Trip Ell is a baseball student-athlete at Ocean State University (OSU). Trip is not on athletic aid, but he is receiving an institutional scholarship based on his academic success. As part of the application for this scholarship, Trip was asked to list his achievements and extracurricular activities. Trip included both athletic and academic accomplishments. Since the application did not specifically request information related to Trip’s athletic participation and the selection committee will not use such information when determining scholarship recipients, can OSU certify that this scholarship is unrelated to athletics ability and therefore not consider Trip to be a counter for the baseball team?
Yes. NCAA Official Interpretation- 3/12/12- Certification of Institutional Aid Unrelated to Athletics Ability (I)- states that an institution is not permitted to certify that a student-athlete’s institutional financial aid is unrelated in any degree to athletics ability if the student-athlete’s athletics participation or achievements are criteria specifically requested as part of the application process for such aid. An institution may certify that the student-athlete’s aid is unrelated in any degree to athletics ability (even if the student-athlete lists athletics participation or achievements as part of his or her extracurricular activities), provided such factors were not specifically requested as part of the application process and were not taken into consideration in awarding the institutional aid to the student-athlete.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 15.5.1 (counters), 188.8.131.52 (no athletics aid — certification required), 184.108.40.206 (football or basketball, varsity competition); and a staff interpretation (09/12/11, Item No. a), which has been archived]
PLEASE NOTE: There are several secondary violations posted on LSDBi involving certification of non-countable financial aid. Institutions need to make sure that the official certification of a student-athlete’s noncounter status is completed by the institution prior to the first competition…this includes obtaining signatures on the designated forms.