In recent months, there had been building anticipation that the NCAA may grant a one-time transfer opportunity to scholarship athletes in the Division I sports of baseball, basketball, football and men’s ice hockey.

The current Division I transfer rules prohibit immediate eligibility at a new Division I school when a scholarship athlete in those five sports transfers. However, comments by the Transfer Waiver Working Group led many of us to believe that a Transfer Waiver might be approved to help those athletes have immediate eligibility upon transfer to a new university.

Unfortunately, due to pressure from the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, action was recenlty taken to postpone any action on Division I transfer rule changes until the next NCAA Convention in January 2021.

As a result, any athlete in baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey who is receiving or has received at any point an athletic scholarship from their current university, will be required to serve a “year in residence” at their new Division I university before they can be eligible for competition.

There are still NCAA waivers possible for transferring athletes to become eligible in their first year at their new university, but those waivers are received for particular situations when documentation supports a reason for transfer that is outside the control of the student-athlete.

Do You Have Questions?

Schedule a Transfer Consultation to make sure you are fully aware of the rules that will impact your transferring athlete’s eligibility at the new university that they are planning to attend. You can also call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Athletes who transfer from a junior college to an NCAA athletic program should know that there are specific academic requirements that must be satisfied while attending the junior college in order to be eligible in their first year of attendance at an NCAA university.

Those academic requirements will vary depending upon the following factors:

1. Was the athlete a Qualifier or a Non-Qualifier when they graduated from high school?

2. Is the athlete transferring to an NCAA Division I, Division II, or a Division III program?

3. Has the athlete previously attended a four-year college before attending the junior college?

If you have a Junior College athlete who plans to transfer to an NCAA program, schedule a Confidential Eligibility Consult online, or by calling us at 913-766-1235. During the call, we will discuss ALL the things a JUCO student-athlete should know before considering a transfer to a 4-year university so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Those of you who are regular followers of our newsletters or readers of our blog may recall that the NCAA Transfer Working Group has been discussing possible changes to Waiver guidelines.

These proposed changes would make it possible for scholarship student-athletes in baseball, basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to receive a transfer waiver which will basically give them the same “One-Time Transfer Exception” that is currently available to athletes in other sports.

If passed, athletes in the above listed sports will be eligible in their first year at a new school as long as they satisfy the academic requirements for a transfer.

While no action was taken on these proposed changes at Friday’s Division I Council meeting, the meeting summary indicates that they “…could vote on the guidelines changes next month.”

We’ll be sure to provide an update if this vote takes place in May as expected.

Last Friday, the NCAA Division I Council adopted a change to the enrollment requirements for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I program after having graduated from their previous university.

Under the previous rule, a student-athlete who used a graduate transfer to compete at an NCAA Division I university after receiving their bachelor’s degree must have enrolled in a graduate program or professional school at their new university.

Under the new rule, an athlete who transfers to a Division I university after graduating elsewhere will be able to enroll in a graduate or professional school but will also have the option to pursue a second bachelor’s degree.

It will also be possible to be a non-declared student (if permitted under university rules) as long as the student-athlete is taking a full-time course load “…that would lead to the equivalent of a major or degree.”

This new rule becomes effective this Fall for athletes who transfer to a Division I university after earning their undergrad degree.

Do you Need Advice?

If you have questions about your athlete’s specific situation regarding a Graduate Transfer or any other transfer issue, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

If you’re a student-athlete considering a transfer to another school, it’s very important that you be informed BEFORE you take action!

This is obviously a stressful time for many college student-athletes as they consider whether to return to their current team for another year with an additional year of eligibility.

  • At the same time, many are wondering if their scholarship will be renewed for next year, or if there might be a better opportunity elsewhere.
  • Added to this is the potential logjam of rosters with new incoming recruits being added to rosters for next year.

If you are considering a transfer to another university, the last thing you should do is notify your current coach of that possibility without being informed about all you need to know regarding a transfer.

To learn all you should know about the transfer rules and process so you can make an informed decision, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online here, or you can contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

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.