COVID-19 has created many issues for students and student-athletes. The NCAA is trying to clear some of it up.
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
On Friday morning, the NCAA released new guidance on how they will handle academic eligibility for Class of 2020 athletes who are coming into Division I or Division II athletics at the college level.
Some of the standard requirements for NCAA eligibility have to be adjusted. Some athletes missed the opportunity to get the SAT or ACT score they needed. Academic work in core classes was interrupted.
Students who are in graduating classes 2021, 2022, and 2023 will also have their core courses affected due to online or distance learning. If Pass/Fail grading is instituted by your high school, a passing grade will be taken by the NCAA as a 2.300 (C+) grade. Don’t panic. If that 2.3 assigned grade causes your core course GPA to dip below 2.300, the core course will count, but the grade will be set aside for the purpose of calculating your core GPA.
In a nutshell, the NCAA will dial back eligibility requirements for athletes coming into a Division I or Division II institution, looking at courses completed before the start of the seventh semester of high school. They’re also removing the SAT/ACT requirement. Athletes will still have to meet the academic requirements for admission to the university of their choice. These changes only affect NCAA eligibility.
If you’re a 2020 grad who postpones graduation, becoming a member of the Class of 2021, the benefits of the rule changes still apply to you.
FROM THE NCAA RELEASE:
Given the unprecedented events during Spring/Summer 2020 due to COVID-19, the NCAA Eligibility Center has partnered with the NCAA membership to identify the following adjustments to the initial eligibility certification process. These changes may not capture all unique scenarios; however, NCAA Customer Service is available to assist with questions Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST at 877-262-1492 (Domestic students and Canadian students outside of Quebec) and, for international students including Quebec, at ncaa.org/contactinternational.
Given the unique circumstances and cancellations due to COVID-19, will there be any flexibility in the initial-eligibility standard for students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date (as determined by the start of year nine) who initially enroll full time at an NCAA member school in the 2020-21 academic year?
Students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date who initially enroll full time at an NCAA school in 2020-21 will be academically eligible to receive athletics scholarship, practice and compete in the first year of full-time enrollment if they meet the following criteria:
• Meet the core-course progression requirement for NCAA-approved core courses (10 core units, seven of which must be in English, math or science) before start of
the seventh semester; and
• Present a 2.300 or higher core-course GPA in such courses.
• Complete 10 NCAA-approved core course units before start of the seventh semester; and
• Present a 2.200 or higher core-course GPA in such courses.
*Note: These criteria do not include ACT/SAT scores. The criteria also do not apply to students
who are expected to graduate after Spring/Summer 2020
This also applies to homeschool students.
How will the student’s final status appear in their Eligibility Center account?
The student’s account will show “Final Nonqualifier” with “COVID-19 Automatic Waiver Approved” in the Academic Status field, as shown in the example student account below:
This status indicates that although the NCAA-legislated initial-eligibility standard was not completely met, the student is academically eligible to receive an athletics scholarship, practice and compete in the first year of full-time enrollment at an NCAA member school.
When will student accounts be updated?
This standard will be applied at any time the student’s Eligibility Center account is evaluated, either preliminary or final certification. If students with an expected graduation date in Spring/Summer 2020 have already been evaluated, a retroactive application of these criteria will be applied once programming is complete. We anticipate the update will occur on or around May 1, 2020.
Due to international mail disruptions and school closures, will there be any flexibility in requiring official academic documents?
Yes. Official academic records are necessary to ensure accurate initial-eligibility certifications and should be submitted via an approved channel whenever possible. Given the unique circumstances, if only unofficial records are available for students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date who initially enroll full time in 2020-21, please submit them to email@example.com directly from the email address associated with the student’s Eligibility Center account in the event they are needed for future evaluation.
Will students who meet the COVID-19 Automatic Waiver criteria be required to submit a final high school transcript with proof of graduation?
Proof of graduation is not a requirement for the COVID-19 Automatic Waiver, which may be applied during a preliminary evaluation; however, students are encouraged to submit a final high school transcript (similar to early academic qualifiers) when it becomes available to complete their academic record for NCAA Research purposes.
How will the Eligibility Center approach schools with NCAA-approved core courses that have moved to distance or e-learning environments in Spring/Summer 2020 due to school closures?
The Eligibility Center will not require a separate review of distance or e-learning programs used for Spring/Summer 2020 in response to closures due to COVID-19. Students are encouraged to complete their NCAA-approved core courses through the channels of instruction provided or recommended by their school, district or state department of education.
Note: This policy will apply to students from all grade levels (e.g., freshmen, sophomores) who complete distance or e-learning courses in Spring/Summer 2020.
For schools with NCAA-approved core courses, how will the Eligibility Center approach those schools that issue Pass/Fail grades in Spring/Summer 2020 due to school closures?
For NCAA-approved core courses completed in Spring/Summer 2020 that have been issued a grade of “Pass,” the Eligibility Center will apply the credit earned in these courses toward the core course requirement in the student’s certification. If the student’s core-course GPA would increase by assigning a value of 2.300, this value will be assigned to the Passed courses. However, if the student’s core-course GPA would decrease by including the 2.300 value for Passed courses, the student’s core-course GPA will be calculated based only on courses with assigned letter grades
from other available terms (credit from these courses will still be applied toward the student’s core course requirements).
Note: This policy will apply to students from all grade levels (e.g., freshmen, sophomores) who successfully complete NCAA-approved Pass/Fail courses in Spring/Summer 2020.
Will there be any flexibility in the Division I core-course time limitation for students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date (as determined by the start of year nine) who initially enroll full time in 2020-21?
Yes. For students with an expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduation date who initially enroll full time in 2020-21, up to six core-course units completed after starting the seventh semester (and
before full-time enrollment) will be used in the student’s initial-eligibility certification, regardless of whether the student graduated on time or when the courses are completed (i.e., during the academic year or Summer term). This approach will allow students impacted by school closures to complete additional core courses toward their initial eligibility.
Note: For Division I, all core courses completed before full-time enrollment may be used in the academic-redshirt certification.
What about expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduates who delay graduation or full-time enrollment due to COVID-19?
For Division I and II, expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduates (as determined by the start of year nine) who delay graduation or full-time enrollment due to COVID-19 will receive the benefit of
policies applicable to those who enroll full time in 2020-21.
How will the Eligibility Center approach the cancellation of international leaving examinations in Spring/Summer 2020?
The Eligibility Center encourages submission of official year-by-year transcripts for evaluation of international students. In terms of satisfying graduation requirements, for countries and/or
examination boards issuing certificates/diplomas without final exams (based on other assessment methodologies), the Eligibility Center will accept the credential as acceptable proof of high school graduation provided it is listed as an acceptable proof of graduation in the NCAA International Guide. The Graduation Timeline Confirmation Form may also be submitted, as appropriate, to extend the graduation timeline.
Will other classes (e.g., sophomores, juniors) receive any flexibility in the NCAA initial-eligibility standard as a result of the environment in Spring/Summer 2020?
The approach to Pass/Fail and distance/e-learning courses will apply to all students, including subsequent classes, who complete NCAA-approved core courses in Spring/Summer 2020. At this
time, we do not anticipate that application of the adjusted standard will extend beyond expected Spring/Summer 2020 graduates who initially enroll full time in 2020-21, but we will continue to
monitor the situation as it evolves.
The full document is available here.
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