NCAA Division I baseball programs will continue with increased roster size and scholarship limits for the 2024-25 academic year thanks to a “Blanket Waiver” issued by the Division I Committee for Legislative Relief.

The reasons for these increased limits include:

  • The 2024-25 academic year will be the last year that most Division I baseball athletes still have eligibility available as the result of the NCAA rulings dating back to the 2020 baseball season.
  • Major League Baseball has changed the MLB Draft from 40 rounds to 20 rounds.
  • The number of Minor League teams have been cut from 162 to 120.

There will be a 40-man limit on roster size for Division I programs during the 2025 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.

The additional “counters” (scholarship athletes counting against the team scholarship limit) must be included in the maximum team limit of 11.7 scholarships and must be provided the minimum scholarship value of 25%.

Do you Have Questions About Your Athlete’s Remaining Eligibility in Any Sport?

If you have questions about your athlete’s remaining eligibility in any sport, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or at 913-766-1235.

A high school recruit entering college next Fall might be competing for playing time against athletes with four years of college experience who may still have 2 seasons of eligibility remaining.

Here’s why:

Many college rosters have been and still are overloaded with athletes who were granted an additional year of eligibility during the Pandemic.

During the 2020 calendar year, almost all college athletes were granted an additional year on their eligibility “clock” AND were not charged with one of their four seasons of playing eligibility, even if they played a full season.

That additional year applied to athletes at both two and four-year colleges in the Spring of the 2019-20 academic year and for Fall and Winter sport athletes who competed during Fall 2020 or began their season that semester.

  • This means that many Spring sport athletes (baseball, softball, lacrosse, etc.) who were freshmen on a college roster in the Spring 2020 semester may still have eligibility available for the 2024-25 academic year.
  • AND that freshmen Fall and Winter sport athletes during the 2020-21 academic year (football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, etc.) may still have TWO years of eligibility remaining after this year.

Over the past few months, I’ve received many calls from current college athletes (or parents) asking if it’s possible for them to have another year of eligibility because their recruitment or their early college seasons were negatively impacted.

This has led me to believe that it might be a good idea for some high school recruits to take a gap year after graduation to continue training in their sport while taking part-time college courses to get a start toward their college degree.

Do You Need Assistance?

If you’d like to have a confidential consultation about the possibility of a gap year for your athlete and factors that you may want to take into consideration, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consultation online, or by writing to rick@informedathlete.com.

Wednesday, February 7 is also the first date for high school seniors to sign an NJCAA Letter of Intent (LOI) with a junior college football program that is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. (All other NJCAA sports have their initial LOI signing date on November 1.)

It’s important to note that unlike the NCAA National Letter of Intent (NLI), an NJCAA LOI can be issued to a recruit even if no athletic scholarship is being provided to that recruit.

As a result, even though a recruit who signs an NJCAA LOI may not be receiving any athletic scholarship funding, the recruit is still committing themselves to attend that particular junior college for at least one full academic year.

Once a recruit has signed an NJCAA LOI, they can’t sign with or contact coaches at other NJCAA football programs about a possible transfer until the recruit has completed one full year of attendance at that junior college or is released from their LOI by that college.

If you or your athlete have questions or need assistance including reviewing your scholarship offer before you sign, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

Wednesday, February 7 is the first day of the “regular” National Letter of Intent signing period for NCAA Division I and II football recruits.

Although Division I football programs had an “early” signing period in December, this upcoming period will be the first opportunity for NCAA Division II football programs to sign high school recruits to a scholarship for next year.

This signing period is open through April 1 for Division I football programs but continues through August 1 for Division II programs.

If you have questions about the NCAA National Letter of Intent and how it affects your athlete or if you would like us to review your scholarship offer and National Letter of Intent before you sign:

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

The NCAA Division I Council approved a proposal that is intended to provide student-athletes with “protections” related to Name, Image, and Likeness activities. This becomes effective on August 1, 2024.

The four elements of this legislation are:

  • Voluntary registration for NIL service providers. The goal is to collect and publish information about service providers to help student-athletes make informed decisions about who to work with.
  • Disclosure requirements. Within 30 days after signing an NIL agreement, current student-athletes will be required to disclose information to their school related to agreements that exceed $600 in value. Recruits with NIL agreements will be required to disclose such information within 30 days of enrollment.
  • Standardized contracts. “The NCAA will work with schools to provide student-athletes … a template contract and recommended contract terms, to ensure student-athletes and their families make informed decisions about NIL agreements.”
  • Comprehensive NIL education. The NCAA “…will provide ongoing education and resources to support student-athletes…on policies, rules and best practices pertaining to NIL.”

If you have any questions, contact our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

An NCAA National Letter of Intent signing opportunity for high school or junior college football recruits opens on December 20.

For high school or junior college recruits offered a scholarship by an NCAA Division I football program (FBS or FCS) and planning to enroll next Fall, the first NLI signing opportunity is only available for 3 days from Dec. 20 to 22.

For current junior college football athletes planning to enroll at an NCAA Division I or II university in January, the NLI signing opportunity is from Dec. 20 through Jan. 15.

Another signing opportunity for football recruits to sign with an NCAA Division I or II program will open on Feb. 7 and will remain open until April 1 for Division I programs and until August 1 for Division II programs.

For questions about these signing opportunities or for questions about athletic scholarships in any sport, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

NCAA Division I baseball programs will continue with increased roster size and scholarship limits for the 2023-24 academic year in a somewhat similar manner to the way they have been impacted for the past three years.

The reasons for these increased limits include:

  • Many athletes still having an additional year of eligibility available as the result of the NCAA rulings related to the pandemic.
  • Major League Baseball reducing the size of the MLB Draft from 40 rounds to 20 rounds.
  • The decrease in the number of minor league teams from 162 to 120.

There will be a 40-man limit on roster size for Division I programs during the 2024 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.
  • The additional “counters” (scholarship athletes counting against the team scholarship limit) must be included in the maximum team limit of 11.7 scholarships and must be provided the minimum scholarship value of 25%.

If You Have Questions

About the scholarship rules in baseball or any other sport and how they could impact your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call our office at 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division I athletic programs can offer multiyear scholarships to prospects.

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 your student-athlete is being recruited by multiple Division I athletic programs, a multiyear scholarship from School A is generally a much better option compared to a one-year renewable scholarship from School B.

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.” They CANNOT take away a scholarship for these reasons:

  • A student-athlete’s athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success
  • Or any injury, illness or physical or mental health condition.

The Potential Downside:

We have been receiving increasing reports of multi-year scholarship agreements being issued to recruits that may provide a scholarship in the athlete’s first year at a Division I university (50% for example) and then 0% athletic aid in years two, three and four of the athlete’s eligibility.

These types of scholarship agreements are valid and are being issued by coaches because it gives the coach much more flexibility in managing their scholarship dollars.

HOWEVER, we believe these types of agreements place the athlete (and family) in a difficult position on account of:

  • The coach is not required to inform the athlete by July 1 whether the scholarship is being renewed for the next year. That’s because (whether we agree with it or not) the athlete and family should “assume” that there is no scholarship forthcoming after the first year.
  • Because a coach issuing this type of scholarship agreement is under no specific deadline to inform the student-athlete of his or her scholarship status for the next year, the student-athlete may feel forced to enter the Transfer Portal to try to find another scholarship opportunity elsewhere.
  • A Division I coach is allowed to increase a scholarship for a returning student-athlete at any time for any reason (within team scholarship limits). Therefore, the coach has the flexibility to manage his or her scholarship allotments (and to wait until mid to late summer to do so), but the athlete and family can’t properly plan if the coach isn’t communicating the scholarship status for the upcoming year in a timely manner.

My advice is to be aware and wary of these types of scholarship agreements.

If your athlete is in this situation and/or you have questions and would like to discuss how to navigate through scholarship agreements, we can help. Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

For current college athletes including:

  • Student-Athletes who hope to transfer from any four-year college to an NCAA Division II athletic program,
  • Current junior college athletes who were signed to an NJCAA Letter of Intent during the 2022-23 school year.

4-4 Transfers hoping to transfer to an NCAA D2 program:

For athletes currently at an NCAA school and who want to be eligible this Fall upon transfer to an NCAA D2 program:

  • June 15 is the deadline that the athlete must provide written notification to their current school that they want to be entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
  • If the student-athlete misses the June 15 deadline, they will lose out on the opportunity to be eligible for competition in their first year at an NCAA Division II program (unless a waiver is approved for the athlete to be eligible).

For 4-year college athletes who don’t have access to the NCAA Transfer Portal (such as current NAIA athletes):

  • Student-athletes should make sure they request written permission from their current school to be allowed to contact NCAA Division II programs about a possible transfer no later than June 15. The request should be sent to their current athletic department via email so that the request date can be verified if it becomes an issue.

NJCAA Letter of Intent signees:

For athletes who attended an NJCAA two-year college during the 2022-23 academic year as a Letter of Intent signee:

  • June 15 is the date by which notification of renewal of the athlete’s Letter of Intent for the 2023-24 academic year is supposed to be provided by their college.
  • An NJCAA athlete who isn’t signed to a second-year scholarship by June 15 (which is supposed to be in the form of a new Letter of Intent) becomes recruitable by any other NJCAA college starting on June 16.

High School Recruits

NCAA Division I

June 15th is the first date when most coaches at NCAA Division I programs can place recruiting phone calls and send emails/messages to athletes who have just completed their sophomore year of high school.

The following Division I sports are the only ones that have a date other than June 15 as the earliest date for placing recruiting calls and sending emails/messages to prospects:

  • Baseball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Women’s Basketball – June 1 at conclusion of sophomore year
  • Football – Sept. 1 of senior year except for one call from 4/15 to 5/31 of junior year
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – Jan. 1 of sophomore year
  • Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Softball – Sept. 1 of junior year

Football has an exception to the above date regarding emails sent to prospects. Those can be sent to prospects beginning September 1 of a prospect’s junior year in high school.

NCAA Division II

June 15th is the date when NCAA DII coaches in ALL sports can start to contact recruits who have completed their sophomore year of HS via phone, email, or direct messaging.

Division II coaches in all sports can also accept incoming calls and talk to prospects who call them at any time.

NOTE about the June 15 recruiting date: For any of you who may have requested and viewed our recruiting calendars for June and July, you’ll see change from June 14 to June 15 as to the classes of high school recruits who will be able to receive recruiting phone calls from NCAA Division I and Division II coaches.

Do you have questions or need objective advice?

For specific questions about the NCAA transfer or recruiting rules, or scholarship agreements and letters of intent, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Here are some tips and reminders for athletes who have already signed with a college sports program for the upcoming year, as well as for those who may currently be in the recruiting process.

NCAA DI

  • Coaches can offer one-year renewable athletic scholarships, or multi-year scholarships which are specifically written to cover multiple academic years. Be sure to note which type of offer your athlete is signing – especially if in their recruiting pitch they are saying that “your scholarship will not be reduced or cancelled as long as you maintain academic eligibility and don’t violate team rules or misconduct policies.” Too many coaches don’t honor their word.
  • For athletes who are in the position of having multiple colleges recruiting them and can “negotiate” a scholarship offer, a multi-year scholarship offer is obviously an advantage, but especially so at Division I universities that are NOT in one of the “Power Five” conferences.
  • A scholarship can only be reduced or cancelled “during the period of the award” under specific NCAA guidelines.
  • Athletes who were on an athletic scholarship the preceding academic year must be notified in writing not later than July 1 regarding the status of their scholarship for the following year.
  • A National Letter of Intent is not the same thing as a scholarship agreement issued by a university.

NCAA Division II

  • Coaches are not permitted to offer an athletic scholarship for more than one year at a time. They may say that the scholarship will be renewed each year, but there is no requirement that they do so since the rules specifically limit an athletic scholarship to no more than one year.
  • A scholarship can only be reduced or cancelled “during the period of the award” under specific NCAA guidelines.
  • Athletes who were on an athletic scholarship the preceding academic year must be notified in writing not later than July 1 regarding the status of their scholarship for the following year.
  • A National Letter of Intent is not the same thing as a scholarship agreement issued by a university.

NAIA

  • All forms of institutional financial aid received by a student-athlete count against the maximum team limit in their sport. However, aid provided to athletes with strong academic standing may be exempt from counting against team scholarship limits based on their academic performance. Those criteria vary between entering freshman and currently-enrolled athletes.

NJCAA

  • An NJCAA Letter of Intent is the same thing as a scholarship agreement IF a scholarship is offered.
  • An NJCAA Letter of Intent can be issued without an athletic scholarship.
  • A Letter of Intent from an NJCAA college is in effect from August 1 to July 31.
  • Renewal of a Letter of Intent for the following year must be given in the form of a new NJCAA Letter on or before June 15.
  • An athlete not given a second-year Letter of Intent by June 15 becomes recruitable by other NJCAA colleges on June 16.

If You Have Questions

For specific scholarship questions, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online, send an email to us at rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.