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.

June 15th is the date when coaches in most NCAA Division I sport programs will be able to initiate recruiting phone calls and 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 15th as the earliest date for placing recruiting calls and sending emails/messages:

  • Baseball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Women’s Basketball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Football – Sept. 1 of senior year except for one call between Apr. 15 – May 31 as a Jr.
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – Jan. 1 of sophomore year
  • Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Softball – Sept. 1 of junior year

For NCAA Division II programs, June 15th is the date when coaches in ALL sports can start to contact recruits who have completed their sophomore year via phone, email, or direct message services.

Here is a list of resources for recruits and their families:

Eligibility Issues – Not knowing, understanding and meeting the eligibility rules can have serious short and long-term consequences. Is your athlete on track to meet the eligibility requirements?
Recruiting Rules – A recruiting coach’s job is to sell their school in the best light possible. YOUR job as a recruit or parent of a recruit is to have as much accurate information as possible to make a decision based on what is the best fit for you!
Scholarship Strategies – Athletic Scholarships and Financial Aid agreements are NOT one-size fits all and they are not guaranteed. Is your athlete getting a good deal?

Do you have questions and need advice?

For questions about the NCAA recruiting rules and recruiting tips and advice, schedule a confidential Recruiting Rules or Scholarship Strategies Consultation to make sure your athlete is prepared for their recruitment and potential scholarship offers. You can also call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

When an NCAA DI head coaching change occurs, it frequently results in a change to a student-athlete’s scholarship status.

Sometimes the change happens immediately; in other cases it might occur long after the new head coach is hired and comes onboard.

Student-athletes who believe they are “safe” because they have a four-year “guaranteed scholarship” that cannot be reduced for athletic or medical reasons may be in for disappointment and frustration when a coaching change happens.

The NCAA Division I rule addresses the status of an athletic scholarship in this situation in Bylaw 15.5.1.7 “Aid After Departure of Head Coach.”  

Basically, this rule says that when a head coach who recruited and provided a scholarship to a DI student-athlete is replaced, the new head coach has the right to not invite an athlete back to the team the following year.  The athlete may, however, be given the right to stay at the school on scholarship until the athlete graduates with their degree.

The benefit of this rule for the athlete is that they can continue to receive their scholarship while working to complete their degree.  The benefit to the new coach is that the athlete’s scholarship won’t count against the team limit in that sport so the coach can use that scholarship to recruit another athlete.

Here’s the actual rule and subsections:

“NCAA Division I Bylaw 15.5.1.7 Aid After Departure of Head Coach. A student-athlete who receives athletically related institutional financial aid in subsequent academic years after the departure of a head coach from the institution is not a counter in a year in which he or she does not participate in intercollegiate athletics, provided:

(a) The student-athlete participated in the applicable sport and received athletically related institutional financial aid during the coach’s tenure at the institution; and

(b) The student-athlete does not participate in the applicable sport beyond the next regular academic year (including completion of the championship season in spring sports) after the departure of the head coach.

DIvision I Bylaw 15.5.1.7.1 Subsequent Participation. If the student-athlete subsequently participates in the applicable sport at the institution, the student-athlete shall become a counter for all years during which athletically related institutional aid was received.”

We’ve seen this rule used in two ways to the disadvantage of student-athletes – one way when they’re told about it and another way when they’re not told about it.

Situation 1 – The first way is when a new D1 head coach tells a student-athlete that he or she won’t be allowed to continue on the team but can continue at the school on scholarship until they graduate.

The original intention of this rule was to benefit student-athletes who are close to finishing their degree requirements and want to stay at their school in order to graduate – an athlete who values the scholarship to complete their degree over transferring to another school where they will have an opportunity to continue in their sport.

However, what is becoming more common is that some newly-hired head coaches will use this rule against sophomore and even freshman athletes so that the coach can “claw back” the value of an athlete’s scholarship and then recruit a new athlete for his or her roster.

In those cases, many athletes are choosing to transfer to continue competing in their sport rather than give up their goal of playing at the Division I level in order to complete their degree. We’ve helped a number of those athletes and families navigate a transfer to another university.

Situation 2 – Coaches and athletic departments notify the student-athlete that their athletic scholarship isn’t being renewed for the upcoming year and don’t inform the student-athlete about this rule.

This usually happens at schools on tight budgets that don’t want to fund a scholarship to allow the student-athlete to complete their degree – even if it’s the right thing to do for the student-athlete.

The school is hoping that the student-athlete won’t appeal the loss of their scholarship or will lose their appeal.

Do You Have Questions & Need Help?

If your athlete is in this tough situation, we understand the frustrations, concerns, and insecurities that you’re feeling.  In a confidential consultation, we will answer any questions you have and discuss specific options available so that you and your athlete can make a fully informed decision that’s in their best interest.

Schedule your confidential Scholarship Strategies consultation online or call 913-766-1235 to arrange a time that works best for you.

Starting June 15th NCAA Division I coaches in most sports and coaches of ALL Division II sports can initiate recruiting contact with 2023 HS Grads.

Those coaches will be permitted to make recruiting phone calls, send e-mails, instant messages, and text messages with high school athletes who have completed or will soon be completing their sophomore year.

The only Division I sports that have a date other than June 15 to initiate contact with 2023 HS graduates include:

  • January 1, 2021 – Men’s Ice Hockey
  • September 1, 2021 – Baseball, Women’s Basketball, Lacrosse and Softball (also Football for texts and emails, but for phone calls, see below)
  • April 15 to May 31, 2022 – Football can have one call per 2023 recruit in that period. Other phone calls to 2023 HS grads can’t begin until September 1, 2022.

High School athletes who will graduate in 2023 are allowed and encouraged to e-mail or text coaches prior to June 15 to let them know of your interest in their program. You can then start to gauge their level of interest in you if they initiate contact with you on or shortly after June 15.

Do You Need Help Navigating the Recruiting Rules?

If you have questions about anything related to the recruiting rules or scholarship strategies, Schedule a confidential Recruiting Rules Consultation session online, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.