Starting Classes and Then Finding Out You’re Not Eligible

Every year we receive calls from frustrated parents telling us that their incoming freshman or transfer student-athlete was not informed until AFTER they started attending classes that they are NOT be eligible to compete in their first year.

For example:

I recently heard from a parent who told me that their athlete (who was transferring from one college to another) was told by the coach and academic advisor last summer that all was in order and that the athlete would not have any problem being eligible at the new college.

However, approximately two weeks after the athlete started attending the new college – and AFTER it was too late to consider a possible “Plan B” – the athlete was informed that he/she is not eligible because not enough academic credits from the previous college were accepted as transferable to the new college.

Why does this happen?

This seems to happen most often for prospects or transfer athletes who are walking on to their college team rather than being recruited with a scholarship. I believe the reason is because the coaching staff – and by extension other offices at the college – aren’t as “invested” in making sure that the athlete will be fully eligible.

Another situation in which we sometimes hear of this happening is when an athlete is enrolling at a college or university where they may have just one compliance staff member responsible for all the compliance duties for all the coaches and athletes of that college. And I get it!! I used to be in that same situation early in my career!

It’s only natural that when there is one compliance person for all of the athletic teams at a university that this individual will need to prioritize their work responsibilities. That often means that the certification of eligibility for Fall sports at the start of the school year will take priority and that eligibility certification for winter and spring sports will take a “back seat.”

What can you do about this? Be Informed!

Contact us for a confidential consultation so we can discuss the academic requirements that your athlete will need to satisfy to be eligible as an incoming recruit or as a transfer athlete. We can also review your athlete’s classes to make sure they are on track to be eligible. If they’re not, we can tell you what your athlete needs to do so they WILL be eligible.

It’s SO much easier to make adjustments BEFORE than to find out AFTER THE FACT and have to make major changes. In my years working at two major DI schools, I encountered some athletes who simply gave up when they realized the difficulty of what they had to do before they could be ruled as eligible.

In the meantime

One thing that I advise all incoming recruits and transfer athletes to do is request confirmation of their eligibility in writing a few weeks before they are due to start classes at the new university. While receiving “bad news” even at that point would be stressful, at least it might be possible for your athlete to consider another option.

Such options might possibly include returning to their previous junior college to take another semester of coursework, or to attend a semester of college only as a part-time student while taking some additional coursework to make sure you have enough academic credits that will be acceptable as transfer credits to the new college.

Do You Need Confidential Advice?

Schedule an Eligibility Issues Consult online for a confidential discussion of the rules and academic requirements that will apply to your student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to or by calling 913-766-1235.