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Decisions and rulings issued by the college athletic organizations – especially the NCAA – are occurring frequently and will differ from one organization to another and from one division to another.

Here’s a list of general reminders that we want to provide for college athletes and families (in no particular order):

  • Before your athlete decides to opt out of participation or take a semester off from college attendance, make sure they check with someone – whether that is their college compliance director or through our Informed Athlete services. Making an uninformed decision could have consequences for their remaining athletic eligibility.
  • If you are receiving a scholarship for your sport, be sure you review the conditions under which your coach or athletic department can take away your scholarship. This is especially true if you are considering not taking classes this Fall due to Covid-19. Will your scholarship still be available for the Spring semester?
  • Check with your college to ask if you need to re-apply for admission if you take the semester off from classes and plan to return in the Spring. Also, what will be the impact on any academic scholarship or need-based financial aid that you will be receiving?
  • Because many colleges and universities won’t be conducting competition this Fall, be careful about engaging in any organized competition as an individual or for an outside team not affiliated with your college. There are rules regarding outside competition during the academic year and those rules vary between NCAA divisions as well as with the NAIA. (NCAA Division I approved a waiver for outside competition recently, but certain conditions must be satisfied to participate in such competition.)
  • Starting to attend classes this Fall as a full-time student, even if you drop to part-time status a few days later, will cause this semester to count as one full-time semester toward your ten-semester limit for NCAA Division II, III, or NAIA. Also, if you are an incoming freshman starting at a Division I university, attending classes as a full-time student will start your “5-year clock.”
  • An athlete who participates in organized practice sessions at their college or who begins the semester as a full-time student but then chooses to leave for another college will be considered a transfer student-athlete and will be required to satisfy the transfer rules to be eligible at their new college.

If you have questions about any of these reminders or any other issues that concern you, schedule a confidential eligibility consult online, via email at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

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.