Daily Compliance Item- 12.21.15- 14.4.3.1.6- 9 Hour Requirement for Football Student-Athletes

Wish Bone is a football student-athlete at Ocean State University (OSU). Here is Wish’s academic record so far for the 2015-16 academic year:

Fall 2015 Term- completed 8 hours of degree applicable credit

Winter Mini Term at OSU- completed 3 hours of degree applicable credit

Does Wish fulfill the 9 hour fall term requirement to be eligible for the first four contests in the 2016 season?

No. Although he has completed 11 hours of degree applicable credit prior to the start of the spring term, Wish is not permitted to use hours earned during a mini/interim term to fulfill the 9 hour requirement. Those hours can, however, be used to fulfill the 27 hour requirement needed to regain eligibility for the 3rd and 4th game.

NCAA Educational Column- 5/3/12- Division I Bylaw 14.4.3.1.6 — Fall Term Academic Requirements in Football (I)- states that NCAA Division I institutions should note, pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 14.4.3.1.6, a student-athlete who is a member of the institution’s football team must successfully complete at least nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit during the fall term and earn the NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) eligibility point for the fall term in order to be eligible for all contests in the following playing season. If a football student-athlete fails to earn either the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit or the APR eligibility point during the fall term, the student-athlete shall not be eligible to compete in the first four contests against outside competition in the following playing season.
Such a student-athlete may regain eligibility to compete in the third and fourth contests of that season, provided he or she successfully completes at least 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours of academic credit before the beginning of the next fall term. Further, one time during a student-athlete’s five-year period of eligibility, a student-athlete who does not successfully complete at least nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit during the fall term or earn the APR eligibility point for the fall term may regain eligibility to compete in the first four contests against outside competition in the following playing season, provided he or she successfully completes at least 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours of academic credit before the beginning of the next fall term.

The following questions and answers are designed to assist the NCAA Division I membership with the application of this legislation.

Question No. 1: If a student-athlete does not successfully complete the required nine semester or eight quarter hours and earn the APR eligibility point and does not regain eligibility for the following fall (or is ineligible for other reasons), does the ineligibility for competition in the first four contests carry over to the next season in which the student-athlete is eligible to compete?

Answer: No. The penalty is satisfied if the student-athlete does not compete during that playing season, regardless of whether the student-athlete is eligible for competition (e.g., fulfilling a transfer residence requirement, less than full-time enrollment).

Question No. 2: If a student-athlete does not successfully complete the required nine semester or eight quarter hours and earn the APR eligibility point, will the student-athlete be eligible to use the one-time transfer exception, if applicable, and be eligible for athletics aid in the first year at the time of transfer?

Answer: Yes, provided the student-athlete meets all other eligibility requirements and received permission to contact.

Question No. 3: Does the ineligibility for competition in the first four (or two) contests follow the student-athlete if he or she transfers to another Division I institution?

Answer: Yes. The student-athlete is ineligible for the first four (or two) contests of the following playing season, regardless of transfer.

Question No. 4: Does the ineligibility for competition in the first four contests follow the student-athlete if he or she transfers to a Division II or Division III institution?

Answer: No.

Question No. 5: May summer school hours satisfy the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement or the 27 semester hours or the 40 quarter hours requirement?

Answer: Credit earned in the summer immediately after the applicable regular academic year may be used to satisfy the 27 semester hours or the 40 quarter hours requirement. For student-athletes in their first year of collegiate enrollment, summer hours earned immediately prior to initial collegiate enrollment may also be used to satisfy the 27 semester hours or the 40 quarter hours requirement. Similar to the application of the six credit-hour requirement for the fall term, only those hours earned during the fall regular academic term may satisfy the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement.

Question No. 6: May credit hours earned during the regular academic year in an interim term (intersession, mini or “J” term) completed before the beginning of the following term (spring semester or winter quarter) satisfy the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement and/or the 27 semester hours or the 40 quarter hours requirement?

Answer: Credit hours earned during an interim term, either at the certifying institution or from another institution, may be used to satisfy the 27 semester hours or the 40 quarter hours requirement. Credit hours earned from another institution must be acceptable for degree credit at the certifying institution. However, hours earned during an interim term may not be used to satisfy the fall term nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement.

Question No. 7: How are incomplete credit hours, nondegree applicable credit hours, remedial credit hours, credit hours earned while concurrently enrolled at another institution, etc. used for purposes of satisfying the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement and 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours requirement?

Answer: All current legislation and interpretations that govern the application of credit hours for other progress-toward-degree credit-hours requirements apply.

Question No. 8: How do the legislated exceptions to progress-toward-degree requirements apply for purposes of these requirements (e.g., missed term, medical absence)?

Answer: There are no changes for the application of the legislated exceptions to progress-toward-degree requirements. Credit hours will continue to be prorated at nine hours per term of actual attendance. Please note the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement is only applicable if a football student-athlete was enrolled as a full-time student during the fall term.

Question No. 9: Does the legislation apply to student-athletes who were not members of the football team during the previous fall term?
Answer: No, the legislation only applies to student-athletes who were on the football team during the applicable fall term.

Question No. 10: What requirements must be met by a football student-athlete who is not included within the APR cohort for the fall term in order to be eligible for all contests in the following season?

Answer: Such a student-athlete must successfully complete nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit requirement in the fall term to be eligible for all contests the following season.

Question No. 11: Must the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement and the 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours requirement be degree applicable?

Answer: Yes.

Question No. 12: Is a student-athlete required to use the one-time exception on the first occasion he or she is ineligible for contests in the following fall term?

Answer: No.

Question No. 13: Is the one-time exception limited to one time during a student-athlete’s five-year period of eligibility or is it limited to one time per institution?

Answer: The one-time exception is limited to one time during a student-athlete’s five-year period of eligibility.

Question No. 14: Is a student-athlete required to earn nine semester hours or eight quarter hours in the fall term in order to be awarded the APR eligibility point?

Answer: No. The student-athlete must earn at least six hours, rather than nine semester hours or eight quarter hours in the fall term, in addition to meeting all other institutional, conference and NCAA requirements in order to be awarded the APR eligibility point.

Question No. 15: Once a student-athlete graduates or is seeking a second baccalaureate, is he or she required to earn nine semester hours or eight quarter hours and earn the APR eligibility point in the fall term in order to be eligible for all contests the following fall term?

Answer: No.

Question No. 16: If a student-athlete who fails to earn nine semester hours or eight quarter hours and/or the APR eligibility point in the fall term does not earn enough degree-applicable hours to meet the 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours requirement to regain eligibility for the first two contests the following fall term, what recourse is available to the student-athlete?

Answer: The institution may submit a progress-toward-degree waiver on the student-athlete’s behalf through AMA Online.

Question No. 17: How is the APR eligibility point awarded for the spring term if a student-athlete is ineligible for two or four contests the following fall?

Answer: An institution may award such a student-athlete the APR eligibility point for the spring term, provided the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete in the fall term.

Question No. 18: May an institution cancel a football student-athlete’s athletics aid after the fall term if he or she did not meet the requirements in Bylaw 14.4.3.1.6?

Answer: No. It would not be permissible for the institution to cancel the student-athlete’s athletics aid during the period of award since the student-athlete’s eligibility for intercollegiate competition is not impacted until the following year.

Question No. 19: Is a student-athlete subject to the four-contest restriction for the following fall term if he or she does not successfully complete nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit during the fall term but completes the courses necessary to receive a baccalaureate degree from the institution prior to the start of the next fall term?

Answer: No.

Question No. 20: May a student-athlete who is in the final academic year (final two semesters or three quarters) of his or her designated degree program use credit hours acceptable toward any of the institution’s degree programs to satisfy the nine semester hours or eight quarter hours requirement?

Answer: Yes, provided the institution certifies that the student-athlete is enrolled in courses necessary to complete degree requirements at the end of the two semesters or three quarters. Thereafter, the student-athlete shall forfeit eligibility in all sports, unless he or she completes all degree requirements during the final two semesters or three quarters and is eligible to earn his or her baccalaureate degree on the institution’s next degree-granting date.

Question No. 21: May credit earned via credit-by-examination and advanced placement courses completed prior to initial full-time collegiate enrollment be used to meet the nine hour requirement?

Answer: No. However, the credit earned may be used to satisfy the 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours exception during the student-athlete’s initial year of collegiate enrollment. Subsequent to initial full-time enrollment, credit earned while enrolled during a regular academic term via credit-by-examination and advanced placement courses may be used to meet either requirement.

Question No. 22: Would a student-athlete who does not meet the nine hours requirement at the previous institution and transfers to the certifying institution before the next fall term be able to use degree applicable hours from the previous institution to meet the 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours exception even if those hours are not degree applicable at the certifying institution?

Answer: Yes. Hours earned at the previous institution during the applicable regular academic year may be used to satisfy the 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours exception if they are considered degree applicable at either the previous institution or certifying institution.

[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 14.4.3.1 (fulfillment of credit-hour requirements), 14.4.3.1.6 (additional requirements — football), 14.4.3.1.6.1 (regaining eligibility for two contests), 14.4.3.1.6.2 (regaining full eligibility — one-time exception), and staff interpretations (1/20/12, Item No. a), (2/16/12, Item No. a), (2/16/12, Item No. b) and (4/5/12, Item No. a)]

Jennifer M. Condaras
Associate Commissioner
BIG EAST Conference

The opinions expressed in the Daily Compliance Item are the author’s and the author’s alone, and are not endorsed by The BIG EAST Conference, JumpForward, or the Collegiate Sports Group of Bond, Schoeneck, and King. The Daily Compliance Item is not a substitute for a compliance office, case specific research, or the NCAA Bylaws. Do some homework, ask around, and get it right.

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