The NJCAA recently changed the medical hardship waiver requirements.   The limitation on the maximum number of games or events is now 30% of a student-athlete’s season rather than 20%.

In addition, this rule change can be applied retroactively.  This is great news for current and past junior college athletes who may have just exceeded the limit by one or two games!

The Junior College must apply to the NJCAA on the athlete’s behalf.  However, the athlete will need to provide appropriate documentation to support the application.

During a confidential consultation, Rick Allen can determine if you have potential to qualify for this medical hardship waiver. If so, we can guide and support you through the process. Call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com for more information.

This time of year, I always like to remind college athletes and parents that any amount of participation in a game or contest against another team will count as a Season of Eligibility used.

The only way to get a season “over again” is if the student-athlete qualifies and is approved for a Medical Hardship Waiver.

A Medical Hardship Waiver is a possibility if your student-athlete incurs an injury or illness that is serious enough to be documented by a physician as “season-ending.”

There are also specific limitations for the number of contests that an athlete can participate in and still qualify for a hardship waiver.

Do you have questions about whether your student-athlete might qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver?  If so, click Book a Confidential Consultation, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

If you’re a college athlete who was injured during your Fall season, you may want to consider whether you qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver.

If you did not compete at all during this season, it can be considered as a “redshirt” season for you, and even if you were injured, your athletic department may tell you that a Medical Hardship Waiver isn’t necessary since you didn’t use one of your 4 seasons of eligibility anyway.

However, if we look ahead and consider the possibility that you might become injured again and miss another season, then 2 seasons with a Medical Hardship Waiver could gain you an extra year of playing eligibility.

In a private, confidential consult, we can discuss the guidelines for obtaining a waiver for Extension of Eligibility and help you to prepare for that possible option. Click here to schedule a confidential consult online, call 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

While the NCAA, NAIA, and Junior Colleges offer Medical Hardship Waivers for student-athletes who are injured or become ill, the rules and criteria for each organization varies.  However, the most important factor in a Medical Hardship Waiver request is the medical documentation to substantiate the injury. 

The best case scenario for a student-athlete to be granted a medical hardship waiver is that the medical documentation from the actual time of the injury or diagnosis states that “this athlete is not yet released to return to full competition in their sport” or a similar statement.

When no such physician statement is included and it is unclear whether the injury is serious enough to prevent the student-athlete from competing in their sport, it is much less certain that the waiver will be approved.

The documentation can also be very important in the future if the student-athlete happens to become injured again and misses a second season of competition. In that situation, it would be possible for the student-athlete to obtain an extension of their eligibility “clock” and add another year of eligibility. This is possible when a student-athlete has missed not just one, but more than one season of competition due to injury or illness.

We routinely prepare Medical Hardship Waivers when a college athletic department is not experienced with that process or they don’t have the time or manpower to prepare the waiver.

To discuss your athlete’s specific situation and their opportunity for a Medical Hardship Waiver or even an extension of their eligibility “clock”, contact us at 913-766-1235 or e-mail rick@informedathlete.com.

An NCAA Legislative Relief Waiver is used to grant relief from the standard rules imposed in a particular situation.

An For example, when a student-athlete transfers a second time between four-year colleges, their options for immediate eligibility are limited.

In most cases the student-athlete will need to serve a “year in residence” and won’t be eligible to compete during their first year when they transfer to a third four-year college.

In this case, a Relief Waiver is an option that, if approved, could be used to grant relief to the student-athlete from needing to serve a year in residence.

Common reasons that a student-athlete needs a waiver as a 4-4-4 transfer include:

  • The athlete moved home to save money and didn’t consider the athletic reasons for their transfer
  • The athlete wants to improve their grades while they consider where they will transfer next for an athletic opportunity.

We routinely draft eligibility waivers for student-athletes so their schools can submit the documents to the NCAA in an effort to gain eligibility, whether as a 4-4-4 transfer or for other transfer situations.

If you are a student-athlete (or a parent) and would like to how an NCAA Legislative Relief Waiver could possibly help in your particular situation, you can schedule a confidential consultation session online or call us directly at 913-766-1235.

If a student-athlete appears in competition in the early part of their season but is injured or ill to the point that they are not able to complete their season due to “circumstances beyond their control” it’s quite possible that they might qualify to get their season of eligibility “over again” through a Medical Hardship Waiver.

A Medical Hardship Waiver is possible at most every level of college athletics – from junior college, to NAIA, and to each division of the NCAA – but some colleges don’t have a good procedure in place to make sure that the waiver is submitted in a timely manner.

I have seen cases where the head coach of a sport thought it was the responsibility of the sports medicine staff to prepare the medical hardship waiver, while the sports medicine staff thought the responsibility was on the coach to inform the compliance office of an athlete’s need for such a waiver.

Don’t let your athlete lose valuable time and possibly their eligibility status if it’s unclear what office or staff member is responsible for getting the Medical Hardship Waiver prepared and submitted.

If you want to know if your athlete qualifies for a Medical Hardship Waiver, contact us for a confidential consultation to explain the rules and guidelines for a waiver, and to describe how the process should work. Contact us at 913-766-1235, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

To schedule a private consultation or email consultation online, click Waivers & Appeals Consult Options.

Since July 1st was the deadline for 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’s 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, had a leadership position on your team, or had any misconduct or disciplinary issues?

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. 

NCAA Division I just passed a new rule effective in the 2018-19 school year that can benefit student-athletes who redshirted in their freshman year and then in a subsequent season are deprived of a season of competition for reasons beyond their or their school’s control (illness, injury, etc).

If a student-athlete meets all the required criteria, they could apply for an Extension of Eligibility Waiver and if approved by the NCAA,  receive a 6th year of competition in their sport.

While this rule has been in place at DII universities, it has previously not been available at DI schools because the redshirt year was not accepted as a reason to extend the clock. With this rule change, the redshirt year is now accepted as a reason to extend the clock.

To learn more about all the required criteria for this new rule and determine if you or your student-athlete are eligible to apply for this Extension of Eligibility, schedule a private consultation with us.  You can schedule online or call our office at 913-766-1235.

In most cases, any amount of participation in a game or contest against another team counts as a season of eligibility used.

The only way to get that season “over again” will be through a hardship waiver if the athlete incurs an injury or illness that is serious enough to be documented by a physician as a “season-ending” injury or illness.

There are specific limitations for the number of contests that an athlete can participate in and still qualify for a hardship waiver.  Here’s a link to an article we’ve written on this topic:    http://informedathlete.com/medical-hardship-waivers/

If your student-athlete is considering the possibility of a waiver, call us at 913-766-1235 if you’d like to discuss your situation in a private consultation.  

I’m often asked by student-athletes “how many games can I play and still be considered a redshirt for this season?” The answer is that, with few exceptions, any amount of time spent in a contest for your college will count as a season of eligibility used.

You could be a softball athlete who comes in to pinch run late in a game, a baseball pitcher who throws just one pitch to get the game-ending double play, or a lacrosse athlete who comes into a game for just a minute or two – in each case, you have now used one of your four seasons of college eligibility in your sport.

However, for an athlete who has appeared in a game or games for their team and then becomes injured, or comes down with a serious illness that prevents them from being able to participate in any more games during the season, it’s possible to obtain a medical hardship waiver which will allow them to retain this season of eligibility. In essence, it’s possible for them to get this year “over again” (as long as they haven’t exhausted their five-year or ten-semester window of opportunity).

Here’s a brief overview of the medical hardship waiver rules for the various levels of college competition. Please note that at all levels, medical documentation from the time of the actual diagnosis of the injury or illness will need to be submitted with the waiver request to substantiate that the injury or illness was truly “season ending.”

NCAA Division I – An athlete must not have participated in more than three contests or 30 percent of their season schedule (whichever is greater) and not after the halfway point of the season (based on the number of contests rather than a particular date).

NCAA Division II – For seasons prior to Fall 2017, an athlete must not have participated in more than two contests or 20 percent of their season schedule (whichever is greater). For Division II, unlike Division I and Division III, it’s possible for an athlete to appear in competition after the midpoint of the season and still qualify for a medical hardship waiver.

NCAA Division II, new rule Fall 2017 – An athlete must not have participated in more than three contests or 30 percent of their season schedule (whichever is greater) and not after the halfway point of the season (based on the number of contests rather than a particular date).

NCAA Division III – An athlete must not have participated in more than one-third of the maximum number of contests in a particular sport, plus one contest. (Determine how many contests constitute one-third of the maximum permissible, and then add one.) Also, the athlete must not have participated after the midpoint of the season (based on number of contests rather than a particular date).

NAIA – There is a specific limit for each sport in the NAIA that applies to a hardship request. For example, the limit (which was increased for some sports starting in the 2015-16 academic year) is 11 games for baseball, but 6 dates of competition in softball (since they often play doubleheaders). It is possible for an NAIA athlete to participate after the midpoint of the season and still qualify for a hardship waiver, but if the athlete competes after being examined by a physician for their injury or illness, their opportunity for a waiver is nullified.

NJCAA – Junior college athletes at an NJCAA college must not have participated in more than 20 percent of their maximum allowed season schedule and not after the halfway point of the season.

CCCAA – Junior college athletes at a CCCAA college must not have participated in more than 20 percent of their completed contests (if prior to July 1, 2016) and not after the halfway point of the season. Starting with Fall 2016, the maximum participation was raised to 30 percent from 20 percent.
Here’s another example of a call I have received: “What if my daughter had surgery, but the coach was redshirting her anyway and she never played in a game last season? Is it necessary to request a medical hardship waiver for last season?
The answer to that depends on a few different factors, but could be important later on in her career to possibly gain an additional year of eligibility.

If you have questions about medical hardship waivers, freshman or transfer academic requirements, or appeals, we offer fee-based confidential consultations. Please call us at 913-766-1235 to set your appointment or send me an email to rick@informedathlete.com.