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Now that the Fall sports season is about 5-6 weeks along, here are reminders for athletes who have questions about redshirting and the possibility of receiving a Medical Redshirt or what is officially called a Medical Hardship Waiver.

  • The “4-game-rule” which permits an athlete to appear in up to 4 games and still be eligible for a redshirt season ONLY applies to NCAA DI athletes in FBS or FCS football. There is no “4-game-rule” in any other sport at the Division I level, or for any sport at other college levels.
  • Entering a game for one minute or one play will “burn” a season for an athlete unless they have an injury or illness that will qualify them for a Medical Redshirt. There are very limited exceptions for this rule in certain sports.
  • At all college levels (except the NAIA), for an athlete to qualify for a Medical Hardship Waiver, their injury of illness must occur before the midpoint of the athlete’s season and they must have medical documentation of the injury or illness dated prior to the midpoint of the season.

Do You Have Questions?

To find out if your student-athlete might qualify for a waiver or appeal, we offer a confidential Waivers & Appeals consult. During the confidential private consult, Rick will ask questions to determine if your student-athlete qualifies and provide available options and best set of “next steps.”

Click here to learn more and schedule online or contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Last week on our Informed Athlete Facebook page I shared a brief comment about an article from a University of Kentucky fan website. The article noted the football coach responding “No” when asked whether their injured quarterback would qualify for a medical redshirt for this season after receiving a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 7.

This is an example of athletes receiving inaccurate eligibility information from a coach, even one who’s been in the business for many years. After all, coaches are hired and paid to win games and they have other athletic department staff members who focus on eligibility issues.

The Case Study

The athlete in this case is Terry Wilson, quarterback at the University of Kentucky. (Note – Terry Wilson is not a client of Informed Athlete). He certainly should qualify for a medical “redshirt” (officially called a medical hardship waiver) for this season, and also for a 6th year of eligibility.

According to Wilson’s publicly available timeline:

  • He started at the University of Oregon by enrolling early in the Spring of 2016 for spring practice.
  • Redshirted during that freshman season of Fall 2016.
  • Transferred to a JUCO in Kansas and played there during the 2017 season.
  • He then transferred to Kentucky where he is now in his second season and year four of his Division I “five-year clock.”

His “clock” will expire after the 2020 football season.

However, because Wilson redshirted during his true freshman season at Oregon and has now suffered a season-ending knee injury at Kentucky, his situation certainly appears to meet the NCAA guidelines to receive an “Extension of Eligibility” waiver and 6th year to play football during the 2021 season if he chooses to do so.

Do You Need Help?

Many times, student-athletes don’t realize they qualify for waivers or appeals that could possibly extend their eligibility, make them immediately eligible for competition, or even allow for a scholarship or appeal hearing.

We provide confidential phone consultations to answer questions and discuss your specific situation. Schedule your consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Perhaps the most important factor in a Medical Hardship Waiver request is the medical documentation to substantiate the injury.

The best case scenario for an athlete to be granted a medical hardship waiver is that the medical documentation from the actual time of the injury or diagnosis state that “this athlete is not yet released to return to full competition in their sport” or a similar statement.

When no such statement is included and it is unclear whether the injury is serious enough to prevent the athlete from competing in their sport, it is less certain that the NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA will approve the Waiver request.

In addition, when an athlete has not competed at all during a season, even though they had an injury during that season, often times the athletic department will not submit a Medical Hardship Waiver because they are considering that season to be a basic redshirt season.This is because a season of competition wasn’t triggered for the athlete.

It can still be beneficial to process the Medical Hardship Waiver, or at the least, be certain to retain the medical documentation from that injury.  The documentation will be very important in the future of the athlete happens to become injured again and miss a second season of competition.In that situation, it would be possible for the athlete to obtain an extension of their eligibility “clock” and add another year of eligibility.

This is possible when an athlete has missed not just one, but more than one season of competition due to injury or illness.

We can prepare Medical Hardship Waivers or “clock extension” waivers when a college athletic department is not experienced with that process or their workload is such that they are reluctant to prepare the waiver.

To discuss your athlete’s specific situation and their opportunity for a Medical Hardship Waiver or even an extension of their eligibility “clock”, contact us at 913-766-1235 or e-mail rick@informedathlete.com.