While some people believe that all college athletes who receive athletic scholarships receive “full-ride” scholarships, the truth is that athletes in the majority of college sports programs receive only “partial” athletic scholarships.

A “full” athletic scholarship covers the following costs of college:  tuition, certain course-related fees, room and board, and the value or provision of books.

A “partial” athletic scholarship will cover only a portion of those expenses. An athletic scholarship may not cover all student fees, and also may not cover things like parking fines, a single room in the dorm, library fines or late fees, etc.

In NCAA Division I, the following sports are “head-count” sports:  men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s gymnastics, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.

All other Division I sports, as well as all Division II sports, are “equivalency” sports.  In equivalency sports, coaches can divide their scholarships up as they desire, as they long as they do not exceed the total allowable scholarship value available in their sport.  A few examples in Division I are baseball with 11.7, softball with 12, and wrestling with 9.9 scholarships.  One athlete on the team may be provided with the cost of tuition, a second athlete on the team may be provided with room and board, and a third athlete on the team may only be provided the value or use of books.

Any student-athlete who receives any amount of athletic financial aid is considered a “counter” per NCAA rules.  Once a student-athlete is considered a “counter” there are situations in which other types of financial aid may be required to be “counted” as athletic financial aid.
Any scholarships that a student-athlete will be receiving from groups such as a Rotary or Kiwanis club, a church youth group, or a high school booster club should be sent to the financial aid office of the college the student-athlete is attending. Most of these scholarships are permissible, but should be sent directly to the college so they can be processed properly.

In addition, if a Division I student-athlete also receives an academic scholarship from their college or university due to their high school GPA or their ACT or SAT test score, the fact that they are already an NCAA “counter” may affect the value or receipt of their academic scholarship.
Once a Division I student-athlete is a “counter” all other financial aid received from their institution is required to “count” as if it is an athletic scholarship, unless the student-athlete qualifies for an exemption based on the level of their GPA, their class rank, or their ACT or SAT test score.

If you have questions regarding financial aid or scholarship offers and how they might affect your situation, schedule a private, confidential consultation by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com  

We are getting quite a few calls and e-mails this week from college athletes and/or their parents who have been told their athletic scholarship won’t be renewed for next year, or who are considering a transfer to another college for more playing time or a “better fit.” 

For a consultation to discuss your rights regarding your scholarship or for guidance regarding a possible transfer, contact Informed Athlete by email at rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235 before taking that next step.

If An NCAA Division I or II student-athlete has been on an athletic scholarship during the 2017-18 year, they must be notified no later than July 1st if their scholarship will be reduced or not renewed for the 2018-19 academic year.
The official notification must come from the university’s financial aid office, and must include information about the opportunity to appeal the reduction or cancellation.

While the rules do give coaches and athletic departments until July 1 to make their final decisions, most coaches will inform student-athletes on athletic scholarships during end-of-the-year or end-of-the-season one-on-one meetings.

If your athlete has been verbally informed by the coach that their athletic scholarship is being reduced or won’t be renewed for next year, I suggest that you request information about the hearing opportunity as soon as possible.
Otherwise, if you wait to receive the official notification from the financial aid office, you could be waiting until near the end of July before a campus committee hears your appeal.

Here’s an example of how much delay could occur if you wait to request a hearing opportunity:

  • Student-Athlete is verbally informed by the coach at the end of their season in early May that their athletic scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.
  • But, the student-athlete is waiting for the written notification, and assumes that it may come after final exams, so doesn’t act on the word from the coach. The official notice actually isn’t sent until late June.
  • When the student-athlete receives the notice, he/she considers it for a couple of days, and now it’s early July when the student-athlete wants to request the appeal, but the campus is closed for the July 4th holiday.
  • The university has up to 30 days from receiving the student-athlete’s request for appeal in which to conduct the hearing, so it’s now late July or early August before the hearing takes place and a ruling is determined.

Obviously, not much time to plan for the 2018-19 school year!!!
Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have questions about scholarship reductions or non-renewals.

An NCAA Division I scholarship rule, which was implemented last year, applies specifically when there has been a coaching change during the current academic year or leading into the new academic year.

In this situation, a student-athlete can continue on scholarship at their Division I university to complete their degree even if the new coach doesn’t invite them back next season and if they choose not to transfer.

With calls we’re getting, this rule is apparently being used in ways that were not intended, and you need to be aware of this if you find yourself in this situation.

Some Division I coaches, when newly hired, are taking advantage of this rule to remake their rosters. They will tell athletes “Hey, you can continue to go to school here on scholarship until you receive your degree, but you no longer have a spot on the team and will never play here.”

We can provide a confidential consultation to discuss your options if this happens to you or someone you know. Send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

I have received several calls regarding coaches at Power Five universities (those in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and PAC-12, plus Notre Dame), telling student-athletes that their athletic scholarships aren’t being renewed for next year.
Here are some key points to keep in mind if this situation could apply to you:

  • If you received an athletic scholarship in your first year attending a Power Five university (and if the scholarship was signed after January of 2015), a coach is limited in their ability to take away your scholarship.
  • The coach can’t take the scholarship away if you have an injury or illness impacting your ability to compete in your sport, and they can’t take the scholarship away just because you didn’t perform in your sport up to their expected standards.
  • However, the coach CAN take away your scholarship if you’ve lost your academic eligibility, had a student misconduct issue, or have violated team or athletic department rules or policies.

A student-athlete needs to be very careful that they have not violated a team or athletic department rule or a school conduct policy.  If a coach at a Power Five university wants to cancel your athletic scholarship, this is the most likely way for them to do so, other than just telling you that you won’t see playing time if you stay, and then hoping you will choose on your own to transfer to another university.

If your student-athlete has been verbally informed by the coach that their athletic scholarship is being reduced or won’t be renewed for next year, I suggest that you contact your compliance director to request information about the hearing opportunity as soon as possible.

Because each student-athlete’s situation most likely has some unique circumstances involved, we can provide a confidential phone consultation to discuss non-renewals and options to consider including your rights in such a situation and assisting with preparation for a hearing.

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com to schedule a confidential consultation.

So, your NCAA DI coach was fired or resigned – how does this affect your athletic scholarship?  There is a new Division I rule for an athletic scholarship after the departure of a head coach.

In that situation, it often happens that a new coach will cut players from the team or will tell them that “you can continue on the team, but don’t expect to get much playing time” in an effort to coerce them to transfer.

For a student-athlete who may want to stay at the same school on scholarship to finish their degree and graduate from that university, there is a new rule that allows them to stay on scholarship the following year(s) and that scholarship will not count against team limits.

HOWEVER, the downside to this new rule is that for the scholarship to NOT count against team limits, the athlete must give up participation in their sport.

If you are an NCAA Division I student-athlete whose coach has been fired or resigned, and you have not been informed about this new rule, contact us for a consultation to discuss scholarship strategies.

If your athlete is being recruited by an NAIA college, it’s important to know that there are few standard regulations that are imposed on all NAIA colleges across the country regarding the awarding of athletic scholarships

What does this mean for you?

– Any policies addressing the awarding or cancellation of an NAIA athletic scholarship are determined by each individual college.

– Unlike the NCAA rules, the NAIA rules do not include provisions that prevent a coach from taking an athlete’s scholarship for medical reasons or that require the opportunity for an appeal hearing if a coach wants to cancel an athlete’s scholarship.

– The NAIA financial aid guidelines only speak to the fees and other charges that can be covered by an NAIA college when providing a scholarship.  They do not include such points as a date when an athlete must be informed if their scholarship is not being renewed for the following year, or the conditions under which a coach can cancel an athlete’s scholarship in the middle of the academic year.

Be sure that you ask the coach about his or her scholarship policies (and those of the athletic department) and review written college policies regarding NAIA athletic scholarships when considering an NAIA school.

If you have questions about NAIA athletic scholarships, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

In 2015, the NCAA Division I “Power 5” Schools implemented a rule that has the effect of “protecting” Division I student-athletes from having their athletic scholarship cancelled or not renewed for any athletics reason.  Quite simply, a coach cannot take away a scholarship for poor athletic performance.

Here are several facts about this rule:
– This new rule was voted in by the universities of the “Power 5” conferences – the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, and SEC, as well as Notre Dame. This rule must be followed by these 65 universities.
Other Division I schools and conferences can choose to follow this rule, but are not required to do so. So, an athlete receiving an athletic scholarship from a university that is NOT one of the 65 mentioned here might still receive a one-year scholarship which a coach can choose not to renew for the following academic year.
– The “protection” provided by this rule only applies to athletes who signed their National Letter of Intent and scholarship agreement after the new rule was approved in January of this year (at the NCAA Convention), will be enrolling in a Division I university as a freshman or new transfer this Fall, AND who will be receiving an athletic scholarship in their first year of enrollment.
– The rule will NOT apply to athletes who are not receiving an athletic scholarship in their first year of enrollment at their university. (Example: a volleyball player not receiving an athletic scholarship in their freshman year, but promised one in the following three years, will not receive the protection of this new rule.)
– It is still possible for universities to cancel or choose to not renew a scholarship for  reasons that are NOT related to athletic performance.

Cancellation or non-renewal 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; or
  • 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).

Despite this rule, there will still be some Division I coaches who want to take away the scholarship of an athlete who is not performing as well as the coach anticipated during the recruiting process.
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 have questions about the rules regarding athletic scholarships, or about recruiting rules, academic eligibility or transfer requirements, contact Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 or send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com.