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The Spring semester has started or will be starting soon at most colleges across the country. This is a good opportunity to remind our readers about the current rules and waivers that are in effect regarding seasons of competition and eligibility.

I’ve summarized the information by level and broken it down by Spring Sports and Fall Sports.

As you review the information, please keep in mind that the rules and/or waivers that have been approved are likely different for the traditional Spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, etc.) as compared to those that have been approved for traditional Fall sports that will now be competing this Spring (volleyball, soccer, etc.).

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by writing to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235. You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online.

NCAA Division I Current Rulings

NCAA Division I student-athletes in Fall or Winter sports who are eligible to compete during their season will not be charged with a season of competition used, regardless of the number of contests or dates of competition that they appear in.

For Division I student-athletes in Spring sports, the NCAA has not issued any guidance at this point in time. I’m sure that the Division I leaders don’t want to further “clog up” and overload their Spring sport rosters in the next year or two by giving Spring athletes a 2nd free season of eligibility.

Therefore, I believe that Division I Spring sport athletes should move forward under the assumption that any appearance in a game this Spring for their team will be counted as using one of their permissible seasons of competition.

NCAA Division II Season of Competition Waiver Status

The NCAA Division II Management Council has granted blanket waivers for Fall and Winter sport student-athletes to receive an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

DII Fall and Winter sport athletes will receive these waivers regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year AS LONG AS they are eligible for competition.

Waivers for an additional season of competition and an additional year of eligibility are also possible for Division II Spring sport athletes.

HOWEVER, the rules regarding a waiver for Spring are different.

For Spring sport athletes to qualify for these waivers, they must be eligible to compete and the individual athlete and their team must not participate in more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests or dates of competition.

If a Division II team or individual student-athlete does participate in more than 50% of the maximum number of competitions, those athletes will be charged with a season of competition used and a term (or terms) of enrollment toward their 10 semester or 15 quarter limit if the athlete appeared in a contest.

NCAA Division III Waiver for ALL Current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL eligible D3 student-athletes this year. These student-athletes can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

An important factor to note is that a Division III athlete can receive these waivers as long as the athlete is or was eligible for competition during at least one term of the 2020-21 academic year.

NAIA Season of Competition Waiver Status

The current status of waivers for NAIA student-athletes happens to be the same as for NCAA Division II student-athletes described above.

NAIA Fall and Winter sport student-athletes will be able to receive a waiver regardless of the number of contests that they compete in, as long as they are academically eligible for competition.

Spring sport athletes will only receive a waiver if they and their team compete in no more than 50% of the maximum number of contests in that particular sport.

NJCAA Will Not Count 2020-21 Sport Seasons

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow student-athletes in ALL sports – Fall, Winter, and Spring – to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for NJCAA athletes to know that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to an NCAA or an NAIA four-year college.

For questions about the rules and requirements for transfer eligibility from a two-year college to a four-year program, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult online, or contact us directly at 913-766-1235 or rick@informedathlete.com.

CCCAA Spring Participation Plan

The California Community College Athletic Association has not issued any updates on their website regarding waivers or season participation plans since July 9, 2020. Their sport participation plan is that all sport seasons will take place this Spring.

The following sports were scheduled to begin organized practices on Monday, January 18 with competition beginning in early February:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Women’s Golf
  • Soccer
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Remaining CCCAA sports are scheduled to begin organized practices on March 27 with the first date of competition in those sports being April 10.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about these waivers at any level of college athletics, contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or calling 913-766-1235.

You can also schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consultation online if you’d like information and assistance specific to your student-athlete’s situation.

The NCAA has made several rulings recently that will impact student-athletes’ eligibility at Division I, II, and III.  In addition, the NJCAA has recently granted a blanket waiver for student-athletes in all sports.  These rulings are summarized below in this post.

NCAA Division I Midyear Enrollee Ruling

“Emergency legislation” which impacts midyear enrollees at a Division I program specifically for Fall sport athletes has been adopted by the NCAA Division I Council.

This ruling applies to both transfer athletes as well as initial enrollees from high school or prep school.

This recent decision revises a position taken earlier this Fall by Division I which would have prevented athletes in a traditional Fall sport from transferring at midyear and then being immediately eligible in the Spring at another university.

  • This will now be possible for Fall Sports athletes who satisfy certain conditions.
  • Student-athletes who are considering such a transfer (or midyear enrollment from high school) must satisfy specific conditions in order to take advantage of this ruling.

NCAA Division II Winter Sport Athletes Receive Expanded Eligibility Waiver

Recently, the NCAA Division II Management Council granted winter sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an additional year (two semesters or three quarters) added to their eligibility clock.

All eligible winter sport athletes in Division II will receive this additional opportunity regardless of the number of games they appear in or the number of games that their team is able to play during this 2020-21 academic year. This is consistent with action taken previously for Division II Fall sport athletes.

NCAA Division III Grants Waiver for ALL current Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division III Presidents Council has approved a blanket waiver that will benefit ALL D3 student-athletes this year. They can compete in up to a full season in their sport without being charged with a season of participation or a term of attendance toward their 10-semester or 15-quarter limit.

While the NCAA’s press release did not provide this level of detail, you can be certain that an athlete must be academically eligible to compete this season in order to receive the benefit of this blanket waiver.

NJCAA Grants Waiver for Student-Athletes in ALL Sports

The NJCAA Board of Regents has granted a blanket waiver that will allow athletes at NJCAA member colleges in ALL sports to participate during the 2020-21 academic year without using a year of eligibility.

This decision obviously provides flexibility for current JUCO athletes regarding their opportunity to possibly compete for an additional season at this level before transferring to an NCAA or an NAIA university.

However, it will be important for them to keep in mind that there are specific academic requirements that they must satisfy for a successful transfer to the “next level.”

Do You Have Questions or Need Advice?

If you have questions about these recently rulings or any other eligibility situation, we can help answer your questions and discuss your student-athlete’s specific situation and options.

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

It seems that every college athletic organization and division is granting waivers for student-athletes to have an additional year of eligibility, or to have the season treated as if it never happened.

This is coming at the same time that some colleges are dropping sports programs because of the financial impact that the pandemic has had on college athletic budgets.

At some point, these actions will have a major impact on rosters at every level and, in some cases, already have.

Currently, college coaches are focused on coaching this current season and managing rosters that are changing frequently depending on testing outcomes. At this time, a student-athlete’s current eligibility is primary; their future eligibility status may not be a priority.

If you are concerned and would like to discuss how these changes could affect your student-athlete’s eligibility and place on a team roster, we can help sift through the confusion and discuss possible options and scenarios so you can make informed decisions about their current and future situation.

Schedule a confidential eligibility consult online or by calling us at 913-766-1235, or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion via Zoom regarding the various impacts of COVID on college athletics, ranging from eligibility questions to Title IX implications of sports programs being cut due to budget impacts.

Here’s a brief summary of the information I shared with participants regarding actions taken and waivers approved by the NCAA:

2020 Spring Sports – Athletes will not be charged with a season of competition as long as they were eligible during the season

  • Athletes in D-1 granted an additional year of eligibility on their clock
  • Athletes in D-2 granted an additional year if in their last year of eligibility
  • Athletes in D-3 treated as if semester “didn’t happen”

Fall 2020 Sport Athletes

  • D1 athletes not charged with a season and granted another year of eligibility
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season and granted another two semesters of eligibility
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted an additional 2 semesters.

20-21 Winter and Spring Sport athletes

  • D1 undetermined at this time
  • D2 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.
  • D3 athletes not charged with a season if their team doesn’t complete more than 50% of max schedule. Also granted additional 2 semesters.

Do you need have questions or need advice?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or at rick@informedathlete.com with questions about your athlete’s eligibility, or schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeals consult.

In most cases, any amount of participation in a game or contest against another team counts as a season of eligibility used.

The only way to get that season “over again” will be through a hardship waiver if the athlete incurs an injury or illness that is serious enough to be documented by a physician as a “season-ending” injury or illness.

There are specific limitations for the number of contests that an athlete can participate in and still qualify for a hardship waiver.  Here’s a link to an article we’ve written on this topic:    http://informedathlete.com/medical-hardship-waivers/

If your student-athlete is considering the possibility of a waiver, call us at 913-766-1235 if you’d like to discuss your situation in a private consultation.