NCAA Division III leadership will permit D3 student-athletes to retain a season of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team can only complete 50% or less of the maximum permissible competition in their sport.

For those of you who may not know, Division III rules do not recognize a “redshirt” season for a student-athlete in the same way that NCAA Division I and II do.

In Division III, an athlete uses one of their four “seasons of participation” if they as much as just practice with their team on or after the day that begins their sport season – even if they never appear in an actual game for their team during that season.

With this blanket waiver in place, a D3 student-athlete will not be charged with one of their four seasons of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team is not able to compete in at least 50% of the maximum competitions or dates of competition that are permissible in their sport.

The Division III Administrative Committee noted that “The proactive blanket waiver allows student-athletes to make informed enrollment decisions prior to the academic year.”

If you would like to schedule a confidential discussion to review how this blanket waiver may impact your student-athlete, as well as how the season of participation rule overlaps with the Division III rule limiting participation to 10 semesters or 15 quarters of attendance, schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals Consult online or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling us at 913-766-1235.

The NCAA Division II Administrative Council recently voted to permit D2 student-athletes to retain a season of eligibility during the 2020-21 academic year if their team can only complete 50% or less of the maximum permissible competition in their sport.

This is similar to action taken recently by NCAA Division III (noted in our newsletter of July 15),

With this waiver approved in advance, a Division II university will be allowed to automatically provide a season-of-competition waiver for their student-athletes as long as the following conditions are satisfied:

  • A team participates in no more than 50% of that sport’s maximum number of games or dates of competition during the 2020-21 academic year as a result of the continuing impact of COVID-19.
  • A student-athlete must be eligible for competition during the season.
  • A student-athlete must use a season of competition to receive the automatic waiver. (A redshirting student-athlete won’t be charged with a season so won’t need the waiver.)

If you would like to discuss how this Division II waiver may impact your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or give us a call at 913-766-1235.

Recent action taken by NCAA Division III leadership will permit D3 student-athletes to retain a season of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team can only complete 50% or less of the maximum permissible competition in their sport.

For those of you who may not know, Division III rules do not recognize a “redshirt” season for a student-athlete in the same way that NCAA Division I and II do.

In Division III, an athlete uses one of their four “seasons of participation” if they as much as just practice with their team on or after the day that begins their sport season – even if they never appear in an actual game for their team during that season.

With this blanket waiver in place, a D3 student-athlete will not be charged with one of their four seasons of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team is not able to compete in at least 50% of the maximum competitions or dates of competition that are permissible in their sport.

The Division III Administrative Committee noted that “The proactive blanket waiver allows student-athletes to make informed enrollment decisions prior to the academic year.”

If you would like to schedule a confidential discussion to review how this blanket waiver may impact your student-athlete, as well as how the season of participation rule overlaps with the Division III rule limiting participation to 10 semesters or 15 quarters of attendance, schedule a confidential waivers and appeals consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or give us a call at 913-766-1235.

Recently, the NCAA Division I Council developed new waiver guidelines for student-athletes who are transferring for “mental health reasons.”

NCAA staff members will use those guidelines and directives when they decide if a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I team from another four-year college will be ruled eligible for competition in their first year at the new school.

The key point to be aware of regarding these new guidelines for mental health transfer waivers is this:

  • Documented evidence will be required to demonstrate that at the previous school, a student-athlete’s ability to function on a daily basis was impaired by a mental health condition.

These new guidelines could possibly benefit scholarship student-athletes in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, or men’s ice hockey who transfer to a Division I team for mental health reasons and would otherwise be required to serve a “year in residence” before being eligible to compete for that university.

If your athlete is considering a transfer for mental health reasons and you would like to arrange a confidential consultation to discuss these new waiver guidelines in detail, schedule your confidential Waivers and Appeals phone consultation online, or contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com

All current NCAA Division I and II scholarship student-athletes are to be notified no later than July 1 whether their scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the upcoming year.

If your athlete has not been notified by now, they should definitely contact their coaches and ask.

This is especially important if your athlete has recently changed their email, or your family has moved to a new physical address. Make sure that email and physical addresses that are on file with the Office of Financial Aid for your student-athlete are up-to-date.

Once in a while we hear from student-athletes or parents who say they didn’t receive their required scholarship status notification. Not receiving the official notification in a timely manner could mean that your student-athlete could miss the deadline for an appeal hearing should their scholarship be reduced or taken away.

If your student-athlete’s scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the coming year, you do have some options.

However, time is of the essence. If you’d like to learn more about pursuing an appeal, we can help guide you through the process. Schedule a Waivers and Appeals consult online, or by contacting us at rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

If you were an NCAA Division I or II student-athlete who received an athletic scholarship during the 2019-20 academic year, you should receive official word about your 2020-21 scholarship status no later than July 1st.

A few things you should know:

This official notification must be issued by the university’s financial aid office rather than from the athletic department (although previous notification may have been provided by a coaching staff or athletic department).

The official notification must be in writing (or via email) and state whether your scholarship will be renewed at the same level, reduced, or not renewed for the next academic year.

If an athlete’s scholarship is being reduced or not renewed for the upcoming academic year, the notification is also required to let them know:

  • Of their right to a hearing,
  • The steps they need to follow to request a hearing
  • The deadline for requesting a hearing.

If you have been notified that your scholarship has been reduced or cancelled and you want a hearing, we can help you understand what happens during a hearing and help you prepare for the hearing so you can make an effective appeal.

Schedule a confidential Waivers and Appeals Consult online or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling us at 913-766-1235

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.

NCAA Division I and the NAIA are automatically granting an additional year or two semesters to any spring sport athlete due to COVID-19, as long as that athlete was on a roster and academically eligible for competition this spring.

NCAA Division II is only granting additional eligibility “automatically” for spring sport athletes who were already in their 10th semester or 15th quarter of their eligibility “clock.”

However, other Division II spring sport athletes also may be able to receive an additional year of eligibility as well.

As examples:

  • An athlete who redshirted in their freshman year and then missed this season due to COVID-19 may be able to receive a 6th year.
  • An athlete who missed last season due to injury before also having this season cancelled may also be able to receive a 6th year.

To arrange a consultation session to learn whether you might qualify for an additional year of eligibility, schedule your Waivers and Appeals Consult online, or you can contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

Over the last few years, there has been much more attention and awareness on the subject of mental health issues that impact student-athletes.

Based on some of the questions raised and concerns being expressed by families we speak with, two points about mental health concerns are the most commonly discussed:

  • Student-athletes, especially male student-athletes and even more for those in contact sports, are reluctant to reveal mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.
  • For those student-athletes who choose to reveal their mental health concerns, some coaches respond as if they don’t want to hear it, or they take some kind of action which only makes the student-athlete feel worse, such as isolating them from the rest of the team, or telling them “maybe you’re not cut out for college athletics at this level.”

What we are seeing is a pattern of athletes who missed a season of competition because of poor performance related to depression, anxiety, etc. and then when they try to get that season “over again” through a hardship waiver, it isn’t approved. That’s because at the time they were dealing with their issues, they didn’t want to divulge a “weakness” to their coaches or athletic trainers and therefore they don’t have the required documentation of a “season-ending” mental illness.

The Importance of Medical Documentation for Mental Health Issues When Applying for a Medical Hardship Waiver

If a student-athlete is hoping to receive a “medical redshirt” (or what is officially called a Medical Hardship Waiver) in order to get a season of competition “over again” for limited participation, the proper documentation will be even more important than it is when a physical injury is involved.

As we all can understand, if an athlete has undergone Tommy John surgery or has had a torn ACL, there will usually be sufficient medical documentation to support a request for a Medical Hardship Waiver.

However, a student-athlete dealing with mental health concerns like anxiety or depression may not have revealed to their medical professional that it is severely impacting their ability to perform at the level that they need to.

Or, even if they have shared this with their medical professional, the student-athlete may be reluctant to share a note from their doctor with the coaching staff that they should be withheld from competition.

I certainly understand that when a student-athlete is dealing with a mental health issue the last thing on their mind is probably whether they will have an extra season of eligibility later on in their college career.

But for families who may be dealing with such a situation, it can be important to share with the doctor/therapist how the mental health issue is impacting their athlete.

If the student-athlete doesn’t think they can continue through the rest of their season at their best, they should consider asking whether the doctor or therapist believes that their situation is serious enough to be considered “incapacitating” or “season-ending” in its severity. If so, it may help them to gain back a season later on if the student-athlete’s situation meets the other criteria for a hardship waiver.

As stated in the NCAA guidelines for a Medical Hardship Waiver:

“Contemporaneous medical documentation from a physician or medical doctor that establishes the student-athlete’s inability to compete for the remainder of the playing season as a result of an injury or illness shall be submitted with any hardship-waiver request…..For circumstances involving psychological or mental illnesses, the required contemporaneous or other appropriate medical documentation may be provided by an individual who is qualified and licensed to diagnose and treat the particular illness (e.g., psychologist).”

Do you Have Questions?

If your student-athlete is struggling in their sport because of mental health issues, we can help. In a confidential Waivers & Appeals Consultation, we’ll discuss your student-athlete’s situation and inform you if they meet the criteria for a Medical Hardship Waiver. We can also advise on how best to navigate through the Medical Hardship Waiver process and assist with things like helping you write or edit your personal statement, and reviewing your medical documentation.

Schedule your confidential Waivers & Appeals Consult online or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling us at 913-766-1235.

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.