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.

I recently saw a post from a college football writer that 190 football players have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal in the past 12 days!

Some of these players may leave behind a scholarship at their current school and end up having nowhere to transfer to! It also wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar proportion of athletes in other sports.

When you consider these NCAA athletes who are being granted an additional year of eligibility taking up roster spots that in a normal time would possibly be going to junior college transfers or incoming high school recruits, there will be potential roster “log jams” in many sports across college athletics.

Athletes will need to carefully consider their options BEFORE entering the Transfer Portal.

In a confidential Transfer Consultation, we will:

  • Discuss how the current situation could affect your student-athlete including pros and cons of various transfer options
  • Describe all the steps and rules involved in the transfer process including possible eligibility issues to be aware of

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

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.

It’s common this time of year for us to be asked “If my coach is fired or resigns, does that give me a ‘free’ opportunity to transfer?”

In fact, Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois are a few of the schools who have recently announced football coaching changes.

This prompts me to remind readers that while a coaching change CAN potentially impact an athlete’s scholarship, a coaching change does NOT change the transfer rules.

An athlete must still follow the same steps to transfer and their eligibility will depend upon the same rules and academic requirements regardless of whether their team has had a coaching change.

At the NCAA Division I level, however, a coaching change can potentially have an impact on an athlete’s scholarship if the new coaching staff doesn’t see that athlete as a good fit for the program.

If you have questions about the transfer rules or about your athletic scholarship and want to discuss your athlete’s specific situation, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult or a Scholarship Strategies Consult. You can also send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

Within the past few weeks, we’ve consulted with at least three families regarding situations in which their athlete has been dismissed from a team or penalized in other ways primarily for their political beliefs.

While these situations are certainly unfortunate and unfair, decisions as to who a coach keeps on their roster are left to the discretion of the coach by most athletic directors. If a coach removes an athlete from their team, the athlete may have no choice but to transfer to another school.

However, if an athlete is receiving an athletic scholarship, the NCAA rules limit the ability of a coach or athletic department to cancel the scholarship in the middle of the academic year.

Midyear cancellation of a scholarship is only possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled ineligible for competition
  • Provides fraudulent information on an application, letter of intent, or financial aid agreement
  • Engages in serious misconduct that rises to the level of being disciplined by the university’s regular student disciplinary board;
  • Voluntarily quits their team; or
  • Violates a university policy or rule which is not related to athletic conditions or ability (such as a university or athletic department policy on COVID-19 restrictions, which is a very significant concern in the current environment).

Also, in NCAA Division I, an athlete entering the Transfer Portal could possibly lose their scholarship at midyear.

My advice to athletes and parents

Review very carefully any athletic department or university rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation of an athletic scholarship.

Contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com for or schedule online a confidential scholarship consultation to discuss a situation in which your athlete’s position on their team or their scholarship is being threatened by a coach for their political beliefs, or for alleged violations of policies.

November 11th is the first opportunity for high school seniors (and JUCO athletes) to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program in sports other than football.

Here are a few mistakes when signing an NLI that have been noted by compliance directors on Division I and II campuses across the country. Don’t make these same mistakes when you or your athlete sign the NLI. A mistake could cause the NLI to be invalid if not caught and corrected.

  • Forgetting to include the time that the NLI was signed.
  • Signing the NLI prior to 7 AM your local time on the initial signing date.
  • Not signing the NLI within 7 days after the date it was issued to you.
  • Names are printed on the NLI instead of an actual signature.
  • The Parent or Legal Guardian box is not checked.
  • Poor scan quality when you return your signed copy to the university.

If you have questions about signing a NCAA National Letter of Intent or an NJCAA Letter of Intent, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

NCAA National Letter of Intent:

November 11 is the initial signing date for an NCAA National Letter of Intent in all sports other than football.

  • An athlete can only sign one NLI with one NCAA Division I or II university.
  • An NCAA National Letter of Intent must be accompanied by an official athletic scholarship agreement from the university your athlete is signing with.
  • When the athlete signs the NLI, they are committing to attend that university for at least one full academic year in exchange for receiving the athletic scholarship.
  • It is not a requirement that the prospective student-athlete sign the NLI, but not doing so could cause the coaching staff recruiting the athlete to question the athlete’s commitment to their team.

See our article for reasons why an athlete may not want to sign the NLI, especially this year if they’ve been recruited during an NCAA Dead Period. https://informedathlete.com/should-your-recruited-athlete-sign-an-ncaa-national-letter-of-intent/

NAIA Letter of Intent:

There actually is no Letter of Intent that is recognized or acknowledged by the NAIA. In other words, there are no NAIA rules or requirements that apply to a Letter of Intent that an NAIA college offers to an athlete. Each college acts on their own regarding scholarships.

There is no NAIA signing date or deadline, and an athlete can sign with more than one NAIA college if they choose to do so. They could sign multiple offers from NAIA schools and then choose to wait until later on to decide which NAIA college they will actually attend.

One downside to the NAIA having no standard Letter of Intent or scholarship rules is that if an NAIA athlete loses their scholarship, there are no NAIA rules that require that an appeal opportunity be made available to them.

NJCAA Letter of Intent:

November 1st was the initial signing date for an NJCAA Letter of Intent in all sports other than football. An athlete can only sign one LOI with one NJCAA program.

  • An NJCAA LOI can be issued to a prospective student-athlete even if no athletic scholarship is being offered to the athlete.
  • Each NJCAA team has a limit on the number of LOI’s that can be signed in any given year, including those for which no scholarship is provided to the athlete.
  • Similar to the NAIA above, there are no NJCAA rules that require that an appeal opportunity be made available to an athlete who loses their scholarship while attending an NJCAA college. Any opportunity to appeal would depend on the policies of that particular college.

Do you have questions or need guidance?

If you have questions about any of this information, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

NCAA scholarship student-athletes who are considering “opting-out” from participating in their sport this year, should make it very clear that they are “opting-out” rather than voluntarily withdrawing from their sport.

These two phrases – “Opting-Out” and “Voluntary Withdrawal” mean two different things in NCAA terminology.

The NCAA has given student-athletes the right to “Opt-Out” of their sport this year if they have concerns about COVID.  The benefit to scholarship athletes is that it protects their athletic scholarship from being cancelled by their athletic department.

When an athlete informs their university that they are “Voluntarily Withdrawing” from the team, that means the same as that they are quitting their team. In this situation, the coach or a staff member in the athletic department will tell your athlete that they need to sign a Voluntary Withdrawal Form.

It’s also somewhat common for a coach or staff member to tell an athlete that they need to sign a Voluntary Withdrawal Form if they are planning to transfer.

My Advice to NCAA Scholarship Student-Athletes

Don’t sign a “Voluntary Withdrawal Form” unless you are certain that you are leaving your team. Signing a Voluntary Withdrawal Form gives the university the right to cancel your scholarship!

If you have questions and want to discuss how various situations could impact your athletic scholarship,  schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, or by calling us at 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

High school and junior college athletes being recruited by Division I coaches have not been able to visit D1 campuses or have face-to-face discussions with coaches (except via Zoom or FaceTime) since mid-March.  In fact, the NCAA DI Dead Period has been extended through January 1, 2021.

With this in mind, do you feel comfortable having your athlete sign a National Letter of Intent with a Division I university when the signing period begins on November 11 for all sports other than football?

While accepting a scholarship may be very valuable to your athlete, signing the NLI locks them in to attending that university for at least one full academic year even though they might never have visited the campus and toured the facilities, let alone met the coaching staff in person.

It’s a common misperception that when a recruit is presented with a National Letter of Intent that they must sign that document.

  • However, the NLI is actually a separate document from a school’s official scholarship agreement.
  • The NLI can’t be offered to a recruit unless it is accompanied by that scholarship agreement.

It’s possible for a recruit to sign the school’s scholarship agreement without signing the National Letter of Intent. But what does that actually mean for your athlete?

For one thing, signing the scholarship agreement with a college is a “guarantee” that the college must provide you with that scholarship if you are accepted for admission to that college, enroll and attend classes there, and are certified as eligible by the NCAA.

The potential upside of signing the scholarship agreement but NOT the NLI is that your athlete would not be subject to the NLI penalty for not attending that college for one full academic year should they choose to transfer after just one semester.

An example of why an athlete might choose to transfer after one semester is if the coach who has been the primary recruiter for your athlete leaves for another job before your athlete ever arrives on campus.

On the other hand, the potential downside of not signing the NLI is that it can potentially harm your athlete’s relationship with the coaching staff who recruited them before your athlete ever arrives on campus. The coaching staff might question the athlete’s intentions and full commitment if they don’t sign the NLI. Is there a way to minimize that possibility?

Here are a couple of suggestions for dealing with the uncertainty of the times we are in the midst of when your athlete is being asked (and perhaps pressured) to sign a National Letter of Intent.

One possible option is that your athlete can ask the university recruiting them if they can sign only the scholarship agreement when the signing period begins on November 11. Your athlete can then offer to sign the NLI at a later date AFTER they have had a chance to visit the campus, tour facilities, and meet the coaches in person.

Another possible option is to ask the university if they will provide a written assurance to grant your athlete a full release from the NLI if the athlete changes their mind after visiting campus, or if there is a change in the coaching staff before your athlete enrolls at the university.

Do you have questions?

If you would like to discuss the options described here in a confidential phone consultation, schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

Recently, the NCAA Division I Council extended the recruiting Dead Period through January 1, 2021.

A brief review of social media indicated that many athletes and coaches (high school, travel ball, and college coaches) are extremely frustrated with this decision. We completely understand that frustration.

The decision was made at least in part because NCAA leadership was concerned about coaches traveling across the country, as well as recruits traveling to visit campuses, and thereby increasing the spread of COVID-19.

Also, for what it’s worth, the last sentence of the NCAA press release about the dead period states:

“The majority of coaches associations also supported the extension of the dead period.”

So while a lot of frustration is directed at the NCAA, there had to be a number of coaches associations for different sports that were hesitant to travel or to have recruits visiting campus.

As a result of this action, coaches in all Division I sports are only allowed to:

  • Recruit by phone or video calls, text messaging, email, and other direct messaging.
  • Coaches can also review film and gather information on recruits by speaking with high school, junior college and/or club coaches, but are prohibited from leaving campus for recruiting purposes and can’t have face-to-face interaction with recruits or their family members.

It’s also not permissible during this Dead Period for Division I universities to offer complimentary admission for recruits or for high school or junior college coaches to a football or basketball game, or any other sports event that may take place on campus during this period.

Do you have questions and need assistance?

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation, we provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss options available to your athlete. Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.