About Eligibility

Commitment to academic achievement and adherence to member-created rules are vital parts of the NCAA’s mission to integrate athletics into the fabric of higher education. NCAA member schools create rules to ensure that the Association’s 430,000 student-athletes compete on equal footing. Various NCAA committees and the national office staff members work to make sure rules are applied fairly.

Remaining Eligible

Academic Waivers

The NCAA requires Divisions I and II student-athletes to make appropriate annual progress toward earning their degrees. This progress is measured in several slightly different ways in the two divisions, including credits earned toward a degree and minimum grade-point average requirements.When Division I or II student-athletes fall short of these academic requirements, an institution can pursue a “progress-toward-degree” waiver to restore eligibility for competition. To qualify for such a waiver, institutions must document the mitigating circumstances that caused the deficiency. A common circumstance is a student-athlete facing a serious medical issue or other personal hardship.

People Behind the Decisions

Division I Progress-Toward-Degree Committee

Jody Sykes, Louisville (chair)

Dawn Martinez, New Mexico

Daniel McCarthy, South Alabama

Chris Helms, Virginia Tech

Scott Lazenby, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jesse James, Tennessee State

Thomas Cody, Western Illinois

Elizabeth D. Dore, Radford

Division II Academic Requirements Committee

Linda Van Drie-Andrzjewski, Wilmington (Delaware) (chair)

Bob Fortosis, Eckerd

Denisha Hendricks, Kentucky State

Laura L. Clayton, West Georgia

Jim Naumovich, Great Lakes Valley Conference

Paul Leidig, Grand Valley State

Keith Vitense, Cameron

Ernest McNealey, Stillman

Tracee Passegi, Cal Poly Pomona

Kirsten Ford, Emporia State

Christopher Phenicie, Limestone

Division III Management Council

Chris Martin, College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (chair)

Charlyn Robert, Nichols

William T. Klika, Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham

Kathryn Baldridge, Gallaudet

Stanton Ching, Connecticut College

Mary Jo Gunning, Marywood

Fredina M. Ingold, Penn State-Altoona

Christopher Thomforde, Moravian

Janine M. Hathorn, Washington and Lee

Timothy D. Downes, Emory

Terry A. Rupert, Wilmington (Ohio)

Nancy L. Meyer, Calvin

Charles S. Harris, Averett

Steven E. Nelson, Wisconsin-Superior

Jeffrey Martinez, Redlands

Kurt J. Beron, Texas-Dallas

Marjorie Hass, Austin

Portia L. Hoeg, Lake Forest

Lou Stark, Coe

Karla Conrad, Manchester

Tucker Glass, Plattsburgh State

Most of these waiver requests are assigned to a staff member at the NCAA national office.

Staff members can approve, deny or conditionally approve a waiver request. The conditional approval means a student-athlete must meet certain requirements to remain eligible. An institution must demonstrate how the condition was met; if the student-athlete fails to meet the condition, the decision reverts to denial.

A Division III student-athlete must be in good academic standing and meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements at his or her institution.  In addition, NCAA rules require Division III student-athletes to enroll in no less than 12 credit-hours per term to compete in athletics.  A Division III institution that wishes to pursue a waiver of the 12-credit enrollment requirement for a student-athlete must document the mitigating circumstances for why the request should be granted.

Institutions may appeal staff decisions to the Division I Progress-Toward-Degree Waiver Committee, the Division II Academic Requirements Committee’s Subcommittee on Progress-Toward-Degree Waivers or the Division III Management Council's Academic Issues Subcommittee. Appeals are heard via teleconference. Members of both committees are administrators and faculty from NCAA schools.

Those membership groups have the same outcome options as the staff: approve, deny or conditionally approve. In Divisions I and II,  their decisions are final. In Division III institutions may appeal to the management council which makes the final decision.

Last Updated: May 31, 2012