Read This Before You Commit to a School

Choosing a college will likely be your most important decision to date, and there are many important factors you need to consider before making a commitment.  College athletic programs have different policies when it comes to providing basic protections for their players.  At the end of the day, even when recruits ask all of the right questions, most will have to rely on a verbal promise from a coach that may or may not be there the next year.  The NCPA successfully sponsored laws in California and Connecticut that require colleges to provide various protections and post key athletic policies online.  We will fight to extend these protections in other states but, in the meantime, the rest of the nation's recruits lack these protections.

The NCPA recommends attempting to independently secure written guarantees when it comes to various protections and benefits.  This can be done via email for example.  If you are able to obtain such guarantees, keep the correspondence in a safe place since it may be the only thing that keeps you from losing your scholarship, paying sports-related medical bills, etc.  If an athletic program refuses to provide written assurances, you should think twice before you commit to that program.  Below is a list of protections that you should consider obtaining in writing before you commit:

 

1. If you except a scholarship offer, the athletic program will honor its offer as long as you meet standard student-athlete admission requirements.

2. If you meet academic and disciplinary standards as a college athlete, the athletic program will continue to renew your scholarship for up to 5 years from the date you entered college or the completion of your undergraduate degree.  This should be guaranteed even if you sustain a permanent injury.

3. If you sustain a sports-related injury, the athletic program will be responsible for any expenses not covered by your medical insurance (deductibles, co-pays, etc.) for up to two years after your eligibility is exhausted.

4. If you do not have medial insurance, the athletic program will pay for all of your medical insurance premiums necessary to meet NCAA and institutional insurance coverage mandates. 

5. If you choose to transfer to another college, the athletic program will grant permission to have contact with other athletic programs and an unconditional athletic release within two weeks of your written request to transfer.  Without this provision, you can be coerced into staying at a school that you do not want to attend. You would also be prevented from receiving a scholarship and potentially playing immediately if you transfer without such permissions.

6. If you are unable to complete your degree before your eligibility is exhausted due to the time demands of being a student-athlete, your school should guarantee that it will keep your scholarship in place for up to 1 additional year as long as you continue to meet the same academic standards required of current student-athletes.  This should be guaranteed regardless of whether or not you redshirt.  This will help offset athletic times demands you will have as a college athlete, which NCAA estimates at 30-44 hrs/week in athletics alone.

7. Also, the NCAA prevents every college from offering a truly full scholarship, which leaves so-called "full scholarship athletes" with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.  The amount varies from one school to the next.  Before you choose a school, be sure to see how much it will cost you because the differences among schools can cost you thousands of dollars per year: On Campus and Off Campus Scholarship Shortfalls By Conference