Can a Power-5 University cancel an athletic scholarship?

I have received several calls regarding coaches at Power Five universities (those in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and PAC-12, plus Notre Dame), telling student-athletes that their athletic scholarships aren’t being renewed for next year.
Here are some key points to keep in mind if this situation could apply to you:

  • If you received an athletic scholarship in your first year attending a Power Five university (and if the scholarship was signed after January of 2015), a coach is limited in their ability to take away your scholarship.
  • The coach can’t take the scholarship away if you have an injury or illness impacting your ability to compete in your sport, and they can’t take the scholarship away just because you didn’t perform in your sport up to their expected standards.
  • However, the coach CAN take away your scholarship if you’ve lost your academic eligibility, had a student misconduct issue, or have violated team or athletic department rules or policies.

A student-athlete needs to be very careful that they have not violated a team or athletic department rule or a school conduct policy.  If a coach at a Power Five university wants to cancel your athletic scholarship, this is the most likely way for them to do so, other than just telling you that you won’t see playing time if you stay, and then hoping you will choose on your own to transfer to another university.

If your student-athlete has been verbally informed by the coach that their athletic scholarship is being reduced or won’t be renewed for next year, I suggest that you contact your compliance director to request information about the hearing opportunity as soon as possible.

Because each student-athlete’s situation most likely has some unique circumstances involved, we can provide a confidential phone consultation to discuss non-renewals and options to consider including your rights in such a situation and assisting with preparation for a hearing.

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to to schedule a confidential consultation.