The NCAA Division I Council has voted to permit all NCAA Division I spring sport student-athletes to treat this season as a redshirt year.

  • Spring sport student-athletes who would have exhausted their college eligibility this spring will also have the opportunity to return next year for another season if they so choose.
  • However, the Council did NOT grant another season of eligibility for Division I winter sport student-athletes since those teams were able to compete through their regular season.

Flexibility Options for Funding Scholarships

The Council provided scholarship flexibility options for NCAA DI programs due to potential funding concerns. Many schools have already committed scholarship funds to recruits who will be enrolling next Fall.

This flexibility will only apply to spring sport student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility this season.

  • They will be allowed to receive a scholarship next year that won’t count against their overall team limit.
  • Also, coaches will not be required to provide an athletic scholarship at the same level that a student-athlete received this year.
  • In the sport of baseball, which is the only spring sport that has a mandated roster limit (35), teams will be permitted to exceed that roster limit by the number of athletes returning who would have exhausted their eligibility this season.

Impact on Transfer Athletes

So far, Division I has not clearly stated if they will honor an additional season of eligibility for an athlete who transfers from another university after having received another season where they were. I expect that they will do so just as Division II is doing (NCAA Division II Eligibility COVID-19 Update) but that hasn’t been specifically stated at this point.

Do You Need Help?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com to arrange a confidential consultation session if you’d like to discuss your athlete’s options, or schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult online.

This has obviously been a shocking week as the tremendous impact of the coronavirus continues to unfold. We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about the impact on the eligibility of college student-athletes as their sport seasons are being cancelled – in some cases right before or even during a game (Big East Conference basketball tournament)!!

What I Believe and Know Right Now

I do believe it’s quite possible that the NCAA and NAIA will grant a “blanket waiver” for student-athletes to have an additional season of eligibility if their season has been completely cancelled. However, that may depend upon how many games have been played and whether the season is completely cancelled or is “suspended” until further notice.

I was told yesterday that some smaller colleges were apparently “suspending the season indefinitely” but might return to play for the last 3 or 4 weeks of the season. They announced at that time that they may resume the season if they return to classroom instruction after a few weeks. In a case like that, I’m not sure what the NCAA will do.

In fact, as I was writing this I saw a tweet that “…no decision has been made yet by the SEC about the baseball season after March 30, despite the NCAA announcement to cancel the College World Series.”

Potential Impact on Athletic Scholarships

Let’s start with this underlying assumption (although I can’t guarantee that the NCAA and NAIA will treat this situation as I expect):

If an athlete meets the standard guidelines and conditions for a “regular” hardship waiver, I expect that the NCAA will grant those athletes another season of eligibility.

As a reminder, those conditions are that an athlete hasn’t appeared in more than 30% of their team’s games, hasn’t appeared in a game after the midpoint of the season, and wasn’t able to complete their season due to “circumstances beyond their control.”

But then if another season of eligibility is granted to a large number of athletes from a team, we have the ripple effect with questions such as:

  • How will that impact NCAA or NAIA scholarship limits in baseball and all other spring sports?
  • If scholarship players who the coach thought would be finishing their eligibility this year are able to return for another year, does he or she renew their scholarship?
  • Or do they tell some incoming freshman that their scholarship isn’t going to be available because of too many current players returning?? (After all, an NCAA National Letter of Intent signed by a recruit is a contract that basically means “I have the right to receive the scholarship value that was listed in the agreement I signed with your university as long as I am admissible to your university and meet all NCAA eligibility requirements.”)

What I’ve Learned from NCAA and NAIA So Far

There are obviously many unknowns about this situation. This situation has been described by some as “very fluid” with some changes being announced within hours of a previous announcement.

As I’m writing this, here is an excerpt from a recent statement from the NCAA legislative staff:

“…questions have related to a wide range of regulations including eligibility, membership requirements and student-athlete benefits.

Most importantly, conferences and institutions are encouraged to make decisions and take action in the best interests of their student-athletes and communities. Conferences and institutions should not be concerned about the application of NCAA legislation when decisions are being made in response to COVID-19.”

In my opinion, that statement means that we all need to be patient because the NCAA will be considering many factors and won’t be making quick decisions on these questions.

Also, my contacts at the NAIA national office told me:

We have to meet with our governing bodies to begin discussing any exceptions that may occur due to these circumstances. We will have phone calls starting tomorrow afternoon and I’m sure they will move into next week. Not sure when we will be able to share any news.”

Advice to Consider

  • Be sure that your athlete maintains their focus on their academic coursework to ensure that they have a chance to be eligible next year. While some athletes may become depressed or lose focus on their academics as a result of losing their season, if they don’t successfully complete their classes this semester, it can damage their eligibility for next year.
  • Some bedrock NCAA and NAIA rules won’t change if your athlete returns for an extra season next year. For one, they will need to be taking a full-time course load to be eligible for practice and competition next year. Will they be willing and able to pay for another year of college if they’ve already graduated and were originally planning to start their post-college life?
  • Because many colleges are moving classes online, make sure that your athlete takes steps to save all of their assignments and can track when an assignment or test was submitted. The last problem you want them to have is an eligibility issue because the professor didn’t receive a test or assignment by the required deadline or didn’t receive it at all.
  • In the very unlikely anticipation that schools might possibly “wipe out” their stats for this season, you may want to take a screenshot or photo of the team’s stat sheet on the athletic website to record how many games your athlete appeared in and how many total games were played by the team this season in case that’s needed for a waiver to get another year of eligibility.
  • A “blanket waiver” issued by the NCAA or NAIA will apply to all student-athletes who fall within the guidelines and requirements of the conditions stated in such a waiver.
  • For waivers that are specific to a particular student-athlete when their situation doesn’t fall under a “blanket waiver” the student-athlete will need their university to submit the waiver to the NCAA or NAIA on their behalf.
  • Follow the social media page(s) for your school’s athletic compliance office as they will be posting updates for student-athletes at that particular college. (By the way, you can follow us on Twitter @InformedAthlete or on our Facebook page.)
  • If an athlete is currently attending a junior college and receives a waiver for an additional year of eligibility from the NJCAA or the CCCAA, be aware that such a waiver may not be automatically honored by the NCAA (or NAIA) when a junior college athlete transfers to an NCAA or NAIA program. For example, academic eligibility at an NCAA program often depends in part upon the number of semesters that an athlete attended a junior college as a full-time student.

What’s Next

While it could be days or even weeks before we start to receive some definite guidance from the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA, we will be happy to provide as much advice as we can for those of you who are interested in a confidential consultation.

In a private consultation, we will discuss your athlete’s specific situation and provide options and scenarios so you’ll be informed and ready to move forward as things play out.

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Consultation online or by calling us at 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

With the changes to the NCAA Division I transfer rules that have been implemented over the last 18 months, starting with the introduction of the Transfer Portal starting in October 2018 and continuing through to recent changes, some student-athletes have assumed that they can transfer and “automatically” be eligible to compete in their first year of attendance at another university.

Student-athletes who are or have been on an athletic scholarship at their previous school must remember that in order to use the One-Time Transfer Exception, or to receive a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible, it is necessary that the previous school not have an objection to the student-athletes’ transfer.

Also, even for those student-athletes who have never received an athletic scholarship, there are certain academic requirements that they must satisfy to be eligible for competition in their first year of attendance at another university.

Do you Need Assistance?

Schedule a confidential consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com to understand ALL the things your student-athlete should be aware of before considering a transfer to another university.

The NCAA Division I Transfer Waiver Working Group recently announced that they will likely propose a change to the Division I transfer waiver considerations.

If adopted by the Division I Council in April, scholarship athletes in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, and men’s ice hockey will essentially be able to use the One-Time Transfer Exception to be immediately eligible at their new university.

Currently, scholarship athletes in the Division I sports noted above can’t use the One-Time Transfer Exception that is available to student-athletes in all other sports. However, they can still seek waivers for immediate eligibility when they transfer due to “…extenuatlng and extraordinary circumstances.”

The Transfer Waiver Working Group noted that the large number of waivers being processed has “…strained the waiver process” hence the proposed change to the waiver criteria.

If adopted, such transfer waivers could be approved as long as the transferring student-athlete:

  • Receives a transfer release from their previous university,
  • Leaves their previous university while academically eligible,
  • Meets the academic requirements to maintain their academic progress at their new university, and
  • Is not under disciplinary suspension when they leave their previous university.

There are a couple of key points to keep in mind.

  • First, a student-athlete’s previous university will need to provide a transfer release as noted above. The university will still have the right to object to an athlete’s transfer. If they do so, they will be required to offer an opportunity for an appeal to the student-athlete.
  • Second, the Transfer Waiver Working Group will be seeking feedback from Division I student-athlete representatives, coaches associations, athletic directors, and conference offices prior to the Division I Council’s April meeting. Given the concerns of some high-profile coaches and athletic directors, it’s quite possible that additional conditions could be required of transferring student-athletes, such as a minimum GPA.

If adopted by the Division I Council at their April meeting, the new waiver criteria will be available for scholarship student-athletes to be immediately eligible when transferring to a Division I baseball, basketball, football, or men’s ice hockey program for Fall 2020.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we learn of new developments.

To discuss a possible transfer for your athlete, schedule a confidential transfer consult online or contact us at 913-766-1235 or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

At the recent NCAA Convention, Division II delegates approved a change to the “season-of-competition” rule which will be welcome news to student-athletes who transfer to NCAA Division II colleges.

Effective immediately, a student-athlete transferring from any non-Division II school will be subject to the “season-of-competition” rules that were applicable to the college where the athlete previously competed.  This rule can be applied retroactively to the 2018-19 academic year.

In other words, if an athlete was not charged for a season of competition at their previous school – whether other NCAA division, an NAIA, or a junior college – they won’t be charged with a season of competition for that season upon transfer to the Division II college, even if those season of competition rules were not the same.

What exactly does this mean?

Here’s an example of how this rule will be of the most benefit to an athlete transferring from an NCAA DI school to an NCAA II Division school:

  • In NCAA Division I football, an athlete can compete in up to four games and still have that be considered a redshirt season.
  • Under the previous Division II transfer rules, if that football athlete transferred to a Division II college after playing in four games or less, he would have been charged with a season of eligibility used, even though the Division I university from which he transferred would not have charged him with the use of a season.
  • Now, with the new Division II rule effective immediately, the “season-of-competition” rule that applied to that athlete’s participation while he was attending the Division I university will be applied to his remaining eligibility at the Division II level.

Here’s an example of how this rule will be of the most benefit to an athlete transferring from an NCAA DIII school to an NCAA DII School:

First of all, it actually doesn’t change the rules impacting a transfer from a Division III program, but I believe it provides more clarity for such a transfer.

  • A student-athlete at a Division III college is charged with a “season of participation” once they participate in practice or competition during or after the first game of the regular season in their sport.
  • Even if they only practice and train with their Division III team after the first game of the season, but never appear in an actual game or competition against another college during that season, the athlete is still charged with a “season of participation” under the Division III rules.
  • If an athlete in that situation transfers to an NCAA Division II university, that athlete won’t be charged with a “season of competition” for that season in which they only practiced, but were still charged with a “season of participation” due to the Division III rules that applied when they were attending the Division III college. Instead, Division II rules would treat such as season as a “redshirt” season.

Do you have questions?

If you have questions regarding how rule change might affect your student-athlete, or for help in navigating the steps and academic requirements for a successful transfer in any sport, schedule a confidential transfer consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

We are often asked during a phone consultation “What is the best time for our son or daughter to request permission to contact other colleges about a transfer?” Certainly, this will depend upon a number of factors.

Here are important things NCAA DI athletes should consider before entering into the Transfer Portal:

  • Did the athlete sign a National Letter of Intent with this college, and how long have they been enrolled there?
  • Has the athlete already started competing during their season and triggered the use of a season of eligibility? (Or, for NCAA Division III athletes, have they continued practicing with their team even if they are not playing in games for their college?)
  • Is there an injury or illness involved which might permit them to receive a medical hardship waiver?
  • Is the athlete planning to finish out the academic year at their current college, or would they prefer to leave at the semester?
  • Do they want to retain their athletic scholarship through the conclusion of the academic year?
  • Does the athlete feel that it’s more important for them to finish out their current season with their teammates or do they want to get started right away on being able to contact coaches at other colleges?

What frequently happens once an athlete requests placement in the Transfer Portal

Once an athlete tells their coach they’re planning to transfer, they are often removed from the team. In addition, sometimes, the athlete will be asked to sign a form stating that they are voluntarily withdrawing from their team. Signing a withdrawal form can sometimes result in the athlete’s scholarship being immediately cancelled.

Do you Need Help Navigating the Transfer Process?

Contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or 913-766-1235 to schedule a consultation call regarding the factors an athlete should consider before taking action and the steps and rules involved with a transfer to another university.

Walk-on baseball athletes at the NCAA Division I level should assess their chances to make the 35-man roster if there were more than 35 guys practicing with the team in the Fall practice period.

Some coaches will keep 36-38 guys practicing with the team and not make those final cuts down to 35 until the end of January.

I believe that’s unfair and unethical to keep a player “hanging on” in hopes of making the 35-man roster and then having no options for the Spring to go elsewhere if they are cut.

Do you Need Confidential Advice & Guidance?

If you or your athlete are in this situation, we can discuss your situation, answer your questions, and provide transfer eligibility options for you to consider.

Schedule a confidential consult online, or by calling us at 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

One of our clients recently shared their son’s personal experience as a baseball transfer and granted permission for us to share it anonymously with our readers.

Many of you have had your own transfer experience, but this is the first time that we’ve received this level of detailed feedback about going through a transfer. We thought some of you may find this of interest:

“Hi Rick,

Just wanted to update you on son’s transfer status:

XXXX was admitted to XXXX as a mid-year baseball transfer last week. He is excited to say the least. Arm health permitting he is eligible to play in Spring 2020.

Below are some take-aways from son’s very quick mid-year transfer experience:

– His original school did a good job getting him on NCAA Transfer Portal, no issues there.

-Transfer Portal brought significant interest from numerous D2’s and even JUCOs, maybe 15-20 over course of 2-weeks. I believe only one D1 contacted him through the portal. 

– Most traction came from son reaching out to programs who saw him before his surgery. They were all willing to bank on him getting back to his pre-surgery low-90s.

– Within the first 5-days he had target interest from five D1s and multiple high academic D3s. 

– Had offers from several schools.

– Committed to D3 XXX and with coach support was admitted Early Decision earlier this month.

– The transfer process was quick, with fall baseball ending in late October and mid-year transfer application deadlines being November 1 for schools that offer mid-year transfer.

That’s it, Rick. Thanks for all your counsel.”

Need Advice?

Considering a transfer to another school can be extremely stressful and so overwhelming that many student-athletes quit their sport altogether and sometimes they drop out of school.

We understand the frustration, anger, fear and insecurities that often result.  It doesn’t have to be that way – Rick Allen can help guide you through the process.

Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult Online or call us at 913-766-1235 to set your confidential session with Rick.

Most of you by now have probably heard about the NCAA “Transfer Portal” that is utilized by NCAA Division I programs to let other NCAA colleges know of an athlete’s intent to transfer.

For NCAA Division II and III programs, however, the use of the Transfer Portal is optional. Also, athletes at those programs will need to request permission from their current coaching staff and athletic department to contact other colleges about a possible transfer.

When you tell your coach that you’re planning to transfer and want to contact other colleges, the coach might remove you from the team, but they can’t automatically take your scholarship UNLESS you sign the voluntary withdrawal form!

If your athletic department wants you to sign a “voluntary withdrawal form” as a condition of being granted permission to contact other colleges, our strong recommendation is DON’T sign it!

Signing such a form would give your college the right to immediately cancel your scholarship if they chose to do so.

Do You Need Help Navigating a Transfer?

If you have questions about transferring from one college to another, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, call us 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

With the Fall seasons ending, there are a lot of coaching changes being announced in sports such as football, soccer, and volleyball. On just one day this week, I learned of a dozen different coaching changes in various NCAA Division I sports alone!

While a coaching change CAN potentially impact an athlete’s scholarship, a coaching change does NOT change the transfer rules.

An athlete must still follow the same steps to transfer and their eligibility will depend on the same rules and academic requirements regardless of whether their team has had a coaching change.

If you have questions about the steps and academic requirements for transferring from one college to another, schedule a confidential phone consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send me an email to rick@informedathlete.com