When Can a School Take Away Your Scholarship?

You are a scholarship student-athlete and receive word that your university will be reducing or not renewing your scholarship. 

Can the university do this?  What are the NCAA’s rules concerning the cancellation or reduction of athletic scholarships?  Here are a few key rules to be aware of:

Non-Renewal for the Following Academic Year

As I’ve discussed, there are no full rides in college sports.  Athletic scholarships are limited to 1 year by NCAA rule.  If however, a university does not wish to renew or wishes to reduce a student-athlete’s athletic scholarship, certain rules must be adhered to.  The university must notify the student-athlete in writing of the decision and must provide the opportunity for a hearing.  In addition, the university must provide the student-athlete with all pertinent deadlines and procedures governing such hearings. 

If a student-athlete does not receive written notification of the non-renewal or reduction of his or her scholarship and associated hearing procedures, he or she should request such information in a letter or email to a university representative.

Cancellation During the  Academic Year

A university cannot arbitrarily decide to cut a student-athlete’s scholarship during the school year.  In fact, a university may only cancel a student-athlete’s scholarship if he or she:

  1. Becomes ineligible;
  2. Fraudulently misrepresents any information on a university document; or
  3. Voluntarily withdraws from a team.

The rules concerning notification and the opportunity for a hearing also apply when a scholarship is taken away during the school year.

Comments

  1. Phillip Venson says:

    Is there a deadline as to when they can take the scholarship away because the athlete has to find another school?

    • Dan Fitzgerald says:

      Good question. The deadline is July 1 according to NCAA Bylaw 15.3.5.1 (for Division I).

      15.3.5.1 Institutional Obligation. The renewal of institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics
      ability shall be made on or before July 1 prior to the academic year in which it is to be effective. The institution
      shall promptly notify in writing each student-athlete who received an award the previous academic year and
      who has eligibility remaining in the sport in which financial aid was awarded the previous academic year (under
      Bylaw 14.2) whether the grant has been renewed or not renewed for the ensuing academic year. Notification of
      financial aid renewals and nonrenewals must come from the institution’s regular financial aid authority and not
      from the institution’s athletics department. (Revised: 1/10/95)
      15.3.5.2 Reconsideration of Nonrenewal. It is permissible

      • What is the deadline for Division II?

      • Dan Fitzgerald says:

        The deadline is July 1.

        15.3.5.1 Institutional Obligation. The renewal of institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability shall be made on or before July 1 before the academic year in which it is to be effective. The institution
        shall promptly notify in writing each student-athlete who received an award the previous academic year and who has eligibility remaining in the sport in which financial aid was awarded the previous academic year (under Bylaw 14.2) whether the grant has been renewed or not renewed for the ensuing academic year. Notification of financial aid renewals and nonrenewals must come from the institution’s regular financial aid authority and not from the institution’s athletics department. (Revised: 1/10/95)

      • I don’t know if am asking the right person.
        But I was wondering if you could help me in this matter.. Now I’m an international student who has a scholarship already got accepted in a graduate school that offers a teaching scholarship of 5000$ a semester and as a student that helped magnificently!!

        Now the director wants to take this away just because “I get a monthly living expenses from my scholarship”

        I don’t know what to do or how to prevent this from happening because it’s unfair to just decide this after giving me one semester and cutting me off for no reason. Nevertheless there’s another student who is also sponsored by his government but they never made her an issue!!

        Please inform me of the right steps to take to stop this from happening!
        Thank a lot,

  2. James Jackson says:

    if an athlete signs a scholarship for the 2012-2013 and fails all the classes during spring can the school reduce the scholarship or cancel it. a friend of mine wen through his first season this pass fall and failed almost all of his classes now they called him saying they were reducing his scholarship for the spring. can they do that

  3. Dan Fitzgerald says:

    James, it may depend upon the circumstances. But a school can cut a student-athlete’s scholarship during the year if the student-athlete becomes ineligible. Failing one’s classes is likely to lead to a loss of eligibility.

  4. Can a Division 2 institution take a way a scholarship mid year because the student athlete got caught throwing a party? and if so what is the bylaw?

  5. If I am doing poorly my spring semester and want to withdraw from my entire spring semester, how will that effect my athletic scholarship? Will I have to pay for that semester of school? Or will my scholarship still cover the semester?

  6. Can I school reduce or take away a scholarship if the athlete gets injured during the school year and could not participate for a season? What happens if the injury is permanent leaving them unable to participate in sport to their fullest capacity?

  7. jayjacobs62 says:

    If I receive a d1 baseball scholarship, sign by July 1st, and am injured playing summer baseball, can they take away the scholarship? I was a redshirted this year due to an injury?

    • Dan Fitzgerald says:

      A school cannot revoke a scholarship during the term of award (typically one year) because of injury. Once the documents are signed, the scholarship should be locked in for that year barring a situation that falls under Bylaw 15.3.4.3 However, I would closely review the documents that accompany the scholarship award for any additional language pertaining to injury or participation in summer leagues.

      • Can a D1 school choose not to renew an athletic scholarship in a year subsequent to the year of injury that is medically determined to be permanently disabling for the sport if the student either: [1] suffered the injury in the pre-admission training, and separately, [2] suffered the injury during the course of practice during a red shirt season?

  8. Margaret Tolbert says:

    Can a school demand that you change your major or resign from the team if you are a scholarship athlete?

  9. Can a scholarship be canceled if the students ask for permission to contact another school during the award period? Or does it depend on the school policy?

  10. can a school take a way your scholarship claiming you voluntary withdraw from the team when in reality you just stayed in the locker room during halftime?

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  12. There are definitely a lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a great point to convey up. I provide the ideas above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up the place the most important factor will probably be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged round things like that, but I’m sure that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both girls and boys really feel the impact of just a moments pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  13. If an athlete quits during spring semester does the athlete lose their scholarship

  14. I have a question. If a high school athlete signed a NLI for lacrosse during the early signing period and is then ineligible for the high school team in spring because of a school suspension will this nullify the NLI?

  15. Antoinette says:

    Can a scholarship be taken away from a player because his school unknowingly padded his grades to get into a school? If so is there an appeal process ? What can he do to stay in the school even if he loses the scholarship ?

    • Dan Fitzgerald says:

      Athletic scholarships are typically for one year and may be cancelled for a host of reasons. If however, a university does not wish to renew or wishes to reduce a student-athlete’s athletic scholarship, certain rules must be adhered to. The university must notify the student-athlete in writing of the decision and must provide the opportunity for a hearing. In addition, the university must provide the student-athlete with all pertinent deadlines and procedures governing such hearings. Provided that the student-athlete’s academic standing has not been compromised, he may stay in school provided he pays tuition.

  16. Austin Maass says:

    If a scholarship athlete voluntarily removes himself from the team, is the scholarship still in effect for the remainder of the year so the athlete may remain in school?

  17. Why is it not considered discrimination and why is it legal that the NCAA has one set of academic standards for division 1 athletes and another set for D2? In 2018 the standards will align more closely, but currently D2 is held to a more rigorous academic standard than D1. Why is that legal?

  18. Hello, we are almost halfway through the semester. I was curious on a certain matter. I was kicked from the team a week ago. Recently my coach asked me if I wanted to review my spot on the team and I turned it down. I also told him that this is my last semester at this college. Can my scholarship be taken away during the current semester and I would have to pay what It was?

  19. concerned says:

    Question- And this is more etiquette than legal, I suppose.
    Lets say you suspect that your scholarship amount will be reduced at a d2 football school before the next season. Is there a good way to ask for a chance to talk to other schools without offending the staff?

    Seeing how most d2 football programs have their scholarships doled out by mid February, waiting past January to contact other schools would seem to pose a problem…. what a cluster.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] When Can a School Take Away Your Scholarship? (ctsportslaw.com) [...]

  2. [...] scholarships.  Under the current system a school may only award a scholarship for one year.  Multi-year scholarships, which would be discretionary, may lead to increased security for [...]

  3. [...] fall, I published a post entitled When Can a School Take Away Your Scholarship?, covering the basic NCAA rules on the cancellation or reduction of athletic scholarships.  To [...]

  4. [...] fall, I wrote a post entitled When Can a School Take Away Your Scholarship?, concerning NCAA rules on the cancellation of athletic scholarships.  I followed that post [...]

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