If you’re a current scholarship athlete at an NCAA university, have you been informed what your scholarship status is for next year?

If you have not been informed whether your athletic scholarship will remain as is, be reduced, or not renewed, I strongly encourage you to ask your coach NOW!

While NCAA athletic departments have until July 1st to notify you, most coaches and athletic programs don’t wait that long.  They usually inform athletes at the end of the school year before they leave campus for the summer, if not earlier.

Waiting until July 1 to find out that your scholarship has been reduced or cancelled, and then going through the appeal process will leave very little time to find another college to transfer to if that becomes necessary.

Do you Need Help?

If you have questions about your scholarship status and options available to you if your scholarship has been cancelled or reduced, we can help.  Schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online.  Or, If you prefer, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

As spring sport seasons wind down, a hot topic among players and parents is what will be discussed in the Exit Meeting with the coaching staff.

What happens in an Exit Meeting?

An Exit meeting is the time where each player meets with the coaching staff (in my experience, the head coach, but may differ for other teams) to summarize the year as well as give an overall outlook at the individual’s future with the program moving forward.

For some players, the exit meetings may be nothing but a mere formality, a simple goodbye to the coach and see you next fall.

But for others, the exit meeting may be a major factor in what a young player, and his/her family wants to do for the upcoming school year.

Preparing for an Exit Meeting

In approaching these meetings, there are many different questions that should be asked depending on the situation that a particular student-athlete is in (freshman vs. junior, pitcher vs. position player, and starter vs. bench player).

I strongly recommend that each athlete should make sure there are no unknowns left on the table at the conclusion of their exit meeting. Speaking as an athlete who did not get all questions clarified, and paid for it later, I believe this is the overall priority with each exit meeting.

Questions to Ask in an Exit Meeting

As a former student-athlete, I know that all of us have many questions regarding what our future holds at a particular university.

  • Do I still have a chance to contribute?
  • Is there any chance I could be cut at fall semester?
  • Will my scholarship be renewed for the coming year?

There are many uncertainties that each player has. There could even be some uncertainties within the coaching staff that may keep them from providing answers to a player or parent’s satisfaction.

Best-Possible Outcome from an Exit Meeting

At the end of the day, each athlete wants to receive an honest and thorough evaluation to give them the best opportunity at success. By getting as many questions answered as possible, the student-athlete puts him/herself in a better position to make an informed decision about their future.

Do you need advice?

If you or your student-athlete needs assistance preparing for their exit meeting or would like to discuss options if the exit meeting doesn’t go as hoped, give us a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathete.com to schedule a confidential consultation.

Recruited high-school student-athletes CAN double-sign a National Letter of Intent.  

Double-signing with an NCAA team and a NJCAA team provides an Option A and an Option B if a high-school athlete does not satisfy the academic requirements for NCAA eligibility and is classified as a NCAA Non-Qualifier.

A high-school athlete is NOT allowed to sign an NLI with two NCAA teams, even if one is an NCAA Division I and the other is a DII. A high-school recruited athlete is also not allowed to sign with two junior college teams.

A word of caution: There can be a down-side of signing.  For example, a high-school athlete is a NCAA Qualifier, signs with an NCAA school and a Junior College, but then decides to go to the Junior College for whatever reason.  In this case, the student-athlete will have to obtain an NLI release from the NCAA school.

In addition, there will be additional requirements that must be met if that same athlete does not get their release from the NCAA school, attends and plays for the Junior College school and then wants to transfer to another NCAA school in the future.

If your high-school athlete is considering double-signing, we can discuss the various scenarios available and save you potential heartaches and money down the road. Click here to schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consultation or call our office at 913-766-1235.

The most significant rule change that was approved at the recent NCAA Convention will benefit the health and well-being of Division I student-athletes at a Power Five university.

  • Those athletic programs will be required to provide their athletes with information and access to available mental health services.
  • Non-Power 5 NCAA Division I programs will not be required to offer such services, but many will do so to keep pace with the universities they are recruiting and competing against.

Here’s a brief rundown of other rule changes that might be of interest to our readers: 

NCAA Division I

Power Five universities will be allowed to provide room and board to athletes participating in summer school activities (strength and conditioning, etc.) even if they aren’t enrolled in summer courses.

NCAA Division II

Division II student-athletes competing unattached next school year will be permitted to receive athletic training support or medical services from their university at a competition site.

Under current legislation, if a track athlete is competing unattached, for example, at a meet where their teammates are competing for the college, that athlete is not allowed to be treated by the athletic trainers from their own college. They would instead need to receive treatment from the staff of the college hosting the event. The new rule will allow an unattached athlete to receive medical assistance from their own athletic training staff starting next year.

NCAA Division III

High school or prep school students who choose to participate in college athletics in NCAA Division III will be permitted to receive funds to pay for their pre-college educational expenses from any person or entity as long as the funds don’t come from an agent, a pro sports team, or the booster of a Division III college. Another condition is that such funds must be paid directly to the athlete’s high school or prep school rather than to the athlete’s family.

NCAA Division I baseball programs are restricted to a roster limit of 35 players once the season begins on February 15.

There may be some NCAA Division I programs that still have 36 or 37 guys practicing with the team as they prepare for the season, but those extra one or two guys beyond 35 will be cut from the team prior to the start of the season.

Once a player is told that they are no longer on the 35-man roster, they are prohibited from practicing with the baseball team or being involved in any team meetings or other activities.

On occasion, I have talked with parents who indicate that their son was told he is a “bullpen catcher only.” That is permissible as long as he’s on the 35-man roster for his university.

Also, if an athlete is serving in the role of “student manager” in the role of “student manager for an NCAA DI baseball program, he is forfeiting his eligibility to ever play baseball for that program. He would have to transfer to another university to have an opportunity to compete in college baseball.

If you have questions about the baseball roster limit or the impact on your student-athlete’s eligibility or scholarship opportunities and would like a private confidential consult, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

There are limited reasons for which an NCAA DI or DII athletic scholarship can be cancelled in the middle of an academic year under the NCAA rules.

Mid-year cancellation is possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled to be 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;
  • Violates a university policy or rule which is not related to athletic conditions or ability (such as a university policy on class attendance, or an athletic department policy regarding proper conduct on a team trip);
  • Due to recent rule changes – An NCAA Division I student-athlete can also have their scholarship cancelled at mid-year if he/she asks to be placed on the new NCAA DI transfer database portal prior to the start of spring semester.

It is a violation of NCAA rules for a coach to take away a scholarship mid-year for non-performance.

My advice to athletes and parents is to review very carefully any athletic department rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation or non-renewal of an athletic scholarship.

If you feel that you are being coerced into forfeiting your scholarship, contact Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 or send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com for a private consultation. We can advise you of your rights and walk you through the steps needed to handle this type of situation.

A head coaching change at an NCAA DI School (whether the coach is fired, or leaves of their own choosing to retire or take a new job) doesn’t change anything about the steps for an athlete to navigate a transfer or whether an athlete 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 has a “system” for which that current athlete is not a good fit or if the coach 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, call 913-766-1235 or email rick@informedathlete.com.

Dropping a class before final exams can have a negative impact on your athletic eligibility and your scholarship!

In a recent blog post, I shared several things that an athlete should consider BEFORE they drop a class prior to final exams.

This is such an important topic that I want to mention it again – DROPPING A CLASS BEFORE YOUR FINAL EXAMS CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR ATHLETIC ELIGIBILITY AS WELL AS YOUR SCHOLARSHIP!

As I’ve mentioned before, the hardest thing I had to do when I worked on campus was to inform a student-athlete they weren’t eligible – it’s especially difficult knowing that many times something could be done to prevent the situation.

If you are or have an athlete who is struggling and considering dropping a class, please call us for an eligibility consult BEFORE taking action!  Schedule a personalized and confidential consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

In some sports, the NCAA National Letter of Intent Signing Period timeline is changing with the upcoming November 14th signing date. In the past, the Fall signing period was only one-week long and there was a separate Spring signing period in April.

Starting with this signing period, high-school athletes in all sports other than basketball and football will be able to sign an NLI any time between November 14th and next August 1st.

Signing periods for NCAA Basketball and Football are:

  • NCAA Division I Basketball early signing period is November 14 – November 21, 2018.
  • NCAA Division I Basketball regular signing period is April 17 2019 – May 15, 2019.
  • NCAA Division I Football early signing period is December 19 – December 21, 2018.
  • NCAA Division I & II mid-year signing period for JUCO Transfers is December 19 – January 15, 2019.
  • NCAA Division I  Football regular signing period is February 6 – April 1, 2019.
  • NCAA Division II Football regular signing period is February 6 – August 1, 2019.

Also, effective November 1, junior colleges that are members of the NJCAA can offer their NJCAA Letter of Intent to high school seniors in all sports other than Football.

For questions about the National Letter of Intent or about athletic scholarships in general, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or 913-766-1235.

The NCAA’s National Letter of Intent in all sports other than football can be signed beginning Wednesday, November 14.  Athletes being recruited by NJCAA two-year colleges can sign beginning November 1.

When an athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program, they are – in effect – signing a “contract” to attend that university for at least one full academic year in exchange for the university’s offer of an athletic scholarship.

If the athlete changes their mind and chooses to not attend that university, or doesn’t attend the university for at least one full academic year, they will be penalized a season of eligibility at another Division I or II program unless that athlete is:

  • Released from the NLI one-year commitment by the university that they signed with;
  • Granted a full release on appeal by the National Letter of Intent Appeal Committee; or
  • Attends a junior college and graduates from that junior college with an Associate’s Degree.

For those athletes or families who are preparing to sign the National Letter of Intent, here’s a link to an article that describes the difficulty that one athlete had in her transfer from one college to another after she decided to not attend the university with which she had signed her National Letter of Intent.

These situations don’t happen very often, but this article illustrates one of the downsides of signing a National Letter of Intent and how important it is to understand the rules regarding an NLI BEFORE you sign:

https://bit.ly/2CTQBWz

If you have questions about the National Letter of Intent and need assistance, schedule a confidential consult online or call our office at 913-766-1235.