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.

We often hear college athletes and parents tell us that their coach isn’t honoring their promise of a “guaranteed” scholarship or an increasing scholarship that was given by the coach when the athlete was being recruited.

Furthermore, we also hear too frequently that a coach will tell an athlete:

“I need to reduce your scholarship because your performance isn’t justifying the scholarship that we’ve given you.”

The NCAA Division I and II scholarship rules specify conditions under which a coach is permitted to cancel an athlete’s scholarship or to not renew it for the following year(s).

The most common conditions that are permitted include:

  • When an athlete becomes academically ineligible.
  • When an athlete has been involved in a student misconduct situation or has violated a team or athletic department rule.
  • When an athlete enters the NCAA Transfer Portal. (Although in this situation, the scholarship must be allowed to continue through the end of the semester or quarter in which the athlete entered the Portal.)

NCAA Division I and II coaches are not permitted to reduce an athlete’s scholarship based on athletic performance or contribution to the team’s success during the “term of the award” (whether it’s a one-year scholarship or a multi-year scholarship).

Even in situations when a coach is not permitted to reduce an athlete’s scholarship, a coach may still tell an athlete “We can’t continue you on scholarship given your performance. You need to agree to a reduction in scholarship or you’ll need to transfer.”

There is no fool-proof way to prevent this from happening, but we suggest this:

  • When making an official or unofficial visit to a campus, try to talk with current players on the team to ask them if the coach has a history of reducing scholarships or forcing athletes to transfer.
  • Also, keep in mind that coaches will usually arrange to have recruits talk with current players who they know will say only positive things about the program.
  • Try to connect with an athlete who isn’t getting much playing time and ask if they feel that they’re being treated fairly. Ask them if they feel like the walk-ons are being treated equally to the scholarship athletes.

Do You Need Advice?

If you have questions about scholarships and about the rights that an athlete has when a coach is threatening to cancel a scholarship, schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

We’ve recently been contacted by some athletes who have been told by their NCAA Division I head coach that their scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.

Others have told us that their coach is telling them that they should transfer and that “we’ll help you with your transfer to another school.”

We encourage athletes and families to consider their possible options and not react too quickly to such news. Reacting too quickly without knowing your options may place you in an even worse position.

For example: If a Division I coach is telling your athlete that they aren’t renewing their scholarship for next year, what they might NOT be saying is that the athlete has the right to appeal that decision to the campus Financial Aid Appeal Committee.

However, if the athlete enters the Transfer Portal before the hearing takes place, the athlete may be forfeiting their right to request an appeal hearing. That’s because the university has the right to terminate the scholarship of an athlete who enters the Transfer Portal at the end of the semester in which the athlete enters the Portal.

Do You Need Help?

If you would like to discuss the rights and options that an athlete can consider when their scholarship is being threatened, 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.

We’ve had an increasing number of families contact us to ask whether their athlete should consider “opting out” from their spring season and what it means if they do.

The answer can be different depending on a number of factors. Those factors include:

  • The level of college that your athlete attends (NCAA D1, D2, D3, etc.).
  • Is the athlete receiving an athletic scholarship?
  • Has the Spring sport season started for your athlete?
  • If the season has started, has your athlete appeared in a game for their team yet?
  • Does your athlete want to continue at their same college next year, or are they planning to transfer?

For a confidential discussion of the Opt-Out rules and how your student-athlete might be able to benefit from them, schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

The Spring semester has started or will be starting soon at most colleges across the country. This is a good opportunity to remind our readers about the current rules and waivers that are in effect regarding seasons of competition and eligibility.

I’ve summarized the information by level and broken it down by Spring Sports and Fall Sports.

As you review the information, please keep in mind that the rules and/or waivers that have been approved are likely different for the traditional Spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, etc.) as compared to those that have been approved for traditional Fall sports that will now be competing this Spring (volleyball, soccer, etc.).

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online.

NCAA Division I Current Rulings

NCAA Division I student-athletes in Fall or Winter sports who are eligible to compete during their season will not be charged with a season of competition used, regardless of the number of contests or dates of competition that they appear in.

For Division I student-athletes in Spring sports, the NCAA has not issued any guidance at this point in time. I’m sure that the Division I leaders don’t want to further “clog up” and overload their Spring sport rosters in the next year or two by giving Spring athletes a 2nd free season of eligibility.

Therefore, I believe that Division I Spring sport athletes should move forward under the assumption that any appearance in a game this Spring for their team will be counted as using one of their permissible seasons of competition.

NCAA Division II Season of Competition Waiver Status

The NCAA Division II Management Council has granted blanket waivers for Fall and Winter sport student-athletes to receive an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

DII Fall and Winter sport athletes will receive these waivers regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year AS LONG AS they are eligible for competition.

Waivers for an additional season of competition and an additional year of eligibility are also possible for Division II Spring sport athletes.

HOWEVER, the rules regarding a waiver for Spring are different.

For Spring sport athletes to qualify for these waivers, they must be eligible to compete and the individual athlete and their team must not participate in more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests or dates of competition.

If a Division II team or individual student-athlete does participate in more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions, those athletes will be charged with a season of competition used and a term (or terms) of enrollment toward their 10 semester or 15 quarter limit if the athlete appeared in a contest.

NCAA Division III Waiver for ALL Current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL eligible D3 student-athletes this year. These student-athletes can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

An important factor to note is that a Division III athlete can receive these waivers as long as the athlete is or was eligible for competition during at least one term of the 2020-21 academic year.

NAIA Season of Competition Waiver Status

The current status of waivers for NAIA student-athletes happens to be the same as for NCAA Division II student-athletes described above.

NAIA Fall and Winter sport student-athletes will be able to receive a waiver regardless of the number of contests that they compete in, as long as they are academically eligible for competition.

Spring sport athletes will only receive a waiver if they and their team compete in no more than 50% of the maximum number of contests in that particular sport.

NJCAA Will Not Count 2020-21 Sport Seasons

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow student-athletes in ALL sports – Fall, Winter, and Spring – to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for NJCAA athletes to know that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to an NCAA or an NAIA four-year college.

For questions about the rules and requirements for transfer eligibility from a two-year college to a four-year program, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

CCCAA Spring Participation Plan

The California Community College Athletic Association has not issued any updates on their website regarding waivers or season participation plans since July 9, 2020. Their sport participation plan is that all sport seasons will take place this Spring.

The following sports were scheduled to begin organized practices on Monday, January 18 with competition beginning in early February:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Women’s Golf
  • Soccer
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Remaining CCCAA sports are scheduled to begin organized practices on March 27 with the first date of competition in those sports being April 10.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online if you’d like information and assistance specific to your student-athlete’s situation.

On February 3rd, high school and junior college football players will have an opportunity to sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II football program.

While NCAA Division I football programs already had an “early” signing period in December, February 3 will mark the first opportunity to recruits to sign with a Division II football program.

Should your student-athlete sign with a school or take a Gap Year?

Considering that college football programs at all levels may be crowded next Fall with almost all football athletes from this current year being granted an additional season of eligibility, should your athlete sign with a school and enroll next Fall, or should they consider taking a gap year?

Below is a link to an article we wrote last Fall about this issue if you missed it. You may want to also keep in mind that at the Division I level, coaches in ALL sports are still in a recruiting Dead Period which prevents campus visits and face-to-face interaction with coaches until at least April 15.

https://informedathlete.com/should-your-recruited-athlete-sign-an-ncaa-national-letter-of-intent/

Do Need Advice?

If you have questions and need objective advice, schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult. We will discuss options available to your student-athlete so you can make an informed decision.