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As the Fall semester winds down, we are being contacted by a large number of student-athletes who are trying to decide whether to transfer now or at the end of the Spring semester.

For those sports that cross over both the fall and spring semester – such as basketball, swimming, diving, indoor track, or wrestling – an athlete who competed in that sport during the fall semester, will most likely not be able to be immediately eligible if they transfer to another college for the spring semester.

Transfers are not one-size fits all. Many times a student-athlete has more than one option to accomplish their goals and retain or possibly extend their eligibility.  In that case, we recommend at Transfer Assessment Summary.

  • Transfer Assessment Summary lays out all the options available and includes “what if” scenarios so that the athlete and their family can review and make the decision that’s in their best interest going forward.  If you’re interested in this services, please call our office at 913-766-1235.

If you don’t feel you need a Transfer Assessment Summary but would like to discuss your particular situation confidentially, we recommend a phone consult with Rick:

  • Confidential Transfer Phone Consult where we discuss your particular situation and guide you through the required steps in a transfer to another college with the least amount of stress.  Schedule your consult online or call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

 

Here are 3 scenarios that I frequently hear then I’m contacted by student-athletes or their families regarding the transfer process.  In each of these cases, the NCAA Division I student-athlete was planning to transfer and was ready to, or already had, resigned from their team, and in one case, the student-athlete had already withdrawn from classes at his current college.

Read further to learn what happened:

Case A:
The student-athlete made up his mind to transfer, and requested permission from his coach to contact other schools.  He informed the coach that he was going to finish out the semester in school, but wasn’t going to continue as a team member in team practice.
Result:  He called me the next day to ask about the rules when he found out that his athletic scholarship was being cancelled immediately, potentially costing him and his family thousands of dollars.  At that point, it was too late to help him. 

Case B:
The student-athlete learned through a friend of an opportunity at another college, and withdrew from his classes to pursue this other opportunity. Unfortunately, he had already begun attending classes for this semester at his current school.
Result:  The family contacted me to confirm that if he didn’t complete this semester where he was, that he wouldn’t be eligible next Fall at the new college.  He did indeed have to get re-admitted to classes for this semester at his current school and complete this semester.

Case C:
The father of a student-athlete sent this e-mail:
“He is still there, enrolled for the Spring semester, but called me tonight and plans to resign from the team tomorrow and request permission to transfer.  If he resigns from the team, is the school still obligated to pay his room and board payments after his resignation through the end of the semester?  He thinks they would since he signed a one year scholarship.”
Result: Because this father contacted me prior to his son’s conversation with the coach to fully understand the consequences of his son’s plan and discuss how to properly handle this situation, he saved nearly $5000 in room and board benefits that his son would have lost had he resigned from his team.

It’s always better and less expensive to understand the rules and how they apply to your situation BEFORE costly mistakes are made! 

In 2 of the above cases, if the parent or student-athlete had contacted me BEFORE they took action, I could have advised them on how to handle the situation and helped save them potentially thousands of dollars and/or alot of stress that resulted.

In the 3rd case, I was able to head off a negative outcome by alerting the parent and student-athlete to what would happen if the student-athlete quit the team in the middle of the semester.  We then discussed how to navigate through the rest of the semester to result in the student-athlete’s ultimate desired outcome.

I have worked on both sides of the cases related above.  In my 26+ years of working on major DI college campuses as the Director of Compliance, I’ve had to inform many student-athletes that their scholarships were cancelled after they quit the team.

One of the reasons we started Informed Athlete was to help student-athletes and their families avoid situations like this.

In my 10+ years of advising student-athletes and their families through Informed Athlete, I’ve helped hundreds of student-athletes avoid situations where this type of thing happens, saving them thousands of dollars and all kinds of stress.

In order to help you understand the rules and how they apply to your unique situation, I recommend a private phone consultation.

We’ll discuss your situation, answer any questions, and we’ll review the rules that apply and what is/isn’t permissible.  I’ll also give you options as to the opportunities that might be available to your athlete. Many times both the parent(s) and the student-athlete are on the call and I coach the student-athlete on how to approach and what to say to the coach.

To schedule a CONFIDENTIAL phone consult, you can schedule online, call us directly at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

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. 

I’m often asked by high school student-athletes or parents if it’s possible to “double-sign” with a Junior College and an NCAA institution. Because they are separate organizations, it is possible to sign a letter of intent with a school in each organization.

Since it’s best not to burn any bridges, student-athletes and parents should consider being honest with the schools about the double-signing so that the college coaches don’t get caught off-guard. You never know when you might choose to transfer to that other school that you signed with.

In some sports, primarily football and baseball, double-signing can actually be a good scholarship strategy under the right circumstances:

For example, a high round baseball draft choice may sign a letter of intent with a Junior College as well as with an NCAA school, to keep open the option of playing at the junior college for one year, and then have the opportunity to be drafted again the following year.

In the case of that baseball draft choice in the example above, what will happen in the case of an injury and the athlete is not drafted as hoped? The athlete will want to be eligible to play when he transfers to the NCAA university.

Regardless of the reason that an athlete starts their college career at a junior college, athletes who do this should keep in mind the NCAA eligibility and transfer rules that may apply to them should they end up transferring from the JUCO to an NCAA Division I or II program.

Also, for high school prospects who sign a National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program, but decide to enroll in a JUCO instead, remember that the NLI that you signed remains binding upon you until you graduate from the JUCO or until you are released from the NLI by the school that you signed with.

If you have questions about this article or anything else related to recruiting, transfers, scholarships, or eligibility, please call Informed Athlete at 913-766-1235 or send me an email to rick@informedathlete.com.