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Actions applicable to all 3 NCAA Divisions

Schools are prohibited from requiring student-athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation.

Schools are required to review current insurance coverage for all student-athletes who are competing this fall and to provide that coverage information to student-athletes.

Student-athletes must be informed about the health risks involved and the steps being taken by their university to mitigate those risks as mandated in the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport document.

Actions specific to NCAA Division I

The Division I Board of Directors instructed appropriate committees and staff to work on plans for hosting scaled-back Fall-sport championships in the Spring. This work will include determining the size of each championship bracket, and the manner in which the championships are to be conducted.

All Division I Fall-sport athletes will be granted an additional season of eligibility and an additional year on their eligibility “clock” through a blanket waiver.

Any Division I athlete who chooses to opt out of their Fall sport due to Covid-19 must not have their scholarship cancelled or reduced for that reason.

Student-athletes who do not enroll full time during the 2020 fall term have flexibility in satisfying the academic progress-toward-degree requirements that must be met for eligibility in future terms.

Actions specific to NCAA Division II

Any Division II student-athlete who chooses by October 1 to opt out of their sport during the 2020-21 academic year must not have their scholarship cancelled or reduced for that reason.

If a Division II student-athlete opts out after October 1, their university can choose to continue the athletic scholarship for that athlete but will not be required to do so.

Division II student-athletes who opt out and don’t participate in their sport will receive an automatic extension of their eligibility by two semesters or three quarters.

Student-athletes who opt out after participating in competition, or who are not able to participate in more than 50% of their season will have the opportunity to receive a season-of-competition waiver so that they will not be charged with the use of a season. These athletes will also receive an automatic extension of their eligibility by two semesters or three quarters.

Action specific to NCAA Division III

Division III student-athletes who are enrolled full-time and choose to opt out of all activity in their sport (including opting out of all practices and team activities before the date of the first contest) will receive an automatic extension of their eligibility by two semesters or three quarters.

Do you have questions?

For questions about any of these recent NCAA actions and how they impact your specific athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online, or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

Last week, we informed you about directives issued to NCAA schools and conferences by the NCAA Board of Governors.

Here’s a link to that article: https://informedathlete.com/ncaa-directive-to-di-dii-and-diii-schools-regarding-covid-concerns/

In last week’s article, I explained that “Athletes in all divisions must be granted the opportunity by their university to opt out of participation this year due to concerns of COVID-19.”

While I expect that the NCAA directive on giving student-athletes the opportunity to opt out from competition will extend into the Spring, the NCAA’s directive at this point so far only specifically refers to Fall sports and Fall championships.

No later than August 14, each NCAA Division must decide the rules that will apply to the eligibility of athletes who choose to opt out this year or for those athletes whose seasons are cancelled or cut short due to COVID-19.

I anticipate that student-athletes in those situations will be held responsible for satisfying certain conditions in order to retain their athletic scholarship and their eligibility.

  • Certainly, maintaining their academic eligibility by continuing to make progress toward their degree will be one of those conditions.
  • Participating in required team meetings and other team activities will also be required to retain their scholarship.

In addition, the Board of Governors has stated that “College athletes and their families must know what their eligibility status will be before beginning the Fall season.”

This means that NCAA athletic departments at all three divisions should be communicating with their student-athletes regarding the requirements that will need to be satisfied to maintain their eligibility moving forward, especially for those athletes who choose to opt out.

The Board also indicated that the three NCAA divisions “…must determine by August 21 whether their respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year.”

NCAA Division II and III have already announced that their Fall championships are cancelled.

The NCAA has mandated that their “return-to-sport guidelines” from the NCAA Sport Science Institute must be followed if competition is to take place this Fall.

Those guidelines are extensive and may be changed as needed due to evolving health concerns. Rather than list those extensive guidelines here, you can follow the link below if you’d like to review them:

http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/resocialization-collegiate-sport-developing-standards-practice-and-competition

Do you Have Questions?

These are unprecedented times with much confusion and uncertainty. If you would like to discuss your athlete’s specific situation, Informed Athlete can help lessen your stress, answer your questions, and discuss options available for your athlete. Schedule an eligibility issues consult online, by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

NCAA Division III leadership will permit D3 student-athletes to retain a season of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team can only complete 50% or less of the maximum permissible competition in their sport.

For those of you who may not know, Division III rules do not recognize a “redshirt” season for a student-athlete in the same way that NCAA Division I and II do.

In Division III, an athlete uses one of their four “seasons of participation” if they as much as just practice with their team on or after the day that begins their sport season – even if they never appear in an actual game for their team during that season.

With this blanket waiver in place, a D3 student-athlete will not be charged with one of their four seasons of participation for the 2020-21 academic year if their team is not able to compete in at least 50% of the maximum competitions or dates of competition that are permissible in their sport.

The Division III Administrative Committee noted that “The proactive blanket waiver allows student-athletes to make informed enrollment decisions prior to the academic year.”

If you would like to schedule a confidential discussion to review how this blanket waiver may impact your student-athlete, as well as how the season of participation rule overlaps with the Division III rule limiting participation to 10 semesters or 15 quarters of attendance, schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals Consult online or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling us at 913-766-1235.

The July 1st deadline for NCAA Division I and II schools to notify scholarship student-athletes of the status of their athletic scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year has passed.

However, there are still some scholarship issues that can impact athletes – In this particular case, incoming baseball recruits.

On a recent baseball forum that I follow, there was a report of a coach who has reportedly asked multiple recruits to “release themselves” from their National Letter of Intent that they had signed with that program. Reasons that the coach cited for this request included:

  • The number of seniors who are returning for another season of eligibility
  • The number of juniors who would have likely been drafted this year but for the MLB draft being shortened to just 5 rounds.

As you can imagine, this puts these baseball athletes in a very difficult position.

(A similar situation could possibly happen in any sport, but it happens most often in baseball.)

An athlete in that situation could tell the coach that he intends to enroll at the university, work his tail off and receive the scholarship that he signed for.

As long as an athlete satisfies all of the university’s admission requirements and the NCAA requirements to be a Qualifier, the university would be required to honor that scholarship.

However, doing that places the athlete in a very awkward position.

He would already be starting off at a disadvantage by joining the team of a head coach and staff who expressly told him that they didn’t want him there on scholarship.

On the other hand, does this athlete have a realistic chance of finding another team to join and another university that will permit him to enroll at this late date?

If you have or know an athlete who is in a similar situation, let them know about our confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult, or have them contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com

The NCAA Division II Administrative Committee has confirmed the following eligibility updates as a result of COVID-19:

For student-athletes who were granted an additional season of eligibility at a Junior College, NAIA, or another NCAA Division, those athletes will be able to transfer to an NCAA Division II program and their eligibility status will be honored.

Current senior athletes at a Division II university who choose to return for another season next year can receive an athletic scholarship which will be exempt from counting against team limits during the 2020-21 academic year.

  • That exemption will only apply, however, for student-athletes who remain at their current university.
  • An athlete who receives an athletic scholarship upon transfer to an NCAA Division II program from another university must have that scholarship counted toward team scholarship limits for the 2020-21 academic year.

If your student-athlete needs accurate, objective information on how this affects their eligibility and options, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online or contact Rick Allen by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Last week, I listened to a records conference call tin which NCAA Division I representatives provided updates and answered questions for a group of Division I athletic directors and conference commissioners.

Key takeaways from the conference call

On March 30, the NCAA Division I Council will vote on these issues:

  • Whether all Division I spring sport student-athletes will be able to receive an additional season of eligibility. They had previously agreed in principle to the “concept” of all Division I spring sport athletes receiving an additional year of eligibility, but no official decision has been made at this point.
  • Whether Division I winter sport student-athletes will be able to receive an additional season of eligibility.
  • Whether the scholarship limits for Division I spring sports will be increased for next year, and whether a 6th year of eligibility will be offered to all spring sport athletes or only to those who are currently in their last year of their “five-year clock.”
  • They will also address the impact of an additional year of eligibility for those student-athletes who transfer to an NCAA Division I university from another college level.

Will NCAA “Dead Period” be Extended?

Based on input from the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer and the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, we should expect that the current NCAA “Dead Period” prohibiting in-person recruiting activity will be extended beyond the current imposed date of April 15. We should learn more about that after another NCAA conference call scheduled for April 1.

Transfer Waiver Issue

Discussion of a possible Transfer Waiver which will allow scholarship athletes in Baseball, Basketball, Football and Men’s Ice Hockey a one-time opportunity to transfer and be eligible the following year at another Division I school has been pushed back from the NCAA Division I Council’s April meeting to their June meeting.