Compliance

Compliance Question of the Week

For the week of: March 22, 2010

Question:
I have a student-athlete who is considering changing her degree in the middle of the semester. How does this affect her eligibility?


Answer:
The degree program designated as of the start of the fifth semester or later academic year of full-time enrollment must be used for the student-athlete's certification for the remainder of that term.

A student-athlete eligible for participation in his or her sport before the first term of the third year of enrollment may change his or her degree midterm and remain eligible. Should the student-athlete be certified as ineligible due to progress toward degree deficiencies prior to the term, the student-athlete may not be allowed to change degrees after the term starts to gain eligibility.


Designation of Degree Program and Timing of Degree Change (I)
Date Published: March 22, 2010
Item Ref: 1
Educational Column:


NCAA Division I member institutions should note that pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 14.4.3.1.6, a student-athlete must designate his or her degree program prior to participating in competition that occurs during or immediately before the third year of enrollment (fifth semester or seventh quarter). This requirement applies to all student-athletes, including two- and four-year college transfers.

Further, the designated degree program as of the beginning of the third year (fifth semester or seventh quarter) or later academic year of full-time enrollment must be used to certify the student-athlete's percentage-toward-degree requirements for that term.

For example, if a student-athlete has not designated a degree program on the first day of classes of his or her fifth full-time semester, it is permissible for the student-athlete to declare engineering as his or her degree program before the first competition and be certified as eligible for the term, provided the student-athlete is meeting percentage of degree requirements for the engineering degree program.

Alternatively, a student-athlete who has designated marketing as his or her degree program as of the beginning of the fifth full-time semester and is certified as not eligible due to deficiencies in progress-toward-degree requirements may not be subsequently recertified during that term as eligible after changing to a different degree program, even if the change occurs before the student-athlete's first competition in that term and the student-athlete is meeting all progress-toward-degree requirements in the new degree program. The member institution would need to file a progress toward degree waiver for the student-athlete to be eligible for competition during that term.

[References: Bylaws 14.4.3.1.6 (designation of degree program), 14.4.3.2 (fulfillment of percentage of degree requirements), 14.4.3.2.2 (application of rule to transfer student), 14.4.3.3.2 (timing of certification), 14.4.3.3.2.1 (exception -- baseball) and a staff interpretation (04/09/97, Item No. a)]

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements ('25/50/75') When Changing Degree Program
Date Published: April 9, 1997
Type: Staff Interpretation
Item Ref: a


Fulfillment of Degree Requirements ("25/50/75") When Changing Degree Program. The legislative services staff confirmed that, in accordance with the "25/50/75" rule, if a student-athlete attends a collegiate institution for four semesters and subsequently changes his or her degree program during the summer, certification of the 25-percent requirement is based on the newly declared degree program. However, if a student-athlete changes his or her degree program during the fifth term and the institution subsequently certifies the student-athlete during that term, certification of the 25-percent requirement is based on the student-athlete's declared degree program in existence at the beginning of the fifth term. (Note: This minute replaces staff minute 07/22/94, item a, which has been archived.) [References: NCAA Bylaws 14.4.3.1 (eligibility for competition -- Divisions I and II -- fulfillment of credit-hour requirements); 14.4.3.1.4 (designation of degree program); 14.4.3.2.1 (fulfillment of percentage of degree requirements -- student-athletes entering collegiate institution on or after August 1, 1991, but prior to August 1, 1992); and 14.4.3.2.2 (fulfillment of percentage of degree requirements -- student-athletes entering collegiate institution on or after August 1, 1992)]

14.4.3.1.6 Designation of Degree Program

A student-athlete shall designate a program of studies leading toward a specific baccalaureate degree at the certifying institution prior to participating in competition that occurs during or immediately before the third year of enrollment (fifth semester or seventh quarter) and thereafter shall make progress toward that specific degree. This provision shall be applicable to the eligibility not only of a continuing student, but also of a transfer student from a four-year or two-year collegiate institution who is entering his or her third year of collegiate enrollment, even if the student has not yet completed an academic year in residence or used a season of eligibility in a sport at the certifying institution. Designation of a specific baccalaureate degree program may be accomplished by: (Revised 2/27/08)
  • Formal enrollment by the student-athlete in a specific baccalaureate degree program; or

  • Approval by an appropriate academic official (who must not be an academic advisor/counselor employed by the athletics department) of the program leading to the specific baccalaureate degree that the student-athlete is pursuing.


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