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The NCAA recently issued clarification for current Division II spring sport athletes regarding what will constitute the use of a “season of competition” as well as how a Division II spring sport athlete can qualify for an Extension of their eligibility for this Spring sports season.

Season of Competition:

A Division II spring sport athlete who plays during the season for a team that competes in more than 50% of the maximum number of contests or dates of competition for their sport will be charged with the use of a season.

If the athlete’s Division II team does NOT compete in more than 50% of the maximum number of contests or dates of competition for their sport, the athlete will NOT be charged with the use of a season.

Student-athletes in individual sports will be impacted by the same 50% threshold and must also account for any competition in which they are competing individually and not as part of a team competition.

Extension of Eligibility:

Division II student-athletes will be able to receive an Extension of one academic year (two semesters or three quarters) onto their eligibility “clock” as long as the student-athlete was eligible at some point during the academic year AND meets one of the following conditions:

    • Qualifies for a Season of Competition waiver (described in the first section above).
    • Spring sport season was cancelled due to pandemic.
    • Student-athlete opts out of participation in their sport at any time prior to the final game or date of competition.
    • Student-athlete doesn’t compete this season at all.

Possible Impact for a Division II Student-Athlete

Based on the Division II rulings for Spring sport athletes to receive an Extension of their eligibility, here are two examples of how a Division II spring sport student-athlete may be able to benefit from these rulings.

Scenario 1: A spring sport athlete was eligible during the Fall ’20 semester but is not academically eligible to compete this Spring season.

Even though this athlete did not satisfy academic requirements and is not eligible to compete this Spring, he or she can still receive the Extension of Eligibility for two more semesters. This is possible because the athlete was academically eligible during at least a portion of this academic year.

Scenario 2: Spring sport athlete is academically eligible this Spring and plays in the vast majority of the games or dates of competition in their sport, but then chooses to opt out late in the season.

(For this scenario, let’s assume this athlete has been playing with a minor injury this spring and wants to have one more healthy season, or they receive a season-ending injury late in the year just before postseason play begins.)

In this scenario, the athlete will be charged with a season of competition for this Spring 2021 participation since their team competed in more than 50% of a normal season.

However, as long as this athlete still has at least one more season of competition available, he or she will qualify for the Extension of eligibility for two more semesters because they chose to opt out before the end of the season.

We know that these special NCAA rulings can be confusing!

If you have questions and need help understanding how these rules could impact your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online, call 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.