Bounce Pass is a basketball student-athlete at Ocean State University. Bounce was having trouble with his math class, so he decided to drop the course at the end of March. After dropping the math course, Bounce is now only enrolled in 8 hours. He wants to enroll in an online course to get back to full-time enrollment status. Ocean State University’s spring semester doesn’t end until the second week in May, but institutional policy does not allow students to enroll in traditional courses taught on campus after March 15th.
Is it permissible for Bounce to use this online course to meet NCAA progress toward degree requirements?
No. NCAA Educational Column- General Eligibility Requirements — Full-Time Enrollment — Requirement for Competition — Use of Nontraditional Courses — (I)- states that pursuant to the nontraditional courses legislation, a student-athlete may use nontraditional courses to meet the full-time enrollment requirement to be eligible for competition. The following questions and answers are intended to assist the membership in applying the legislation:
Question No. 1: What is “term time?”
Answer: “Term time” refers to the divisions of the academic year (e.g., semesters, quarters, trimesters) and is also referred to as a regular academic term.
Question No. 2: Does the nontraditional courses legislation limit the number of nontraditional courses in which a student-athlete may enroll during a regular academic term?
Answer: No. Such a determination is to be made by institutional policies applicable to all students and any applicable conference rules.
Question No. 3: If a student-athlete is enrolled in a nontraditional course that is being used to meet the full-time enrollment requirement and the student-athlete completes the nontraditional course within the first month of the regular academic term, would the student-athlete be considered full time for the remainder of the term?
Answer: Yes, provided the nontraditional course was completed in accordance with institutional policy.
Question No. 4: Does “regular enrollment periods” refer to periods in which students at the offering institution enroll in traditional (e.g., taught in a typical, face-to-face classroom environment) courses?
Answer: Yes. In order to use nontraditional courses to meet the full-time enrollment requirement, the student-athlete must enroll in the nontraditional courses at the same time he or she enrolls in traditional courses. Therefore, if a student-athlete drops or withdraws from a traditional course in the middle of a term and enrolls in a nontraditional course, he or she can use the nontraditional course for full-time enrollment only if any student is permitted to enroll in a traditional course at that point in the term.
Question No. 5: May a nontraditional course that is completed over the course of an entire academic year be used to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement?
Answer: The legislation requires the course to be conducted during the institution’s regular academic term in accordance with the institution’s academic calendar and applicable policies and procedures. Therefore, such a course could be used to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement only if the institution offers similar traditional courses that span the entire academic year and all other criteria of the legislation are met.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199 (requirement for competition) and 188.8.131.52.6 (nontraditional courses)]
Notice about Educational Columns: Educational columns and hot topics are intended to assist the membership with the correct application of legislation and/or interpretations by providing clarifications, reminders and examples. They are based on legislation and official and staff interpretations applicable at the time of publication. Therefore, educational columns and hot topics are binding to the extent that the legislation and interpretations on which they are based remain applicable. Educational columns are posted on a regular basis to address a variety of issues and hot topics are posted as necessary in order to address timely issues.