R.B.I is a prospect that signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Ocean State University (OSU) next year. R.B.I will attend summer school (on athletics aid) prior to enrolling this fall. R.B.I does not qualify for any institutional aid and therefore will only receive athletics aid (50%). R.B.I gets hurt during his summer league play and might not be able to play at OSU during the 2013-14 academic year. With the severity of his injury uncertain, R.B.I. tells the coach that he would like to relinquish his athletic aid for the 2013-14 academic year and have his parents pay for his educational expenses.
Is it possible for R.B.I. to relinquish his aid and allow OSU to provide that money to another student-athlete?
No. NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.5 states that before becoming a counter for an academic year pursuant to a one-year grant-in-aid, if a prospective student-athlete or student-athlete is awarded institutional financial aid unrelated to athletics that is of equal or greater value than his or her signed award of athletically related financial aid, the prospective student-athlete or student-athlete may, on his or her initiative, release the institution of its obligation to provide the athletically related financial aid.
NCAA Staff Interpretation- 9/21/11- Student-Athlete’s Voluntary Release of Institution’s Obligation to Provide Athletically Related Financial Aid (I)- states that once a prospective or enrolled student-athlete signs an institution’s financial aid agreement, it is not permissible to voluntarily release the institution’s obligation to provide athletically related financial aid, except under the conditions set forth in the release of obligation to provide athletically related financial aid legislation.
Clay Court is a tennis student-athlete at Ocean State University. Clay and a few of his teammates have qualified for the NCAA championships, so they are required to remain on campus to practice. Additionally, Clay has enrolled in summer school classes that will take place while he is preparing for the tournament. Clay is receiving a full athletic scholarship to cover his summer school expenses. As part of his full scholarship, Clay will receive the full cost of room and board.
Is it permissible for Ocean State University to provide Clay with the same room and board stipend as his teammates that are not enrolled in summer school?
No. Clay is receiving financial aid to cover the full cost of room and board, and he is not permitted to receive any expenses in excess of the full cost of room and board. NCAA Staff Interpretation- 5/13/11- Summer Financial Aid and Vacation Period Expenses (I)- states that a student-athlete who is enrolled in an institution’s summer term, and is required to remain on campus for organized practice sessions (e.g., practice in preparation for an NCAA championship), may receive financial aid in accordance with the summer financial-aid legislation and vacation-period expenses, provided the student-athlete does not receive vacation-period expenses, in combination with any room and board financial aid, in excess of the full cost of room and board (as determined for financial aid purposes) during the time in which the student-athlete is required to remain on campus for practice or competition.
[References: NCAA Bylaws 18.104.22.168.2 (enrolled student-athletes), 16.5.2 (vacation-period expenses) and staff interpretation (04/12/1991, Item Ref d), which has been archived]
Dub Ell is a baseball student-athlete at Ocean State University (OSU). Dub 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, Dub was asked to list his achievements and extracurricular activities. Dub included both athletic and academic accomplishments. Since the application did not specifically request information related to Dub’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 Dub 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), 22.214.171.124 (no athletics aid — certification required), 126.96.36.199 (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.
Strike Zone is a softball student-athlete at Ocean State University. Strike is a senior and will graduate at the end of the spring 2013 semester. Strike has worked hard both on and off the field, so the coaches would like to reward her by providing an athletic scholarship for the spring 2013 semester. Since Strike has never received athletic aid before, is this permissible?
Yes. NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52.1 states that an institution may award athletically related financial aid to a student-athlete for a period of less than one academic year only under the following circumstances: (Adopted: 4/27/06 effective 8/1/06)
(a) Midyear Enrollment. A student-athlete whose first full-time attendance at the certifying institution during a particular academic year occurs at midyear (e.g., the beginning of the second semester or second or third quarter of an academic year) may receive a financial aid award for the remainder of that academic year. (Revised: 5/9/06)
(b) Final Semester/Quarter. A student-athlete may receive athletically related financial aid for less than one academic year, provided the student is in the final semester or final two quarters of his or her degree program and the institution certifies that the student is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements.
(c) Graduated During Previous Academic Year and Will Exhaust Eligibility During the Following Fall Term. A student-athlete who graduated during the previous academic year (including summer) and will exhaust his or her athletics eligibility during the following fall term may be awarded athletically related financial aid for less than one academic year. (Adopted: 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11)
(d) One-Time Exception. One time during a student-athlete’s enrollment at the certifying institution he or she may be awarded athletics aid for less than a full academic year, provided the student-athlete has been enrolled full time at the certifying institution for at least one regular academic term and has not previously received athletically related financial aid from the certifying institution. (Revised: 5/19/09)
(e) Eligibility Exhausted/Medical Noncounter. A student-athlete who has exhausted eligibility and is exempt from counting (per Bylaw 184.108.40.206) in the institution’s financial aid limit, or a student-athlete who is exempt from counting (per Bylaw 220.127.116.11) due to an injury or illness may receive athletically related financial aid for less than one academic year. If an institution awards aid under this provision, the institutional financial aid agreement shall include specific nonathletically related conditions (e.g., academic requirements) the student-athlete must satisfy in order for the aid to be renewed for the next academic term or terms. If the student-athlete satisfies the specified conditions, the institution shall award financial aid at the same amount for the next term or terms of the academic year. If the student-athlete does not satisfy the specified conditions, he or she must be provided a hearing opportunity per Bylaw 18.104.22.168. (Adopted: 4/24/08 effective 8/1/08)
Alley is a women’s tennis student-athlete at Ocean State University (OSU). Alley is in her 4th year of enrollment and participating in her 3rd season of competition. Alley will graduate in May and will begin graduate school at OSU. Because graduate classes will be pretty demanding on her time, Alley has decided that she will not utilize her 4th season of competition during the 2013-14 academic year. Because Alley has been an exceptional student-athlete at OSU, the head coach would like to provide her with one more year of athletic aid.
If Alley receives the athletic scholarship during the 2013-14 academic year, will she count against the team’s limits since she is not going to participate on the team?
Yes. NCAA Official Interpretation- 4/27/89-Graduate student-athlete renouncing eligibility and receiving exempted athletically related financial assistance- states that a graduate student-athlete with remaining eligibility under NCAA rules may not renounce his or her eligibility in a sport, and continue to receive athletically related financial aid and be exempt from counting in the maximum number of financial aid awards in the sport.