Last 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 follow-up on this theme, I have provided an analysis of a more specific issue: the cancellation or reduction of a scholarship during the academic year.
You are a scholarship student-athlete at a Division I university. At the end of the school year, your coach informs you that you’ll be required to meet certain performance and conditioning benchmarks upon your return the following school year. Failure to reach those benchmarks will result in the immediate cancellation of your athletic scholarship.
Can the coach and university do this? What are the NCAA’s rules concerning the cancellation or reduction of athletic scholarships during the academic year?
No, a coach cannot cancel or reduce your scholarship during the season for an athletic reason. According to Bylaw 126.96.36.199, an athletic scholarship may not be reduced or canceled during the period of its award:
(a) On the basis of a student-athlete’s athletics ability, performance or contribution to a team’s success;
(b) Because of an injury, illness, or physical or mental medical condition (except as permitted pursuant to Bylaw 188.8.131.52 [see below]); or
(c) For any other athletics reason.
As I covered previously, under Bylaw 184.108.40.206, a coach or university may only cut your scholarship during the school year if you:
- Become ineligible;
- Fraudulently misrepresent any information on a university document;
- Engage in serious misconduct; or
- Voluntarily withdraw from your team.
Please note that if a coach or university does attempt to cancel your scholarship during the school year, you have the right to appeal and to a hearing.