But first, let’s cover some background reminders.

During the past 15-16 months, almost all college athletes were granted an automatic Extension of Eligibility for one additional year on their college eligibility “clock” and were not charged with a season of competition in their sport.

These exceptions of normal eligibility rules were and are applicable for a college student-athlete in a Spring 2020 sport or a Fall or Winter sport during the 2020-21 academic year. Those athletes have a six-year “clock” to compete in four seasons in their sport.

Beginning with the Spring 2021 sport season, NCAA Division I and II returned to their normal “season-of-competition” rules.

Those rules require that an athlete is charged with one of their four available seasons of competition if they appear in any amount of game competition, even if it’s only for one inning in baseball or softball or one minute of a lacrosse match (as examples).

Exception: NCAA Division I & II spring sport athletes who had a restricted season schedule may be eligible for a season of competition waiver.

Moving forward from this point, starting this Fall student-athletes will have a five-year or 10-semester window of eligibility in which to compete in their sport. It will be possible for student-athletes to receive an extension waiver for an additional year or two semesters of eligibility in one of two ways:

  • An athlete is redshirted in their true freshman year while eligible and then misses one other season of competition due to a documented injury or illness, OR
  • The athlete misses two different seasons of competition due to a documented injury or illness which prevents them from competing in those seasons.

We’re sharing this information with you so you can possibly “plan ahead” if your athlete redshirted as a freshman during the 2021 spring sport season or incurred a season-ending injury or illness.

For a detailed confidential discussion of the rules and guidelines for an Extension of Eligibility Waiver, schedule a Waivers and Appeals Consult online, or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

The new NCAA Division I One-Time Transfer Exception which was approved in late April requires that four-year college athletes must enter the Transfer Portal no later than July 1 to have an opportunity to be immediately eligible upon enrollment at a Division I university this Fall.

Does that mean that it’s too late for an athlete to enter the Transfer Portal and be eligible if they transfer to an NCAA Division I university this Fall from their previous four-year college? Not necessarily.

There are other transfer “Exceptions” which will permit an athlete to be immediately eligible in their first year at a Division I university.

  • The one most widely available to the largest number of four-year college athletes is the Non-Scholarship Transfer Exception. This Exception can be used by student-athletes who have not received an athletic scholarship at their previous university. (For athletes who have been at a university that doesn’t award athletic scholarships, the athlete must not have been “recruited” to the previous university.)
  • Other transfer Exceptions for four-year college athletes are for specific situations that don’t occur that often, such as when an athlete’s previous institution dropped the athlete’s sport or discontinued their academic major.

If you want to learn whether it’s still possible for your athlete to transfer for this upcoming year, you can purchase and schedule a confidential Transfer Consultation online. Or you can arrange a consultation session by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling our office at 913-766-1235.

Since July 1st was the deadline for NCAA D1or D2 student-athletes to be informed whether their scholarship would be reduced or not renewed for the upcoming school year, we have been contacted by a number of families about the appeal process.

One of the key questions they have is whether it is “worth it” to pursue the appeal.

Each athlete and family must decide this based on the factors unique to their situation, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Is it more important for you to have a chance to compete in your sport, or stay at your school on scholarship?
  • You might win your appeal, but the coach may be angry with you for appealing and might “take it out” on you. The coach might even bar you from playing and might not even allow you on the team.
  • In addition, if you’re not kept on the team, the athletic department may require you to serve as a student worker in the department in exchange for your scholarship.
  • How close are you to finishing your degree? If you have only one year left to finish your degree, you’ll likely have to take additional courses to earn your degree if you transfer to another college. For example, you might end up taking 135 or 140 credit hours for a degree which normally requires 120 credit hours.
  • What points can you cite to support your case in an appeal hearing? For example, Have you been an excellent student at your school, and/or had a leadership position on your team?

Do You Need Help?

If you’d like to discuss the appeal, and whether you should pursue that option, contact us for a consultation. I can help you determine whether to pursue an appeal, and if so, we’ll discuss the best strategy, and discuss the strongest points to make during an appeal hearing.

Should you decide to transfer rather than appeal, I can walk you through the transfer process to ensure your transition to a new school is as smooth as possible.

To schedule an appointment, call my office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

All current NCAA Division I student-athletes who are on a year-to-year scholarship and all NCAA Division 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.

Note that Division I athletes on a multiyear scholarship may not receive notice of renewal or non-renewal because the scholarship will be continuing for another year. However, the athlete will probably need to “accept” their scholarship for the next year before it will be applied to their student account.

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.

For objective information and assistance regarding a possible appeal and other options available to your student-athlete, schedule a personal and confidential Waivers and Appeals consult onlineWe will answer your questions, discuss your athlete’s specific situation and advise you of their rights and options. You can also contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or at 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division I recently approved a change to the “One-Time Transfer Rule.” This change now allows an athlete to transfer to an NCAA Division I program with the opportunity to be eligible in their first year at the new university – even if the athlete was a scholarship athlete in baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey at their previous university.

A consequence of this new rule which has not been well-publicized is that a potential second transfer to a 3rd Division I university will become much more difficult for the 2022-23 academic year or thereafter.

The One-Time Transfer Rule is – as the name implies – available for an athlete to use one time when they transfer to an NCAA university.

However, when an athlete transfers the second time, the options for transfer a second time with immediate eligibility have been limited.

Waivers for a second transfer are currently a possibility in certain situations including personal or family financial hardship, the injury/illness of a family member, mental health concerns, or no participation opportunity if the athlete had stayed at their previous school.

New Transfer Waiver guidelines for scholarship athletes who will be transferring a second time to Division I for the 2022-23 academic year will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Under these new guidelines, the ONLY reasons that will be accepted by the NCAA for an athlete to be immediately eligible are:

  • A student-athlete is facing a “real and imminent health and safety” threat, or;
  • A student-athlete with an education-impacting disability is leaving a school because support services and/or treatment are inadequate or unavailable.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about the Transfer Rules and how these new guidelines could impact your athlete’s future, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division I student-athletes who have had their 2021 Spring sports season cancelled or suspended will have the opportunity to receive a waiver for limited competition with other college opponents so that they will not be charged with a season of eligibility.

This is NOT a blanket waiver that will automatically be applied for Spring sport athletes. A Division I university will need to request this waiver on behalf of any of their spring sport athletes who have been impacted by a cancelled or suspended season.

An example of how this waiver may be applied by the NCAA is the following:

The Ivy League cancelled conference competition and conference championship events for Spring sports. However, they left open the option for their universities to engage in local non-conference competition if permitted by local and regional health guidelines.

In a situation such as this, it will be possible for those D1 student-athletes to participate in limited competition and not be charged with using one of their seasons of eligibility if a waiver is approved for them by the NCAA.

This action was taken by the Division I Council because “The decision of schools and/or conferences to cancel spring sport seasons was outside of the control of the student-athletes.”

To qualify for this waiver, the student-athletes will not be allowed to participate in more than 30% of the maximum contests or dates of competition for that particular sport. Also, any such competition must not take place after the date that the NCAA selects teams for postseason competition in that sport.

Do You Need Advice?

If you have questions regarding how this waiver may be applied in your athlete’s specific situation, you can schedule a confidential Waivers and Appeals Consult online. You can also contact us directly by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235 to arrange a consult session.

Due to unique circumstances with the pandemic, 2020-21 Fall/Winter and 2020 Spring Sport athletes at all levels will not be charged the use of a season of competition. In addition, many of these athletes have been granted an additional year or semesters on their eligibility “clock.”

For NCAA Division I, those benefits have not been extended to spring sports for this 2021 spring season and I don’t expect them to be. I believe the NCAA doesn’t want to overcrowd spring rosters even further by granting D1 spring sport athletes yet another “free” season of competition.

For that reason, let’s review the requirements for a Division I athlete to receive a Medical Hardship Waiver if a situation arises that your athlete becomes injured or ill to the point that they aren’t able to complete their season.

To qualify for a Division I Medical Hardship Waiver:

  • The athlete can’t have participated in more than 30% of the number of games or dates of competition in their sport.
  • The athlete also must not appear in a contest after the midpoint of the season.
  • The athlete must have contemporaneous documentation from a medical professional that their injury or illness prevents them from being able to continue participating in their season.

If you have questions about the Medical Hardship Waiver, schedule a confidential Waivers and Appeals consultation online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

The NCAA has made several rulings recently that will impact student-athletes’ eligibility at Division I, II, and III.  In addition, the NJCAA has recently granted a blanket waiver for student-athletes in all sports.  These rulings are summarized below in this post.

NCAA Division I Midyear Enrollee Ruling

“Emergency legislation” which impacts midyear enrollees at a Division I program specifically for Fall sport athletes has been adopted by the NCAA Division I Council.

This ruling applies to both transfer athletes as well as initial enrollees from high school or prep school.

This recent decision revises a position taken earlier this Fall by Division I which would have prevented athletes in a traditional Fall sport from transferring at midyear and then being immediately eligible in the Spring at another university.

  • This will now be possible for Fall Sports athletes who satisfy certain conditions.
  • Student-athletes who are considering such a transfer (or midyear enrollment from high school) must satisfy specific conditions in order to take advantage of this ruling.

NCAA Division II Winter Sport Athletes Receive Expanded Eligibility Waiver

Recently, the NCAA Division II Management Council granted winter sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

All eligible winter sport athletes in Division II will receive this additional opportunity regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year. This is consistent with action taken previously for Division II Fall sport athletes.

NCAA Division III Grants Waiver for ALL current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL D3 student-athletes this year. They can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

While the NCAA’s press release did not provide this level of detail, you can be certain that an athlete must be academically eligible to compete this season in order to receive the benefit of this blanket waiver.

NJCAA Grants Waiver for Student-Athletes in ALL Sports

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow athletes at NJCAA member colleges in ALL sports to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision obviously provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for them to keep in mind that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to the “next level.”

Do You Have Questions or Need Advice?

If you have questions about these recently rulings or any other eligibility situation, we can help answer your questions and discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and options.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

As many of you know, most Spring sport college athletes at NCAA schools were granted an additional year of eligibility for Spring 2020 since seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Also, many athletes currently in Fall sports at their college are being granted an additional year of eligibility.

Did you know that your athlete might be able to gain even another additional year of eligibility if he/she:

  • Missed two seasons previously (before COVID) due to circumstances beyond their control,
  • Or were redshirted in their freshman year and then missed one other season due to circumstances outside their control?

There may not be many athletes (or parents!!) who are interested in having eligibility available for a possible 7th year of college attendance. However, while somewhat rare, it is certainly possible under the right set of circumstances.

For example, it might be something to consider for an athlete who may need a 7th year of college to complete a Master’s Degree or a second undergrad degree if the athlete has decided to change majors.

Not knowing, understanding, and meeting the eligibility rules can have serious short and long-term consequences. Problems meeting the eligibility standards can set back and even derail a student-athlete’s entire athletic career.

We help athletes and families by explaining the specific rules regarding your eligibility “timeline” and discuss how you may be able to gain additional eligibility.

We also regularly help families by reviewing their waiver documentation to make sure it’s in order and by proofreading and editing personal statements from athletes and parents that will support the waiver request.

Schedule your confidential Waivers and Appeals Consult Online to explore whether your athlete qualifies for an opportunity to regain or extend their eligibility. Or Contact us to schedule at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion via Zoom regarding the various impacts of COVID on college athletics, ranging from eligibility questions to Title IX implications of sports programs being cut due to budget impacts.

Here’s a brief summary of the information I shared with participants regarding actions taken and waivers approved by the NCAA:

2020 Spring Sports – Athletes will not be charged with a season of competition as long as they were eligible during the season

  • Athletes in D-1 granted an additional year of eligibility on their clock
  • Athletes in D-2 granted an additional year if in their last year of eligibility
  • Athletes in D-3 treated as if semester “didn’t happen”

Fall 2020 Sport Athletes

  • D1 athletes not charged with a season and granted another year of eligibility
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season and granted another two semesters of eligibility
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted an additional 2 semesters.

20-21 Winter and Spring Sport athletes

  • D1 undetermined at this time
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.

Do you need have questions or need advice?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or at rick@informedathlete.com with questions about your athlete’s eligibility, or schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals consult.