Five [5] year clock in Division I

The topic that I am most often asked about is the five-year clock for Division I. A few of the recent questions are as follows:

Dear Eligibility Coach:

I attended a community college for the past two years that did not have any sports teams. Now that I am transferring to a four-year school I should have all five years of eligibility, right?

Dear Student-Athlete:

Unfortunately, you if you were enrolled full-time at the community college then you have used two years of competitive eligibility in your sports and will only have two years remaining to compete within a three year period of time to use those two years.

Dear Eligibility Coach:

I started at a four-year school in 2010 but had to withdraw for medical reasons. Since I didn’t complete the year, I didn’t start my five-year clock, right? I plan on returning to college this fall.

Dear Student-Athlete:

It depends on when you withdrew from school and how you withdrew. You need to contact the registrar at the ¬†four-year school that you attended and request a transcript. If the university has a transcript for you with “W” grades then you started your five-year clock in 2010 and it has expired. If you withdrew before the university’s census date and the university does not have a transcript for you, then you did not start your five-year clock and will start the five-year clock when you start school full-time this fall.

If you have exhausted your five-year clock in Division I but have not been enrolled in college since 2010 you should have eligibility in NCAA Division II since these schools use a 10-semester clock. The clock in Division II allows students who stop attending college full-time to stop their competitive eligibility clock. Check with the compliance officers of the Division II schools of interest to understand the regulations regarding team tryouts to make sure that you meet university and conference requirements.

Dear Eligibility Coach:

When I graduated from high school I enlisted in the Army and served for 10 years. I am now 29 years old. Am I too old to play Division I sports?

Dear Student-Athlete:

The NCAA does not have an age limit for participants on NCAA athletic teams. Since you enlisted in the service after high school, your five-year clock has not started AS LONG AS you did not enroll in ANY school beyond high school as a full-time student. That means that you still have four years to compete in sports at the NCAA Division I level with a five-year period of time to complete those four years of competition.

NOTE: When I served the University of South Carolina in compliance, we had a 37 year old football student-athlete who served in the Army and retired before entering college. He participated as a member of the football team for two of the years that I was at South Carolina.


Coming for Fall 2015:

Membership web site where you can get all of your transfer eligibility questions answered with direct access to the Eligibility Coach to guide you through the transfer process from two-year to four-year, four-year to another four-year, or any other combination of schooling that you have completed and need transfer assistance. Call 919-408-7431 for more information.



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