NCAA Medical Hardship/Mental Health Waivers – What You Should Know!

We’ve been receiving a number of inquiries this summer asking whether an athlete can qualify for a Waiver for Mental Health issues for limited playing time or inability to finish their season due to mental health concerns.

Regardless of whether an athlete is seeking a hardship waiver due to mental health concerns, an illness or for a physical injury, the three main rules and requirements are basically the same across all NCAA (or junior college) divisions.

  • Participation in no more than 30 percent of contests or dates of competition in an athlete’s sport in NCAA Division I, NCAA DII or junior college. (33 percent in NCAA Division III).
  • An athlete can’t have appeared in a game after the half-way point of the season.
  • Athlete must have incurred an injury or illness before the half-way point of the season and have documentation from a physician (or mental health licensed professional) that the athlete is unable to participate any further in their season due to the injury or illness. Physician Documentation must have been recorded at the time of the illness or injury prior to the start of the second half of the season.

Most athletes who are dealing with mental health issues are reluctant to share with anyone including their coach, a medical professional or their family.

However, the medical documentation is especially important if an athlete is hoping to receive a Medical Hardship Waiver for mental health concerns.

To discuss your athlete’s specific situation in a confidential consultation to see if they might qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver (or for other types of Waivers such as for a family illness or a financial hardship), schedule a Waivers and Appeals Consult online, email or call our office at 913-766-1235.