Now that most Spring sport seasons have concluded, many coaching changes will be taking place.

For Division I athletes, a change in head coach may result in a change to an athlete’s scholarship situation – even in a situation where your athlete has a four-year “guaranteed” scholarship that can’t be reduced for athletic or medical reasons.

When a Division I university hires a new head coach, he or she may tell athletes currently on the team that they can continue attending their university until they graduate, but they won’t be allowed to play for or even be a member of that team in their remaining years.

This rule was originally intended to benefit athletes who were near the completion of their degree and were more interested in staying at their university to graduate than if they were to instead transfer to continue playing if a new coach were to cut them from the team.

However, we are seeing some newly hired head coaches use this rule against even freshman athletes who may have redshirted during their first year. In that case, many athletes will choose to transfer rather than give up their goal of playing at their current school in order to complete their degree.

Do you Need Advice?

If your athlete has been put in this situation and would like to discuss the options that they can consider to be fully informed and not make a rash decision, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us via e-mail at rick@informedathlete.com or call our office at 913-766-1235.

We’ve consulted recently with families regarding situations in which their athlete has been dismissed or suspended from a team with little to no explanation as to why they were removed from their team.

While these situations are certainly unfortunate and appear unfair, decisions as to who a coach keeps on their roster are left to the discretion of the coach by most athletic directors. If a coach removes an athlete from their team, the athlete may have no choice but to transfer to another school.

However, if an athlete is receiving an athletic scholarship, the NCAA rules limit the ability of a coach or athletic department to cancel the scholarship in the middle of the academic year.

Mid-year cancellation of a scholarship is only possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled 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,
  • Violates an athletic department or team rule or policy.

Also, an NCAA Division I athlete entering the Transfer Portal could possibly lose their scholarship at midyear.

My advice to athletes and parents:

Review very carefully any athletic department or university rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation of an athletic scholarship.

If your athlete is concerned about their scholarship being taken away mid-year, schedule a confidential scholarship consultation online with me to discuss the situation and options your athlete may have.

The NCAA Division I Council recently approved and adopted revisions to rules specific to the sport of men’s wrestling which “…are intended to help all men’s wrestling student-athletes achieve an academic foundation during their initial year of college, while also helping to provide financial and well-being support.”

These changes impact the NCAA Division I rules for men’s wrestling regarding scholarships, the use of a season of competition and participation in outside competition.

Changes to competition rules effective with this current 2022-23 academic year:

NCAA DI Men’s wrestling student-athletes who are in their first year of college enrollment:

  • Will be allowed to compete in up to 5 dates of competition for their university without being charged with the use of a season of competition.
  • Will not be allowed to compete as an “unattached” wrestler or as a member of an outside amateur team during their first full-time term of college enrollment.
  • Will also be required to have a GPA of at least 2.000 at the beginning of each term of enrollment to be eligible for competition during that term. This rule applies regardless of whether the athlete will be representing their university in competition or will be participating in outside competition.

Each wrestler’s GPA requirement can be satisfied by having a cumulative GPA of at least 2.000 at the start of each academic term or by having earned a GPA of at least 2.000 during the preceding academic term.

Change to scholarship rules for those enrolling in Fall 2023:

  • High school seniors or junior college recruits who will have an opportunity to sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I wrestling program will be interested to know that there is now a 20% minimum scholarship equivalency required for those first enrolling at a four-year institution on or after August 1, 2023. Wrestling becomes the second Division I equivalency sport to require a minimum scholarship value (after baseball).
  • For any Division I institutions that award athletic scholarships based solely on demonstrated financial need, their wrestling program will not be required to provide a scholarship value that is at least 20% of a full scholarship.

Need Advice?

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online or by calling 913-766-1235 if you have questions about these new rules.

Here’s a summary of current and upcoming NCAA and NJCAA signing dates:

November 1, 2022

  • NJCAA Letter of Intent signing opportunity begins November 1 for all sports except football.

November 9, 2022

  • High school seniors and junior college recruits in all sports other than Football can sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II university beginning November 9.

December 21, 2022

  • Football recruits can sign a National Letter of Intent to an NCAA Division I university beginning December 21.

February 1, 2023

  • The initial signing date for NCAA Division II or NJCAA football programs is Febuary 1, 2023.

Click Here to get Informed Athlete’s National Letter of Intent detailed Info Sheet for NCAA programs (Division I, II, and III) as well as the NAIA and NJCAA colleges.

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

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

If so, have you read through the agreement to know the conditions under which it can be reduced or cancelled? It’s important to review 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?

I recently consulted with parents who did not have a copy of their son’s scholarship agreement. They were unaware of an athletic department policy that was in place and resulted in their son’s scholarship being revoked.

We realize that it could be an uncomfortable conversation if you need to ask the coach or athletic department for a copy of the agreement.

However, 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, it is important to know your athlete’s rights if they are told that the school won’t be able to provide their scholarship.

We recently consulted with a dad who told us that his son, who had signed a Letter of Intent with a major Division I baseball program, was told just 10 days before he was to enroll at the college that they were NOT going to be able to provide his scholarship.

The reasoning (or excuse!) explained by the coach was that they had returning players who weren’t drafted as they expected, and they now needed to give scholarships to those guys instead.

Would it have been uncomfortable for this young athlete to tell the coach “I signed your scholarship agreement, and I’m going to honor my commitment and enroll at your school this Fall?” Yes, absolutely!

This athlete would have been fully entitled to receive the scholarship that was formally offered and accepted as long as he was certified as an NCAA Qualifier and satisfied the admission requirements of that university.

If you have questions about your student-athlete’s scholarship, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, or contact us for further information at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

With fall sport practices starting recently at many colleges, and classes starting soon, here’s a sample of some of the questions we’ve received recently:

  • I’ve started practice with my college team, but I’m not sure this is the right fit for me and I’m thinking about leaving. When does my eligibility “clock” start?
  • Will I be considered a transfer athlete if I leave this team after starting practices at this college?
  • My new coach just informed me that I likely won’t receive any playing time this season. Do I have any options to transfer at this late date? Also, is there any way I can “protect” my scholarship for this year, or at least part of the year?
  • I just learned that I may not be able to be eligible at my new college this year because I don’t have enough transferable credit hours. Do I have any options for a waiver at this point?

If you or your athlete have questions like these, we can discuss your specific situation, answer your questions, and explain what options might be possible.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult, a Transfer Consult, or a Scholarship Strategies Consult online at one of these links. Don’t worry about whether you’re choosing the correct category of consultation. Regardless of which category you choose, we’ll be sure to confidentially answer your questions and explain what options your athlete can consider.

You can also contact us directly by calling our office at 913-766-1235 or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

June 15th is an important date for some college athletes as well as for many high school recruits.

Let’s first review the situations for which June 15 can be important for current college athletes.

It can be important for those who hope to transfer from any four-year college to an NCAA Division II athletic program, as well as for current junior college athletes who were signed to an NJCAA Letter of Intent during the 2021-22 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 by which the athlete must provide written notification to their current school that they want to be entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal. If such an athlete doesn’t provide written notification to their current school by June 15, they will lose out on the opportunity to be eligible for competition in their first year at an NCAA Division II program.

For 4-year college athletes who don’t have access to the NCAA Transfer Portal (such as current NAIA athletes), those 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. Such a request should be sent to their current athletic department via email so that the date of the request can be verified if it becomes an issue.

NJCAA Letter of Intent signees:

For athletes who attended an NJCAA two-year college during the 2021-22 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 2022-23 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.

June 15th can also be an important date for High School recruits

High School recruits in many sports can begin to receive direct recruiting communication from NCAA Division I and Division II coaches as outlined below.

NCAA Division I recruiting information:

June 15 is the first date when most NCAA Division I coaches will be able to 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 does have 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 recruiting information:

For recruiting by NCAA Division II colleges, June 15 is the date when 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.

For specific questions about the NCAA transfer or recruiting rules, or scholarship agreements and letters of intent, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913- 766-1235.

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.