credit hours earned during the last semester of full-time attendance at the junior college, as well as how many of those credit hours will be accepted as transferable credit at the NCAA university.

Do You Have Questions or Need Objective Advice?

If you have questions or need objective advice regarding your student-athlete’s academic eligibility situation, we can help. Schedule your confidential Eligibility Issues Consultation online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

If you are a college athlete who plans to take summer courses from a college or university other than the one where you were enrolled this past semester, 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, contact your academic advisor or 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.

If you were on scholarship during the regular academic year, there is no requirement that your university provide a summer school scholarship.

  • If you were a scholarship athlete during the 2019-20 academic year, your scholarship from that university won’t cover summer courses taken from a different university.
  • In fact, your scholarship may not cover summer courses taken from the same university you attended during 2019-20. That’s because a scholarship for summer school is a separate agreement from your academic year scholarship.

Do you Have Questions?

If you have questions regarding how summer courses may impact your eligibility, especially if you will be transferring to a new college this Fall, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling us at 913-766-1235.

During the call, Rick will review the eligibility rules that specifically pertain to your athlete and answer your questions. He’ll discuss the options that are available depending on the situation – including the possibility of an academic eligibility or extension of eligibility waiver.

All information shared is private and confidential. Nothing is shared with schools, coaches, or anyone else unless you specifically make a request.

As I was planning this week’s newsletter, I was preparing to write an article about the number of college sports programs that are being eliminated. Most, if not all, of these sports programs are being dropped at least in part due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on athletic department budgets and on overall college enrollment at many institutions.

Then, I opened the sports section of our local newspaper and an Associated Press sportswriter had already researched and written an article on this topic.

Here’s a link to that complete article:

https://bit.ly/2Xl0oOt

As of the writing of that AP article, the following number of sports programs have been dropped at each four-year college level.

NCAA Division I – 19

NCAA Division II – 47

NCAA Division III – 19

NAIA – 12

Student-athletes who were members of these teams or who had been recruited by these teams as incoming freshmen are stuck in a very unfortunate situation. If they choose to transfer to find a new team at another college, they don’t have much time to select a new college before classes begin this Fall.

For student-athletes who participate in spring sports, they face the additional challenge of trying to find another team when rosters may already be overloaded due to all college spring sport athletes being granted an additional year of eligibility after their seasons were cut short due to COVID-19.

These student-athletes – especially those at NCAA Division II, Division III, or NAIA – may want to consider taking off a semester or year from school, or only taking a part-time course load for a period of time, to have more time to consider their options.

We can discuss these possible options and explain the pros and cons to consider before your athlete makes a rush decision. All information you share and we discuss is private and confidential. Our focus is what is in your athlete’s best interest only.

Schedule your Eligibility Issues consult online or by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Athletes who transfer from a junior college to an NCAA athletic program should know that there are specific academic requirements that must be satisfied while attending the junior college in order to be eligible in their first year of attendance at an NCAA university.

Those academic requirements will vary depending upon the following factors:

1. Was the athlete a Qualifier or a Non-Qualifier when they graduated from high school?

2. Is the athlete transferring to an NCAA Division I, Division II, or a Division III program?

3. Has the athlete previously attended a four-year college before attending the junior college?

If you have a Junior College athlete who plans to transfer to an NCAA program, schedule a Confidential Eligibility Consult online, or by calling us at 913-766-1235. During the call, we will discuss ALL the things a JUCO student-athlete should know before considering a transfer to a 4-year university so there are no unpleasant surprises.

The NCAA Board of Governors recently received a lengthy 31-page report from the “Federal and State Legislation Working Group” suggesting broad recommendations for new rules that will permit student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness.

When approved, student-athletes will be able to accept payment within the NCAA rules for a wide range of activities. However, many details remain to be proposed, discussed and finalized.

Some of the basic guidelines for development of these new rules include:

  • Student-athletes will not be paid for these types of activities by their respective schools or conferences, or by the NCAA.
  • Student-athletes should have the same opportunities as the general student body to be compensated for their particular skills, ability, and name recognition except when there are compelling reasons to the contrary. (Examples: I’m sure that athletes will not be allowed to promote tobacco products, nor will underage athletes be permitted to endorse alcohol products.)
  • Education and progress toward a student-athlete’s degree must continue to be priorities. (Student-athletes will likely be prohibited from missing class to make a personal appearance, record a commercial or participate in any similar activity.)
  • Rules regarding these activities must be able to be enforceable and monitored for compliance with these rules (perhaps the hardest part of this whole concept in my opinion!!!).
  • Student-athletes will not be allowed to affiliate with a professional sports team and will not be allowed to receive compensation based specifically on their athletic performance (no prize money or compensation based on place finish in competition).
  • Rules must protect fairness in the recruitment of prospects or impermissible tampering with currently enrolled student-athletes.
  • A number of states have proposed or passed legislation within their own states to permit student-athletes to receive compensation for endorsement or promotional activities. The NCAA will be working with Congressional representatives to preempt state laws so that there can be consistency for all NCAA member institutions and their student-athletes.

Types of Activities that Will be Permissible for Student-Athletes Within the New Rules (pending approval):

Student-athletes will be allowed to receive compensation for:

  • Promoting local, regional or national businesses through personal appearances, appearing in commercials, or as social media “brand ambassadors.”
  • Modeling or signing autographs.
  • Their own creative endeavors such as acting, singing, or selling their artwork.
  • Giving private lessons or tutoring.
  • Conducting or providing research or class projects for or to private companies.

Much progress still needs to be made on establishing details and receiving feedback from various NCAA constituencies. However, the NCAA Board of Governors remain committed to having the three NCAA divisions prepare specific legislative proposals in time for the January 2021 NCAA Convention.

We will keep you updated as we learn more details and receive additional information.

California State University Chancellor Tim White has announced that their 23-campus system will provide instruction online only this Fall with limited exceptions (such as for lab courses and clinical classes).

As a consequence of that action, the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association – which is the athletic home of many Cal State campuses – is suspending athletic competition during Fall 2020.

These announcements have come as a shock to many with those decisions regarding Fall instruction and competition being made so early.

It’s certainly understandable that many Fall Sport student-athletes who are impacted by these decisions are likely wondering what their options are.

Student-athletes who make rash decisions regarding their Fall plans without understanding and considering the eligibility and/or transfer rules could negatively impact their eligibility in the future.

In a confidential consultation, I can explain the NCAA rules and the options that student-athletes should be aware of. Schedule an Eligibility Issues Consult online or by calling us at 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

There are a couple of unique aspects of NCAA Division III’s granting of an automatic or blanket waiver for spring sport athletes that we want to share with you.

The way that NCAA Division III is applying their “blanket waiver” for spring sport athletes due to COVID-19 is that – in effect – the 2020 spring semester “didn’t happen.”

In other words, a Division III spring sport athlete will not be charged with a season of participation during this academic year AND will not be considered to have used one of their 10 semesters (or 15 quarters) of full-time enrollment.

In addition, for those Division III colleges that conduct their conference golf or tennis season in the Fall, those student-athletes will still be able to benefit from the Division III blanket waiver. This is because golf and tennis are officially considered spring sports by the NCAA, even though some conferences conduct those two sport seasons in the Fall.

If you have questions about your remaining eligibility and need objective advice, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.