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We’ve recently been contacted by some athletes who have been told by their NCAA Division I head coach that their scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.

Others have told us that their coach is telling them that they should transfer and that “we’ll help you with your transfer to another school.”

We encourage athletes and families to consider their possible options and not react too quickly to such news. Reacting too quickly without knowing your options may place you in an even worse position.

For example: If a Division I coach is telling your athlete that they aren’t renewing their scholarship for next year, what they might NOT be saying is that the athlete has the right to appeal that decision to the campus Financial Aid Appeal Committee.

However, if the athlete enters the Transfer Portal before the hearing takes place, the athlete may be forfeiting their right to request an appeal hearing. That’s because the university has the right to terminate the scholarship of an athlete who enters the Transfer Portal at the end of the semester in which the athlete enters the Portal.

Do You Need Help?

If you would like to discuss the rights and options that an athlete can consider when their scholarship is being threatened, schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

Within the past few weeks, we’ve consulted with at least three families regarding situations in which their athlete has been dismissed from a team or penalized in other ways primarily for their political beliefs.

While these situations are certainly unfortunate and unfair, decisions as to who a coach keeps on their roster are left to the discretion of the coach by most athletic directors. If a coach removes an athlete from their team, the athlete may have no choice but to transfer to another school.

However, if an athlete is receiving an athletic scholarship, the NCAA rules limit the ability of a coach or athletic department to cancel the scholarship in the middle of the academic year.

Midyear cancellation of a scholarship is only possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled ineligible for competition
  • Provides fraudulent information on an application, letter of intent, or financial aid agreement
  • Engages in serious misconduct that rises to the level of being disciplined by the university’s regular student disciplinary board;
  • Voluntarily quits their team; or
  • Violates a university policy or rule which is not related to athletic conditions or ability (such as a university or athletic department policy on COVID-19 restrictions, which is a very significant concern in the current environment).

Also, in NCAA Division I, an athlete entering the Transfer Portal could possibly lose their scholarship at midyear.

My advice to athletes and parents

Review very carefully any athletic department or university rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation of an athletic scholarship.

Contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com for or schedule online a confidential scholarship consultation to discuss a situation in which your athlete’s position on their team or their scholarship is being threatened by a coach for their political beliefs, or for alleged violations of policies.

If An NCAA Division I or II student-athlete has been on an athletic scholarship during the 2017-18 year, they must be notified no later than July 1st if their scholarship will be reduced or not renewed for the 2018-19 academic year.
The official notification must come from the university’s financial aid office, and must include information about the opportunity to appeal the reduction or cancellation.

While the rules do give coaches and athletic departments until July 1 to make their final decisions, most coaches will inform student-athletes on athletic scholarships during end-of-the-year or end-of-the-season one-on-one meetings.

If your 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 request information about the hearing opportunity as soon as possible.
Otherwise, if you wait to receive the official notification from the financial aid office, you could be waiting until near the end of July before a campus committee hears your appeal.

Here’s an example of how much delay could occur if you wait to request a hearing opportunity:

  • Student-Athlete is verbally informed by the coach at the end of their season in early May that their athletic scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.
  • But, the student-athlete is waiting for the written notification, and assumes that it may come after final exams, so doesn’t act on the word from the coach. The official notice actually isn’t sent until late June.
  • When the student-athlete receives the notice, he/she considers it for a couple of days, and now it’s early July when the student-athlete wants to request the appeal, but the campus is closed for the July 4th holiday.
  • The university has up to 30 days from receiving the student-athlete’s request for appeal in which to conduct the hearing, so it’s now late July or early August before the hearing takes place and a ruling is determined.

Obviously, not much time to plan for the 2018-19 school year!!!
Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have questions about scholarship reductions or non-renewals.