The annual NCAA Convention was held recently in Indianapolis. While much of the publicity over the last few months regarding the Convention was regarding the work of the Constitution Committee to propose a new draft of the NCAA Constitution, I doubt that work will really impact the day-to-day life of NCAA student-athletes – at least not in the near future.

Here’s a brief rundown of some topics of interest for NCAA DI, NCAA DII, and NCAA DIII.

NCAA DI

For women’s basketball, recruiting rules were revised in several different topic areas, including telephone calls, official visits and the recruiting calendar. Due to the number of changes, contact us directly if you desire information regarding those changes.

In men’s basketball, the number of recruiting-person days (number of total days the men’s coaching staff could be off-campus recruiting) was reduced from 130 to 100. Two coaches recruiting on the same day equals two recruiting-person days.

For both men’s and women’s basketball, a proposal to allow student-athletes to appear in up to four regular season games without being charged with the use of a season of competition was defeated.

Football spring practice opportunities for full contact practice sessions will be reduced. They won’t be allowed on consecutive days during spring practice and won’t be allowed for more than 75 minutes in any practice session (other than a scrimmage).

New guidelines for transfer waivers that were set to go into effect in 2022 will be delayed until January 2023. This means that athletes transferring to a Division I university who need a waiver to be ruled eligible will have a wider range of acceptable reasons and circumstances that can be cited as a factor in the waiver decision as compared to the new waiver guidelines.

Those guidelines – which are now postponed a year – basically limit acceptable waiver reasons as:

  • An athlete has a diagnosed learning disability which was not sufficiently supported at the previous university OR
  • An athlete has faced a “real and imminent health and safety” threat at the previous university.

NCAA DII

The Division II One-Time Transfer Exception was changed to more closely align with the Division I One-Time Transfer Exception. The key aspects of the new Division II rule are:

  • The school from which an athlete is transferring will not have the opportunity to object to the athlete’s transfer.
  • Athletes will be required to view an educational video or online module regarding the transfer rules before their name will be entered into the Transfer Portal.
  • Athletes will be required to provide written transfer notification to their school by June 15 to have the chance to be eligible during the upcoming academic year.
  • A transferring athlete and the head coach at the new school to which they are transferring will be required to certify that they had no direct or indirect contact regarding a transfer prior to the student-athlete entering the Transfer Portal.

NCAA DIII

The proposal which would have had the most direct impact on Division III student-athletes was not voted on, but instead was referred to the Division III Interpretations and Legislative Committee for additional analysis and consideration.

If it had been approved at the Convention, it would have allowed Division III student-athletes to participate in a full season of practice with their team and still claim a “redshirt season” if the athlete did not compete in any games against another university.

As a result, the current Division III rule is still in effect. That rule charges a student-athlete with a “season of participation” even if they only practice with their team beyond the first game of the season but even if they don’t appear in a game against another opponent.

 

If you have questions about any actions taken at the NCAA Convention, contact us directly via e-mail at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

Like many organizations, the National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC) has an online chat room where members can share ideas and information, and ask their peers for assistance with questions. As a past President and member of NAAC, I keep up with those discussions to stay current with issues and discussions.

Recently, the following post appeared in the chat room:

“I am new to compliance and was wondering if there were any resources anyone can point me to so that I can learn/study compliance outside of the Manual or LSDBi.”

This was posted by the primary compliance contact for an NCAA Division II program!

I don’t mean to speak negative of this person. Rather, my concern is with the Division II school that would hire an inexperienced person for the primary compliance position.

If an athlete or family in your circle of friends isn’t confident in the information they are receiving from their compliance office, or if they aren’t comfortable posing their questions to their coach or compliance office, encourage them to contact us at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com with their questions.

High school seniors and junior college recruits in all sports other than Football will have the opportunity to sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II university beginning November 10!

Football recruits will be able to sign with an NCAA Division I university beginning on December 15 for a three-day “early signing period.” The “regular” initial signing date for NCAA or NJCAA football programs is Wednesday, February 2.

For more detailed information about signing opportunities for NCAA programs (Division I, II, and III) as well as the NAIA and NJCAA colleges, get your complimentary copy of our National Letter of Intent handout here.

For questions about these signing opportunities, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online or call our office at 913-766-1235.

The NCAA Division I Council has approved a temporary one-year waiver to increase the annual scholarship signing limit for Football only.

The Chair of the Football Oversight Committee stated that this decision was made because “…schools should have temporary flexibility to help address possible roster depletion due to transfers.”

The one-year waiver will permit Division I football programs to sign up to 7 more recruits than the normal standard limit (25 for FBS schools and 30 for FCS schools) to REPLACE current team members who transfer out of the program after this current semester.

    • For example, if four football players transfer out from a Division I FBS program at the end of this semester, that program will be permitted to sign up to 29 incoming recruits rather than the normal annual limit of 25 signees.
    • The overall total scholarship limits for Division I football programs will remain the same, however. Those limits are 85 for FBS football programs and 63 scholarship equivalencies for FCS programs.
    • D1 schools will be able to sign replacements for transfers who depart their school on or after the last day of the school’s Fall term or Dec. 15th, whichever is earlier.

December 15th is the first day of the early National Letter of Intent signing period for Division I football programs.

If you have questions about the scholarship limits or rules in football or any other sport, contact us at 913-766-1235 or write to rick@informedathlete.com.

If your son or daughter is on an athletic scholarship, do you have a copy of their scholarship agreement for this year?

It’s very important to read through the scholarship agreement and know what expectations have been placed on your son or daughter.

  • We all know that they’re expected to stay academically eligible, conduct themselves properly, and work hard in practice every day.
  • But how do you know if there are team rules or athletic department policies that could cause them to lose their scholarship if you haven’t carefully reviewed the scholarship agreement?

It’s much better to get a copy of the agreement at the time of signing as it can be an uncomfortable conversation to ask the coach or athletic department for a copy later if:

  • You feel that things aren’t going well for your son or daughter, or if they are being threatened with the cancellation of their scholarship, it will be important to know what is stated in those rules or policies.
  • In addition, if your athlete is thinking about a possible transfer to another university, it can be important to know the impact on his or her athletic scholarship if they decide to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal and when they might do that.

Here are a few potentially concerning examples that I’ve recently seen in scholarship agreements of our clients:

  1. The scholarship can be cancelled if the student-athlete “Refuses to participate or provides a positive test result in the NCAA or University drug-testing program.” (At some universities a positive drug test results in required drug counseling but not necessarily the cancellation of the athlete’s scholarship.)
  2. If an athletic scholarship agreement is written as 100% of a full athletic scholarship for the freshman year but then “0% of a full athletic scholarship” for the three following years, then there will be no notification of a scholarship reduction and no appeal opportunity because the student-athlete knew when they signed the scholarship agreement that there was no scholarship given after the first year.
  3. A student-athlete could have their scholarship cancelled due to “…actions that are deemed detrimental to the team that I am a member of.”But, if the coach does not provide his or her athletes with a detailed list of what those “detrimental” actions are, how can the athlete know that what they may consider a very minor discretion (perhaps being a few minutes late for a team meeting or making a disparaging remark about a teammate) may end up costing them their scholarship?

If you have concerns or questions about your student-athlete’s scholarship agreement or you want to have a proactive discussion about what to look for or be aware of in a scholarship agreement, we can help.

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online for a confidential 1:1 consultation. We’ll answer your questions and provide accurate information, objective advice and guide you through potential issues that could possibly create problems in the future.

The FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2022-23 academic year becomes available on October 1.

Here is why you should fill out the FAFSA form even if you don’t think you will qualify based on family income or because your athlete is being offered a substantial athletic scholarship:

  • Some coaches and athletic departments require that the FAFSA be completed by ALL student-athletes.
  • Coaches and athletic departments are trying to stretch their scholarship allotments for each sport as far as possible.
  • Having their athletes qualify for other types of scholarships and aid assistance that might be available is a way for them to do this.
  • That’s true in any year, but even more true now with loss of revenue and fewer donations from alumni at many colleges and universities due to the pandemic.
  • Furthermore, to maximize their financial aid “reach” some colleges have policies that prohibit ALL students (not just athletes) from accepting more than one scholarship or grant so that more students can receive financial assistance.

When your athlete’s recruitment is becoming “serious” with a coach be sure to ask them about campus scholarship policies during a recruiting call or when you’re on a campus visit.

It’s also important to note that some states award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis so the earlier you apply the better your chances might be to receive some aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Issues Can Be Confusing!

For more information on scholarships and financial aid agreements, visit our website: https://informedathlete.com/how-we-help/scholarship-strategies/

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

Since July 1st was the deadline for NCAA D1or D2 student-athletes to be informed whether their scholarship would be reduced or not renewed for the upcoming school year, we have been contacted by a number of families about the appeal process.

One of the key questions they have is whether it is “worth it” to pursue the appeal.

Each athlete and family must decide this based on the factors unique to their situation, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Is it more important for you to have a chance to compete in your sport, or stay at your school on scholarship?
  • You might win your appeal, but the coach may be angry with you for appealing and might “take it out” on you. The coach might even bar you from playing and might not even allow you on the team.
  • In addition, if you’re not kept on the team, the athletic department may require you to serve as a student worker in the department in exchange for your scholarship.
  • How close are you to finishing your degree? If you have only one year left to finish your degree, you’ll likely have to take additional courses to earn your degree if you transfer to another college. For example, you might end up taking 135 or 140 credit hours for a degree which normally requires 120 credit hours.
  • What points can you cite to support your case in an appeal hearing? For example, Have you been an excellent student at your school, and/or had a leadership position on your team?

Do You Need Help?

If you’d like to discuss the appeal, and whether you should pursue that option, contact us for a consultation. I can help you determine whether to pursue an appeal, and if so, we’ll discuss the best strategy, and discuss the strongest points to make during an appeal hearing.

Should you decide to transfer rather than appeal, I can walk you through the transfer process to ensure your transition to a new school is as smooth as possible.

To schedule an appointment, call my office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

NCAA Division I baseball programs will continue to be impacted by special NCAA rulings regarding their roster size and scholarship rules for the 2021-22 academic year in a somewhat similar manner to the way they were impacted during this season.

  • There will be a 40-man limit on roster size for Division I programs during the 2022 baseball season.
  • Up to 32 student-athletes will be allowed to receive a baseball scholarship – an increase from the normal limit of 27 in Division I.
  • Coaches will be allowed to renegotiate scholarships to provide less than 25% for 2021-22 with conditions in place for the following year or years of an athlete’s attendance.

The previous sentence is especially important for baseball student-athletes who were on a multi-year scholarship during the 2020-21 academic year. In a “normal” time, DI baseball scholarship athletes must receive at least 25% scholarship.

If your Division I baseball athlete has been notified of a change to their scholarship for this next year and you desire detailed information regarding their options, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

If a prospective student-athlete is being recruited by multiple Division I athletic programs and has an opportunity to “negotiate” for a multiyear scholarship from School A compared to a one-year renewable scholarship from School B, they should consider doing so.

The reason is that Division I schools are very limited in the reasons that they can use to take away a scholarship during the “period of the award.” Those reasons may not include a student-athlete’s athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success or any injury, illness or physical or mental health condition.

The “period of the award” for a multi-year scholarship is in effect from the first academic year in which an athletic scholarship is provided through the final year of scholarship offered, even if there are years in-between in which no scholarship is offered (e.g., 50 percent in year one, zero percent in year two, 50 percent in year three).

If you or your athlete have questions about how to navigate through various scholarship offer situations, we can help.  Schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult and we will explain how your student-athlete could be impacted in various situations.  With this information, you can make an informed decision that’s in your athlete’s and your family’s best interest.

All current NCAA Division I student-athletes who are on a year-to-year scholarship and all NCAA Division II scholarship student-athletes are to be notified no later than July 1 whether their scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the upcoming year.

Note that Division I athletes on a multiyear scholarship may not receive notice of renewal or non-renewal because the scholarship will be continuing for another year. However, the athlete will probably need to “accept” their scholarship for the next year before it will be applied to their student account.

If your athlete has not been notified by now, they should definitely contact their coaches and ask.

This is especially important if your athlete has recently changed their email, or your family has moved to a new physical address. Make sure that email and physical addresses that are on file with the Office of Financial Aid for your student-athlete are up-to-date.

Once in a while we hear from student-athletes or parents who say they didn’t receive their required scholarship status notification. Not receiving the official notification in a timely manner could mean that your student-athlete could miss the deadline for an appeal hearing should their scholarship be reduced or taken away.

If your student-athlete’s scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the coming year, you do have some options.

For objective information and assistance regarding a possible appeal and other options available to your student-athlete, schedule a personal and confidential Waivers and Appeals consult onlineWe will answer your questions, discuss your athlete’s specific situation and advise you of their rights and options. You can also contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or at 913-766-1235.