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It’s the time of year when the NCAA is starting to publicize proposed rule changes that will be voted on at the annual NCAA Convention in January. I’ll highlight those that will likely be of most interest to student-athletes and families.

Division I

The Division I Council has introduced a proposal to reduce the number of official visits a men’s basketball recruit can take to a Division I university from five to three during each of three periods:

  • Junior year of high school.
  • Senior year of high school.
  • After high school graduation (for a transfer or during a prep school year for example).

The proposal would also reduce the length of official visits in men’s basketball to 36 hours from 48. Members of the Council believe many student-athletes are taking official visits simply because they can and not because they intend to attend a school.

Division II

If approved, the Division II transfer rules will be revised to more closely align with the Division I transfer rules. Perhaps the most important revision would be that a Division II coach or athletic department would not be able to object to a student-athlete’s opportunity to be eligible in their first year at their new university.

The Division II transfer rules would be revised to:

  • Require a transferring student-athlete to view an NCAA-produced educational video before an institution may enter the student-athlete’s information into the NCAA Transfer Portal;
  • Eliminate the previous institution’s ability to object to use of the one-time transfer exception;
  • Require the new head coach and the student-athlete to certify in writing that they had no direct or indirect contact about a possible transfer prior to the student-athlete entering the Transfer Portal;
  • Establish June 15 as the date by which a student-athlete must enter the Transfer Portal to utilize the one-time transfer exception (not applicable to midyear transfers); and
  • Permit institutions to reduce or cancel an athletics aid agreement previously signed for the next academic year.

Division III

The Division III Presidents Council is supporting a proposal that would change the current “season of participation” rule to specify that only actual competition against another institution would trigger the use of a season.

  • A student-athlete would be charged with the use of a season of eligibility if the student-athlete competes at any point during the traditional season in their sport.

Please note that these rule changes are not currently planned to take effect until next June. We will be updating you and confirming the approval of these proposals when that occurs.

In the meantime, if you have questions about any of these proposals, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

If your student-athlete has been told that they won’t be academically eligible at their NCAA school this year or this semester and you don’t know what to do, Informed Athlete can help.  We’ll discuss the situation with you to advise possible options that your student-athlete may be able to consider.

Possible options – which can be stressful when there’s very little time to make a decision – might include enrolling at a different college, returning to a junior college for another semester, or discussing a possible academic waiver with your athlete’s college.

A waiver may be possible when there is sufficient documentation of a circumstance that impacted your athlete’s academic performance when they have an otherwise strong academic record.

In a confidential Waivers and Appeals consultation, we will answer your questions and explain the directives that the NCAA uses to review waiver applications. We’ll also discuss the type of supporting documentation that will need to be submitted along with the application.

We also routinely assist athletes and their families by reviewing the athlete’s personal statements and suggesting possible revisions to have more impact and make a stronger case for approval.

If you have questions, please call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

We’ve recently been receiving a number of questions about the rules and academic requirements for a 4-2-4 transfer (from a four-year college to a two-year college, and then transferring to another four-year college).

This type of transfer can be useful for various situations, but here are three of the most common:

  • An athlete wants to leave their four-year college to have a better playing opportunity in their sport and to then be “re-recruited” back to the four-year college level.
  • An athlete needs to focus on their academic responsibilities, raise their GPA, and then return to the four-year college level (perhaps even to the four-year college they previously attended).
  • Or, an athlete simply wants to attend a less-expensive college closer to home while they determine where they want to eventually enroll to earn their four-year degree.

The confusing part about the 4-2-4 transfer rules

The academic requirements and other rules (such as number of semesters required at the two-year college) are different depending upon whether the athlete will end up at the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, or NAIA level.

Of course, the natural question then becomes “How do I know what requirements to satisfy if I’m not even sure what college level – let alone the specific college – that I’m going to end up at??”

This is a situation in which one of our confidential consultations can be very helpful to explain these specific rules and the differences between the rules for different divisions. We can also provide a detailed Transcript Review to advise on your athlete’s progress toward satisfying these academic requirements.

For help in navigating the academic requirements and rules for a successful transfer, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

I’m certain that our daughter would have fallen through the cracks and not been deemed an NCAA Qualifier without your help. We contacted you just in time so that we could advocate on her behalf with her high school and communicate effectively with her college. Her unique course load in high school made this a challenge. I’m excited to report that she’s been deemed a Qualifier and is competing now with her team.

Father of a D I softball player

The worst thing I had to do when I worked on campus was tell a student-athlete they weren’t academically eligible and couldn’t play their sport.

Eligibility issues affect student-athletes at all levels from high school, to junior college, and 4-year universities. Not knowing, understanding, and meeting the eligibility rules can have serious short and long-term consequences. Problems meeting the eligibility standards can set back and even derail a student-athlete’s entire athletic career.

Eligibility Rules are different at each level (NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA), each division (NCAA Division I, II, III), and even at different conferences and schools.

Do You Need Assistance?

If you or your athlete is unsure about their eligibility status, we can help by providing a confidential private phone or Skype consultation. During the Eligibility Issues Consult, we will discuss your situation, answer any questions you may have and if needed, help determine your best set of “next steps.”

Schedule your eligibility consultation online, call us at 913-766-1235, or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

If you are a college athlete who is going to take summer courses from a college or university other than the one you were enrolled this spring, you should keep these points in mind.

If you are taking the summer course to gain additional credit hours toward your degree requirements:

Check with your academic advisor to confirm that the course can be transferred back to your current college or university and will count toward your degree requirements.

If you are taking the summer course to improve your GPA:

Call the Office of the Registrar at your college or university to ask whether the summer course will impact your GPA, or whether it will only impact the credit hours you need for your degree. Such policies can vary from one college to another.

Do you have questions?

Give Informed Athlete® a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com if you have questions about this information or other eligibility issues.

Recruited high-school student-athletes CAN double-sign a National Letter of Intent.  

Double-signing with an NCAA team and a NJCAA team provides an Option A and an Option B if a high-school athlete does not satisfy the academic requirements for NCAA eligibility and is classified as a NCAA Non-Qualifier.

A high-school athlete is NOT allowed to sign an NLI with two NCAA teams, even if one is an NCAA Division I and the other is a DII. A high-school recruited athlete is also not allowed to sign with two junior college teams.

A word of caution: There can be a down-side of signing.  For example, a high-school athlete is a NCAA Qualifier, signs with an NCAA school and a Junior College, but then decides to go to the Junior College for whatever reason.  In this case, the student-athlete will have to obtain an NLI release from the NCAA school.

In addition, there will be additional requirements that must be met if that same athlete does not get their release from the NCAA school, attends and plays for the Junior College school and then wants to transfer to another NCAA school in the future.

If your high-school athlete is considering double-signing, we can discuss the various scenarios available and save you potential heartaches and money down the road. Click here to schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consultation or call our office at 913-766-1235.

This past week we received multiple requests from families for options their student-athlete can consider if he or she chooses to withdraw from all classes and leave their college now in the middle of the semester.

We often advise that the student-athlete not leave unless they have a well thought out plan in place.  The plan should include considering their current and future NCAA academic eligibility status, and how it affects their scholarship obligations.   A potential transfer to another school and the steps involved is another important consideration.

We have advised many student-athletes and prepared such a plan so that they don’t damage their future eligibility. When working with student-athletes and their families, the most important aspect of the plan is to review and discuss the academic eligibility requirements that must be satisfied to make sure they will be eligible at their next college.

If you have a student-athlete who is considering leaving their college before the “drop/add date” or one who just wants to plan ahead for a possible transfer at the end of this school year, we can work with and guide you through the transfer process. To schedule your personalized, confidential consultation, call our office at 913-766-1235.

The Division I Transfer Working Group continues to gather information and feedback from coaches, athletic administrators, and student-athletes to develop proposed rule changes which they intend to “…improve the transfer environment for colleges athletes, coaches, and teams.”

It appears that the Working Group will be proposing a change from the current need for an athlete to request permission prior to contacting other colleges about a transfer to instead simply notifying their current university that they intend to transfer.

While this proposed change may appear to make it easier for an athlete to transfer if they are not required to obtain permission before contacting coaches at other schools, athletes and families should keep in mind that it’s quite possible they will immediately be removed from their team and barred from training facilities once they provide such notification, even if they don’t yet know where they want to transfer.

Just last week, the Division I Committee on Academics met in-person and provided additional feedback for the Transfer Working Group to consider.  The Committee on Academics relied heavily on statistical data provided directly by NCAA schools, as well as from other sources, on such factors as grade-point average, the timing of a transfer, the percentage of degree completion, and gaps in enrollment.

Regarding potential rule changes and the opportunity for an athlete to be immediately eligible when transferring to a Division I university from another four-year college, the key points of feedback provided to the Transfer Working Group by the Committee on Academics were:

  • An athlete’s cumulative grade-point average should be a factor to determine eligibility,
  • An athlete’s progress toward their degree should also be a factor, and
  • The academic requirements for eligibility may differ depending upon an athlete’s year in college.

The key takeaway from these points is that an athlete’s academic standing and progress toward earning their degree may become even more important than they currently are now in determining eligibility when transferring to another university.

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com to arrange a consultation call if you have questions about the current academic requirements for immediate eligibility as a transfer athlete. 

Some NCAA Division I coaches have been denying student-athletes’ permission to talk to other four-year colleges about a possible transfer unless the student-athlete has a GPA of at least 2.600.

This can happen when teams are in danger of being penalized for a low “Academic Progress Rate (APR).”

An NCAA Division I athlete with a 2.500 GPA  could be academically eligible to compete the next season if they were staying at their current school, and could meet the transfer eligibility requirements to be immediately eligible at another 4-year college.

However, that same student-athlete might be denied permission to speak with coaches and athletic staff about a possible transfer to another school simply because their current team could lose an APR retention point.

If you or your student-athlete is considering a transfer to another school and you need help navigating through the process, call Informed Athlete at 913-766-1235 to schedule a consult!

This picture hit the national media this week.This picture hit the national media this week.
You may or may not agree with this Dad’s tactics to get his son’s attention, however, he is correct about the importance of academics before sports.
In fact, the NCAA has recently increased the academic requirements for a student-athlete to be eligible to play their sport.
The hardest thing I had to do when I worked on campus was tell an athlete they weren’t eligible to play their sport because they hadn’t met the core course requirements for eligibility!
This is why we created Informed Athlete’s Freshman Eligibility & Transcript Review service so we can help high school athletes and parents be better informed and prepared without unpleasant surprises!

With a Freshman Eligibility and Transcript Review, we will:

  • Explain the freshman eligibility requirements and how they affect your athlete.
  • Compare the courses completed with the courses approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Provide a written assessment of the subjects that need to be completed to satisfy initial eligibility requirements.
  • Review your ACT or SAT test scores, and determine the GPA that will be needed for eligibility, and
  • Suggest steps and discuss a plan of action that may be available to satisfy the eligibility requirements.

For more information, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com