Daily Compliance Item- 12.28.15- Baseball Athletic Aid

Balk is a freshman baseball student-athlete that will be initially enrolling at Ocean State University (OSU) in January. OSU has room in its team equivalencies and would like to provide Balk with athletic aid. Since he is enrolling midyear, does OSU have to provide him with a minimum of 25%?

Yes. NCAA Bylaw 15.5.4.1 states that an institution shall provide each counter athletically related and other countable financial aid that is equal to or greater than 25 percent of an equivalency. (Adopted: 4/26/07 effective 8/1/08 for student-athletes who initially enroll full time at any four-year collegiate institution on or after 8/1/08, Revised: 8/9/07)

NCAA Educational Column- 12/12/12- Baseball Academic Enhancements Frequently Asked Questions (I)– states that in 2007 and 2008, several proposals were adopted with the intent of enhancing the academic success of baseball student-athletes. These included:

•A requirement that baseball student-athletes be eligible for all competition at the time of enrollment in each fall term and cannot “get well” academically through performance in the fall term;

•A requirement that four-year college baseball transfer student-athletes complete one academic year in residence at the certifying institution before becoming eligible to compete, absent meeting an exception other than the one-time transfer exception;

•Limiting the baseball roster to 35 student-athletes, the awarding of equivalencies to 27 counters annually and requiring each counter to receive at least a 25-percent equivalency; and

•Requiring teams that historically underperform academically to reduce their contests and their playing season.

Since 2008, several additional proposals have been adopted that affect the application of several of these provisions. These include:

•In all sports,
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•Clarifying that the 18-semeseter/27-quarter hour requirement results in a midyear certification only after a midyear enrollee’s first year in residence and that certification for later years occurs at the start of each fall;
•Creating a nonrecruited student exception to the one-time transfer exception for those sports where the one-time transfer exception is generally not applicable; and
•An NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate penalty structure that eliminated sport-specific penalties.

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•In baseball, an exception to the 25-percent minimum equivalency value for a student-athlete in the final year of eligibility, provided the student-athlete has not previously received athletically related aid in baseball.

The following questions are intended to assist the membership relative to the current application of the baseball enhancement legislation.

Question No. 1: May an institution that obtains grades from coursework completed over the summer term certify the student-athlete eligible if the grades for the courses are not available until after the beginning of the fall term?

Answer: Yes, NCAA rules related to the timing of certification apply to baseball in the same way they do for other sports (e.g., incomplete grades, late arriving grades).

Question No. 2: May a student-athlete who initially enrolls full time at a Division I institution midyear be immediately eligible?

Answer: A freshman who graduates from high school early and enrolls midyear (or an individual who delays initial collegiate enrollment) may compete in his first spring, provided he satisfies the initial-eligibility standards (i.e., academic and amateur status). Institutions that have continuing student-athletes who initially enroll midyear will be required to certify the appropriate NCAA progress-toward-degree rules at the appropriate time, even if this occurs midyear.

Question No. 3: Does the grade-point average requirement have to be certified at midyear?

Answer: Yes, progress-toward-degree requirements specify that each student-athlete’s grade-point average shall be certified after each term, beginning with the second year of enrollment.

Question No. 4: May a baseball two-year college transfer or 4-2-4 transfer student-athlete transfer midyear and be immediately eligible at the new institution?

Answer: No, a midyear transfer is specifically excluded from being eligible for competition immediately. Such transfers may practice and be provided athletics financial aid, provided they meet applicable transfer requirements. However, the student-athlete will count in the overall counter limit, the financial aid will apply toward the 11.7 team limit and the student-athlete will count toward the 35-person varsity-squad size limit.

Question No. 5: May a 4-2-4 transfer student-athlete be eligible for the spring season if he was not meeting the applicable transfer requirements at the time of transfer?

Answer: Yes, if the one-year time-lapse requirement is the only requirement that the student-athlete was not meeting.

Question No. 6: May a baseball student-athlete who has not previously received athletics aid transfer and use the one-time transfer exception?

Answer: No. All transfer student-athletes who wish to compete in baseball must satisfy the year in residence at the new institution unless they are eligible to use another exception to the transfer residence requirement (e.g., nonrecruited student exception, two-year nonparticipation, minimal participation exception). However, a baseball student-athlete who was not recruited by the original four-year institution and has never received athletics aid from any four-year institution may use the one-time transfer exception, provided all of the conditions are met. (See NCAA Bylaw 14.5.5.2.10.2.)

Question No. 7: Does a baseball student-athlete who is a counter continue to count against the institution’s limit on the number of counters if that student-athlete quits the team?

Answer: Yes, unless an exception is satisfied, once a student-athlete becomes a counter, he will remain a counter for the entire academic year.

Question No. 8: If a baseball student-athlete on athletics aid enrolls midyear, does he have to receive 25-percent equivalency for the spring term or must he receive an amount that would have equated to 25-percent equivalency for the entire year?

Answer: An institution must provide a baseball student-athlete who enrolls midyear and receives athletics aid with a minimum 25-percent equivalency for that spring term, which would result in a minimum 12.5-percent equivalency for the academic year.

Question No. 9: If athletically related financial aid is awarded to a student-athlete for the first time after the beginning of the fall term (e.g., six weeks after classes begin), must the student-athlete receive athletically related and other countable aid that is equal to or greater than 25 percent of an equivalency or may the aid be prorated to meet the minimum requirement?

Answer: The financial aid may be prorated to meet the minimum requirement. At the point the aid is awarded, a combination of athletically related and other countable aid must cover at least 25 percent of the student-athlete’s costs of tuition and fees, room, board and books for the remainder of the academic year.

Question No. 10: May the minimum financial aid percentage consist of both athletics and nonathletics countable aid?

Answer: Yes. All financial aid that counts toward the sport’s maximum institutional grant-in-aid limitation is included when determining whether a counter’s financial aid satisfies the minimum equivalency value legislation.

Question No. 11: May an institutional scholarship that could otherwise be exempted from a student-athlete’s equivalency computation as an academic honor award count toward the minimum 25 percent of an equivalency?

Answer: Institutional financial aid that could otherwise be exempted from an institution’s equivalency computation (e.g., academic honor awards) may be used to meet an individual student-athlete’s minimum equivalency value, provided the aid is also counted toward the maximum institutional grant-in-aid limitation. In such cases, the full amount of the award must count toward the individual student-athlete’s equivalency and the institutional grant-in-aid limitation.

Question No. 12: An institution that awards aid based solely on demonstrated financial need awards need-based aid to a student-athlete, but athletics intercedes in the financial aid and admissions process. Is the financial aid provided to the student-athlete required to be awarded at a level of 25-percent equivalency?

Answer: No. There is an exception to the minimum 25 percent equivalency for an institution that awards aid based solely on demonstrated financial need, even if athletics intercedes on behalf of the student-athlete to assist in obtaining the aid.

Question No. 13: May the exception to the 25-percent minimum equivalency value for student-athletes who are in their final year of eligibility and have not previously received athletically related financial aid in baseball be applied to a student-athlete who has previously received athletics aid in baseball at another institution?

Answer: No. The student-athlete must have never received baseball athletics aid at any institution in order to qualify for the exception.

Question No. 14: May the exception to the 25-percent minimum equivalency value for a student-athlete who is in his final year of eligibility and has not previously received athletically related financial aid in baseball be applied to a student-athlete who has previously received athletics aid in a sport other than baseball, either at another institution or at the certifying institution?

Answer: Yes. A student-athlete who has never received baseball athletics aid at any institution qualifies for the exception.

Question No. 15: When must the baseball varsity squad be finalized?

Answer: The varsity squad must be finalized by the day prior to the institution’s first scheduled baseball contest in the championship segment.

Question No. 16: Are there exceptions or replacements to the varsity-squad size limit for injured student-athletes or student-athletes who quit after the varsity-roster limit is established?

Answer: No.

Question No. 17: Does the varsity-squad size limit eliminate subvarsity teams?

Answer: No; however, once the varsity squad is set, a student-athlete on that roster shall not compete with a subvarsity team and a student-athlete on the subvarsity roster shall not compete with the varsity team.

Question No. 18: If a student-athlete is a counter, must he be included in the 35-person varsity-squad limit?

Answer: Yes.

Question No. 19: A student-athlete enrolls in the fall and receives athletically related financial aid. In December, the student-athlete decides to transfer. Must this student-athlete count toward the varsity-squad size limit?

Answer: Yes. A student-athlete who is counter must be included in the varsity-squad limit. In addition, a student-athlete who becomes a counter at any point in the academic year remains a counter for the entire academic year, even if he transfers or withdraws from the institution.

Question No. 20: A student-athlete enrolls in the fall, participates in baseball and receives athletically related financial aid. In January, the student-athlete is injured to an extent that he will not participate for the remainder of the year. Must this student-athlete count toward the varsity-squad size limit?

Answer: Yes. A student-athlete who is counter must be included in the varsity-squad limit. In addition, a student-athlete who becomes a counter at any point in the academic year remains a counter for the entire academic year, even if he will not participate in the spring season.

Question No. 21: May an institution declare fewer than 35 student-athletes toward the varsity-squad size limitation as of the day prior to its first scheduled contest in the championship segment of the playing and practice season and add additional student-athletes later?

Answer: Yes. Note, however, that any student-athlete who is a counter for financial aid purposes must count toward the varsity-squad size limit. In addition, any student-athlete who participates in countable athletically activities with a subvarsity team after the initial declaration may not be added to the varsity squad for that academic year.

Question No. 22: If a student-athlete is not included in the 35-person varsity-squad size limit, must he be listed as “cut” on the baseball squad-list form?

Answer: No. The varsity-squad size limit is separate from the squad-list form. A student-athlete who is not part of the 35-person varsity-squad size limit may continue to be listed on the squad-list form as a current student-athlete. This will be the case for institutions that have subvarsity squads.

[References: Bylaws 14.4.3.1 (credit-hour requirements), 14.4.3.1.3.1 (regaining eligibility exception — baseball), 14.4.3.1.4.1 (application of 18/27 hour requirement to midyear enrollee), 14.4.3.1.4.2 (additional application — baseball), 14.4.3.1.5 (additional application of six-hour and transfer rules — baseball), 14.4.3.2.3.1 (percentage of degree timing of certification exception — baseball), 14.4.3.3.2.1 (grade-point average timing of certification exception — baseball), 14.5.4.1.1 (qualifier two-year transfer baseball and basketball — midyear enrollee), 14.5.4.2.5 (not a qualifier two-year transfer baseball and basketball — midyear enrollee), 14.5.5.2.10 (one-time transfer exception), 14.5.5.2.10.2 (nonrecruited student), 14.5.5.5 (four year transfer baseball and basketball — midyear enrollee), 14.5.6 (4-2-4 college transfers), 14.5.6.4 (4-2-4 transfer baseball and basketball midyear enrollee), 14.5.6.5 (calendar-year time lapse), 15.5.4 (baseball limitations), 15.5.4.1 (minimum equivalency value), 15.5.4.1.1 (exception — need based athletics aid only) and 15.5.4.1.2 (exception — final year of eligibility and not previously aided)]

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