NCAA Division I Five-Year Clock Explained

Dear Eligibility Coach:

I graduate from high school in 2007 and attended a four-year school in Florida for one year to compete in men’s basketball. I then decided to transfer to a four-year school in Mississippi so that I could play with my brother. I was at that school for two years, but had to sit out the first year. After that time I had to drop out of school to work. I am now transferring to a Division I school that recruited me out of high school and was looking forward to playing my last two years there until the coach told me I have used up my playing clock. How can that be since I only played for two years? Don’t I have two years left on my five-year clock?

Dear Basketball Student-Athlete:

The five-year clock in NCAA Division I is misunderstood by a lot of people. The NCAA’s goal is for every student-athlete who attends a Division I university to have four years to compete in their sport. These student-athletes are allowed a five-year period of time to compete during four years. The most important thing to understand about the five-year clock in NCAA Division I is that is starts once the student-athlete enrolls full-time at

any collegiate educational institution [two-year or four-year institution]. Once the five-year clock starts, it does not stop.

Since you started college in 2007, your five year clock started in 2007 and included the 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-12 academic years. Even though it appears that you only competed for two years, you had five years to compete [your five-year clock] and that clock ended at the end of last academic year.

Usually it is extremely hard to get the five-year clock extended. There have been cases of student-athletes being granted a sixth year of eligibility, but usually those student-athletes missed two years of competition opportunities because they had documented severe injuries that prevented

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them from competing.

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7 Responses to NCAA Division I Five-Year Clock Explained

  1. scooter21 September 21, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Hey coach i graduated in 2009 and enrolled in a D2 school but my first semester I was admitted with conditions meaning I was only able to take 11 credit hours.. I wasnt enrolled in as a full time student until the spring semester of 2010. I was not academically eligible to attend in the fall of 2010 so I enrolled at a community college at home to get my grades up but since my classes at my d2 were developmental I was not eligible to enroll at a university the following spring so I attended another junior college in Iowa for the spring an fall of 2011, I then transferred to another junior college in spring of this year and for summer school to be eligible for a d1 university but I was still I eligible, so I recently returned back to the junior college I first attend in Iowa in 2011 to try and finish up and be finally eligible for the d1 school for this upcoming spring 2013..what is my chances of ever being eligible for football and basketball?? Oh and I haven’t attend school for sports at all in my years since high school…

  2. Concerned mom December 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    My son plays FCS football. 2012-13 is his 5th year senior season. He suffered a season ending injury during fall camp. What are the chances he will be granted a medical hardship waiver to recoup this season?

    • Eligibility Coach February 4, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      IF the injury was season ending he is eligible to receive a medical hardship for this season. However, since he is at a Division I school, if this is his fifth season, his eligibility clock will expire. What he will need to compete next season is an extension of his clock to allow him to compete in a 6th year. Extension waivers require the student-athlete to have missed two seasons of competition for reasons beyond his control in order to ask for an extension. Unfortunately, Without another missed competition opportunity your son’s clock will end.

  3. darren March 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    hey coach, I played 1 year of college football in 2010-11. I was released from the team becuase of a season ending injury. I then sat out of school for the following year because of the injury, I now attend a junior college and plan on going to a university next year, when does my time run out? and can I get an extra year for the injury?

    • Eligibilty Coach March 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      It depends. What year did u graduate from high school? We're you a qualifier for either NCAA division I or II out of high school? How long did you attend the school where you were injured? How long will you attend the junior college before transferring?Sent from my iPhone

  4. darren March 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I graduated from high school in 2010. I was a d1 qualifi fall er. I was the a year. and im transferring to a university in the fall.

  5. Keon Scott March 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    I graduated from high school in 2007 and enrolled at a juco to play basketball for the 2007-2008 season. I became academically ineligible during the first season but was still enrolled for 12 credits that spring. I didn't enroll for the fall 2008 semester but enrolled for the spring 2009 semester. I may have only been enrolled for 10 credits that spring semester because one class was only 1 credit and I only ever took 4 classes at one time. After spring 2009 I didn't enroll full time again until this past fall (2012) and now this spring semester. I know I am not eligible to play D1 but do I have any time left for D2 or D3?

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