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If a prospective student-athlete is being recruited by multiple Division I athletic programs and has an opportunity to “negotiate” for a multiyear scholarship from School A compared to a one-year renewable scholarship from School B, they should consider doing so.

The reason is that Division I schools are very limited in the reasons that they can use to take away a scholarship during the “period of the award.” Those reasons may not include a student-athlete’s athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success or any injury, illness or physical or mental health condition.

The “period of the award” for a multi-year scholarship is in effect from the first academic year in which an athletic scholarship is provided through the final year of scholarship offered, even if there are years in-between in which no scholarship is offered (e.g., 50 percent in year one, zero percent in year two, 50 percent in year three).

If you or your athlete have questions about how to navigate through various scholarship offer situations, we can help.  Schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult and we will explain how your student-athlete could be impacted in various situations.  With this information, you can make an informed decision that’s in your athlete’s and your family’s best interest.

In 2015, the NCAA Division I “Power 5” Schools implemented a rule that has the effect of “protecting” Division I student-athletes from having their athletic scholarship cancelled or not renewed for any athletics reason.  Quite simply, a coach cannot take away a scholarship for poor athletic performance.

Here are several facts about this rule:
– This new rule was voted in by the universities of the “Power 5” conferences – the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, and SEC, as well as Notre Dame. This rule must be followed by these 65 universities.
Other Division I schools and conferences can choose to follow this rule, but are not required to do so. So, an athlete receiving an athletic scholarship from a university that is NOT one of the 65 mentioned here might still receive a one-year scholarship which a coach can choose not to renew for the following academic year.
– The “protection” provided by this rule only applies to athletes who signed their National Letter of Intent and scholarship agreement after the new rule was approved in January of this year (at the NCAA Convention), will be enrolling in a Division I university as a freshman or new transfer this Fall, AND who will be receiving an athletic scholarship in their first year of enrollment.
– The rule will NOT apply to athletes who are not receiving an athletic scholarship in their first year of enrollment at their university. (Example: a volleyball player not receiving an athletic scholarship in their freshman year, but promised one in the following three years, will not receive the protection of this new rule.)
– It is still possible for universities to cancel or choose to not renew a scholarship for  reasons that are NOT related to athletic performance.

Cancellation or non-renewal IS possible if an athlete:

  • Is ruled to be ineligible for competition;
  • Provides fraudulent information on an application, letter of intent, or financial aid agreement;
  • Engages in serious misconduct that rises to the level of being disciplined by the university’s regular student disciplinary board;
  • Voluntarily quits their team; or
  • Violates a university policy or rule which is not related to athletic conditions or ability (such as a university policy on class attendance, or an athletic department policy regarding proper conduct on a team trip).

Despite this rule, there will still be some Division I coaches who want to take away the scholarship of an athlete who is not performing as well as the coach anticipated during the recruiting process.
My advice to athletes and parents is to review very carefully any athletic department rules and policies that spell out the non-athletic reasons that can be cited for the cancellation or non-renewal of an athletic scholarship.
If you have questions about the rules regarding athletic scholarships, or about recruiting rules, academic eligibility or transfer requirements, contact Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 or send an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com.