Dropping a class before final exams can have a negative impact on your athletic eligibility and your scholarship!

In a recent blog post, I shared several things that an athlete should consider BEFORE they drop a class prior to final exams.


As I’ve mentioned before, the hardest thing I had to do when I worked on campus was to inform a student-athlete they weren’t eligible – it’s especially difficult knowing that many times something could be done to prevent the situation.

If you are or have an athlete who is struggling and considering dropping a class, please call us for an eligibility consult BEFORE taking action!  Schedule a personalized and confidential consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

In some sports, the NCAA National Letter of Intent Signing Period timeline is changing with the upcoming November 14th signing date. In the past, the Fall signing period was only one-week long and there was a separate Spring signing period in April.

Starting with this signing period, high-school athletes in all sports other than basketball and football will be able to sign an NLI any time between November 14th and next August 1st.

Signing periods for NCAA Basketball and Football are:

  • NCAA Division I Basketball early signing period is November 14 – November 21, 2018.
  • NCAA Division I Basketball regular signing period is April 17 2019 – May 15, 2019.
  • NCAA Division I Football early signing period is December 19 – December 21, 2018.
  • NCAA Division I & II mid-year signing period for JUCO Transfers is December 19 – January 15, 2019.
  • NCAA Division I  Football regular signing period is February 6 – April 1, 2019.
  • NCAA Division II Football regular signing period is February 6 – August 1, 2019.

Also, effective November 1, junior colleges that are members of the NJCAA can offer their NJCAA Letter of Intent to high school seniors in all sports other than Football.

For questions about the National Letter of Intent or about athletic scholarships in general, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or 913-766-1235.

The NCAA’s National Letter of Intent in all sports other than football can be signed beginning Wednesday, November 14.  Athletes being recruited by NJCAA two-year colleges can sign beginning November 1.

When an athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program, they are – in effect – signing a “contract” to attend that university for at least one full academic year in exchange for the university’s offer of an athletic scholarship.

If the athlete changes their mind and chooses to not attend that university, or doesn’t attend the university for at least one full academic year, they will be penalized a season of eligibility at another Division I or II program unless that athlete is:

  • Released from the NLI one-year commitment by the university that they signed with;
  • Granted a full release on appeal by the National Letter of Intent Appeal Committee; or
  • Attends a junior college and graduates from that junior college with an Associate’s Degree.

For those athletes or families who are preparing to sign the National Letter of Intent, here’s a link to an article that describes the difficulty that one athlete had in her transfer from one college to another after she decided to not attend the university with which she had signed her National Letter of Intent.

These situations don’t happen very often, but this article illustrates one of the downsides of signing a National Letter of Intent and how important it is to understand the rules regarding an NLI BEFORE you sign:


If you have questions about the National Letter of Intent and need assistance, schedule a confidential consult online or call our office at 913-766-1235.

Scholarships from high school booster or hometown civic clubs, or from a parent’s employer are considered by the NCAA as “Outside Scholarships.”

Outside scholarships may not be allowed if:

-the student-athlete’s participation in high school athletics or a club team was a major criteria for the award or

-the donor entity or organization has ties to the university that the student-athlete will be attending.

A student-athlete should verify with their university’s compliance office if a specific “outside scholarship” is permissible within the NCAA rules.

For more general information about scholarships, visit the Scholarship Strategies section on our website.

For questions about outside scholarships and whether your student-athlete can accept them, click on Scholarship Strategies Consult Options. If you prefer, contact us directly by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

This time of year we frequently get calls regarding student-athletes who are having second thoughts and want to de-commit from the college where they’ve signed an athletic scholarship or made a commitment to.

The most common reason that a student-athlete wants to de-commit from the school they signed with is because the coach that recruited them has left for a job at another school.

In these situations, we strongly advise the student-athlete to decide what they want to do BEFORE the semester starts.

There are a few important reasons for this:

  • If your student-athlete starts attending classes and then wants to leave, it could potentially cost thousands of dollars in withdrawal fees, dorm charges, etc.
  • Starting the semester and then withdrawing could also result in zero credit hours on their transcript for the semester.  This will damage their eligibility for the spring semester at their current college or at another college as a transfer student.
  • When a student-athlete starts attending classes, it triggers the start of their “five-year clock” if they are currently (or hope to be in the future) a Division I athlete.  If they are a DII or DIII athlete, it will be counted as using one of their 10 semesters of full-time enrollment.

If your student-athlete is wanting to de-commit and you’d like to discuss possible options and consequences, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

To learn more about confidential phone consults or email consults, click Scholarship Strategies Consult Options.


An NCAA Division I or II athlete who was on scholarship during the 2017-18 academic year must be notified no later than July 1 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.

If your athlete has been verbally informed by the coach that their scholarship is being reduced or won’t be renewed for next year, but has not yet received the official notice described above, 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:

– Athlete is verbally informed by the coach at the end of their season in May that their scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.

-But, the 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 to the athlete until late June.

-When the athlete receives the notice, he/she considers it for a couple of days, and now it’s early July when the athlete wants to request the appeal, but the campus is closed for the July 4th holiday.

-The university may have up to 30 days from receiving the athlete’s request for appeal in which to conduct the hearing (depending upon school policy), 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.

For NCAA Division I student-athletes who are currently on a multi-year scholarship or recruits who are considering a DI multi-year scholarship offer, here are 6 things you should know:

-NCAA Division I is the only level of college athletics that CAN offer a multi-year scholarship. While they can do so, very few Division I coaches and teams actually do offer multi-year scholarships. Many are prohibited from doing so by their athletic department policies.

-Always be sure to read the fine print on the back of the athletic scholarship agreement to understand the conditions under which a coach is allowed to either cancel the scholarship in the midst of the academic year or not renew it for the following year.

-Make sure your student-athlete shares any team or athletic department team rules and conduct policies so you are aware of the means by which a coach  may try to take away a scholarship if your athlete is not performing as expected.

-A scholarship that is touted by a coach as a multi-year scholarship, but provides NO scholarship in the first year, is NOT a valid multi-year scholarship.

-A multi-year scholarship may be renegotiated during the period of the scholarship award. BUT, the renegotiation must result in an increase in the total amount of the scholarship provided.

-If a proposed restructuring of a multi-year scholarship doesn’t result in an overall increase, it is not permissible.

If you have questions about multi-year and athletic scholarships and how they affect your student-athlete, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com to schedule a confidential consultation.

For high school student-athletes who plan to play a sport at an NCAA Division I or II university, it’s important to remember some key points if you receive a scholarship from your high school, local civic club, parent’s employer, or other organization.  Local organizations providing these scholarships should also keep these key points in mind.

The NCAA considers any financial aid for an athlete that comes from a source other than their family, or the college or university they are attending, to be “financial aid from outside sources.”

There are two categories of aid from outside sources:  “no relationship to athletics ability,” and “aid from an established and continuing program” to aid students.

Here are some key points regarding outside scholarships:

No relationship to athletics ability:
If a scholarship program, such as through a local civic club or through the business where an athlete’s parent is employed, requests or encourages an applicant to include their athletic participation or achievements as part of the application process, it can’t be classified in this category.  The organization that awards the scholarship may be asked to confirm that it did not consider athletics participation or achievements in selecting the athlete who is awarded the scholarship.

Financial aid from an established and continuing program to aid students:
If a scholarship program considers the athlete’s athletics participation and achievements among the criteria for awarding the scholarship, and especially if applicants or nominees are required to be an athlete in order to be considered for a scholarship, then that scholarship will automatically be considered to be in this category.

Student-athletes can accept scholarships from an organization in this situation without consequence, as long as the donor organization does not restrict the athlete’s choice of college he or she attends, and there can’t be a direct connection between the donor organization and the college. Otherwise, the scholarship would have to be counted toward the team scholarship limit in that sport, as if it were awarded to the athlete by the coaching staff.

Scholarships in this category should be sent to the financial aid office of the college the recipient will be attending so that the aid will be properly tracked for NCAA limits.

Athletes attending an NCAA Division I or II university will likely be asked to indicate on a form for their athletic department whether they are the recipient of an outside scholarship.  In addition, the awarding organization may be asked to provide a copy of their application or nomination form and a list of criteria for the scholarship.

If you have questions about the application of the rules on outside financial aid awards or other questions about athletic scholarships, call Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

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.