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The NCAA Board of Governors announced the following directives and guidelines on Wednesday.

1. 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.

2. Athletes on a scholarship for their sport must have their scholarship honored by their university this year if they choose to opt out.

3. Each NCAA Division must determine no later than Aug. 14 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. (Divisions II and III have already done this to a large degree. See sections later in this newsletter regarding action already taken by Divisions II and III.)

4. NCAA schools will not be allowed to require athletes to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of being allowed to participate in their sport this year (if the athlete chooses to participate this year rather than opting out).

5. The NCAA will establish a special phone number and email address where student-athletes and parents will be able to report situations in which their university is not honoring these directives and guidelines.

Regarding item #3 above, I anticipate that student-athletes who choose to opt out – especially those receiving an athletic scholarship – 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 likely be required to retain their scholarship.

We will share any updated information and updates from the NCAA as they become available.

Do you have questions or need advice?

If you have questions or want to discuss your athlete’s specific situation, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consultation online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

Most colleges are getting ready to start classes for the Fall semester.

A question that we often receive this time of year is whether a student-athlete can withdraw from classes without a “penalty.” They might wish to do this because of second thoughts about their college choice, or due to injury or illness.

If your student-athlete has already started attending their college classes this Fall as a full-time enrolled student, withdrawing from their classes could negatively impact their athletic eligibility now and possibly in the future at their current college, or at a new college that they might transfer to.

Dropping a course later in the term to avoid a failing grade that will hurt the GPA may be OK, but encourage them to finish the semester or quarter before they withdraw or transfer to another college so that they don’t lose all their credits for this term.

To discuss a potential withdrawal situation and how it could impact your athlete, schedule a confidential Eligibility Consult online or contact us at 913-766-1235.

In college athletics, any amount of participation in a game or contest against another team may count as a “season of eligibility.”

The only way to get that season “over again” is through a hardship waiver.  The most common hardship waiver is a medical hardship waiver.  A medical hardship waiver can be considered 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.

However, 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/

For specific questions about the rules regarding the use of a “season of competition” or a Medical Hardship Waiver, call us at 913-766-1235 or send us an email to rick@informedathlete.com to request a phone consultation.