Dear Eligibility Coach:
The NCAA Eligibility Center informed us that my son is a final non-qualifier for Division I. What options does he have if he still wants to compete in college athletics?
Final non-qualifiers for NCAA Division I schools may still
attend the Division I school, but may not practice with the team, compete or receive athletics financial aid in the first year of attendance. However, if your son qualifies for any need-based aid, such as Pell Grants, he will still be able to accept that money.
Your son has five options:
(1) Attend the university that recruited him and have the family incur all costs of his first year of attendance. After sitting a year in residence, as long as your son meets NCAA continuing eligibility requirements, he will be able to practice, compete and receive an athletic scholarship for his second year of school. Be sure to check with the head coach and athletic director to determine if the coach will be able to provide an athletic scholarship to your son for his second year of enrollment. With this first option, your son will only have three years of athletic eligibility to compete at the university. However, if he remains academically eligible, there is an opportunity for him to regain his fourth year of competitive eligibility.
(2) Speak with the compliance officer of the university that recruited him to see if the athletics department is willing to submit an initial eligibility waiver to the NCAA. When student-athletes are very close to meeting eligibility requirements and can show they are academically prepared for college, it may be possible to get part of the penalty waived. For example, your son may be allowed to receive an athletic scholarship, but not allowed to practice with the team. NOTE: Only universities may request waivers from the NCAA. Waivers may not be requested by individual students.
(3) Attend a two-year college. As a non-qualifier, the decision to attend a two-year college means your son must graduate from that two-year college before being eligible to attend an NCAA university on athletics scholarship.
(4) Attend an NCAA Division II University. The NCAA Eligibility Center provides academic certification for both Division I and Division II schools. Since the initial eligibility requirements are different, it may be possible for your son to be certified to compete at a Division II school immediately.
(5) Attend a school that is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics [NAIA]. The NAIA has a separate and distinct certification process from the NCAA. If may be possible for your son to be certified to receive an athletic scholarship at an NAIA school. Go to http://www.playnaia.com for more information. Good luck.