Screen Pass is a football student-athlete that graduated from Bay State College (BSC) this past December. Screen has one more year of eligibility left, so he would like to enroll in graduate school. BSC told Screen that his scholarship would not be renewed in the fall, so he decided to transfer to Ocean State University (OSU) in January. Screen was admitted as a non-degree seeking graduate student. Is it permissible for Screen to compete for OSU in the fall?
No. NCAA Educational Column- 4/11/13- Graduate Student-Athlete Eligibility (I)- states that NCAA Division I institutions should note that a student-athlete who is enrolled in a graduate or professional school of the same institution from which he or she previously received a baccalaureate degree, a student-athlete who is enrolled and seeking a second baccalaureate or equivalent degree at the same institution, or a student-athlete who has graduated and is continuing as a full-time student at the same institution while taking course work that would lead to the equivalent of another major or degree as defined and documented by the institution, may participate in intercollegiate athletics, provided the student has eligibility remaining and such participation occurs within the applicable five-year period.
Further, a graduate student-athlete who is enrolled in a graduate or professional school of an institution other than the institution from which he or she previously received a baccalaureate degree may participate in intercollegiate athletics if the student fulfills the conditions of the one-time transfer exception and has eligibility remaining.
Finally, a graduate student-athlete who does not meet the one-time transfer exception due to participation in a sport for which the exception is not available, shall qualify for the one-time transfer exception as a graduate student, provided the student:
(a) Fulfills the remaining conditions of the one-time transfer exception;
(b) Has at least one season of competition remaining; and
(c) The student’s previous institution did not renew his or her athletically related financial aid for the following academic year.
The following questions and answers are designed to assist the Division I membership with the application of graduate student-athlete eligibility legislation.
Admission and Enrollment
Question No. 1: Is it permissible for a graduate student-athlete to compete if he or she is considered a nondegree seeking graduate student?
Answer: No. Graduate student-athletes must be regularly enrolled, degree seeking students.
Question No. 2: Is a graduate student-athlete who is a regularly enrolled, degree seeking student eligible to compete even though he or she is not enrolled in a specific graduate degree program (e.g., graduate at large)?
Question No. 3: Is a graduate student-athlete eligible to compete if he or she is a regularly enrolled, degree seeking student but is required to earn, as a condition of continued enrollment in the graduate program, an enhanced grade-point-average (e.g., 3.00 or above) in each term of his or her first academic year as a graduate student at the certifying institution?
Answer: Yes, provided the student-athlete is considered to be in good academic standing as interpreted for all students by the appropriate academic officials at the institution.
Transfer Graduate Student-Athletes
Question No. 4: May a student-athlete use the graduate student one-time transfer exception to pursue a second baccalaureate degree at the next institution?
Answer: No. A student-athlete who has previously graduated must be enrolled in a graduate or professional school at the next institution to qualify for the one-time transfer exception.
Question No. 5: Can a student-athlete who graduates after three years and has more than one season of competition remaining use the graduate student one-time transfer exception?
Answer: Yes, provided the student meets the requirements of the exception and is regularly enrolled as a degree seeking student in a graduate or professional school at the next institution.
Question No. 6: In sports for which the standard one-time transfer exception does not apply, may a student-athlete who is notified of the nonrenewal of athletics aid after indicating intent to transfer to another institution use the one-time transfer exception for graduate student eligibility?
Answer: Yes. The timing of the nonrenewal of athletics aid does not impact a student-athlete’s ability to qualify for the graduate student one-time transfer exception, provided all criteria for the exception are met.
Question No. 7: May a student-athlete who does not receive a baccalaureate degree but is accepted for enrollment in a graduate or professional school of an institution other than the institution he or she previously attended as an undergraduate be eligible to use the graduate one-time transfer exception?
Question No. 8: May a baseball or basketball graduate student-athlete who qualifies for the one-time transfer exception but initially enrolls as a full-time student at the certifying institution after the first term of the academic year (e.g., midyear transfer) be eligible for competition immediately?
Answer: No. Such a student-athlete cannot be eligible for competition until the following academic year.
Progress-Toward Degree Certification
Question No. 9: Is a football student-athlete who graduated with a baccalaureate degree required to earn nine semester hours or eight quarter hours and the APR eligibility point during the fall term to be eligible for all contests during the following playing season?
Question No. 10: Must credits earned by a graduate or postbaccalaureate student-athlete be degree applicable to satisfy the six semester or quarter hour requirement?
Answer: Credits acceptable toward any degree program offered by the certifying institution (graduate or undergraduate) may be used to satisfy the six semester or quarter hour requirement, provided the student-athlete is permitted to complete such courses in accordance with published institutional policies applicable to graduate students.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199 (admission), 188.8.131.52.1 (special admission), 14.1.8 (graduate student/postbaccalaureate participation), 184.108.40.206 (one-time transfer exception), 220.127.116.11.10 (one-time transfer exception), 18.104.22.168-(c) (fulfillment of credit-hour requirements) 22.214.171.124.6 (additional requirements — football), 126.96.36.199.6.1 (regaining eligibility for two contests), 188.8.131.52.6.2 (regaining full eligibility — one-time exception), 184.108.40.206-(c) (exceptions to progress-toward-degree rule — graduate student/postbaccalaureate exception), staff interpretations (09/26/2006, Item No. 1a, 03/15/2013, Item No. a), and official interpretations (4/17/2007, Item No. 15-a, 10/19/2012, Item No. 3)]
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.