The NCAA academic and membership affairs staff issued an interpretation in Division I on July 7, 2011, concerning the criteria for determining the seasons of competition for prospective student-athletes presenting secondary-school credentials from countries with multiple tiers of secondary-school education who subsequently complete an additional year or years of secondary-school in another country. Specifically, the staff “determined that a prospective student-athlete from a country with multiple tiers of secondary education, who successfully completes the initial tier of secondary education in his or her home country [e.g., General Certificate of Secondary Education in the United Kingdom] within the timeframe prescribed for completion by the country’s ministry of education, and subsequently graduates from a secondary school in another country, including the United States, shall be permitted to advance his or her graduation date by one year”. The staff also determined “the countries for which this policy applies are all multitiered leaving exam countries” including, but not limited to, “the United Kingdom; the University of Cambridge international exam program; New Zealand; Quebec, Canada; Scotland; the Caribbean exam countries and British patterned Africa”. The staff referenced NCAA Division I Bylaws 14.2.3 (criteria for determining season of competition), 18.104.22.168 (tennis and swimming and diving), 22.214.171.124 (delayed enrollment — tennis, swimming and diving and women’s volleyball), 126.96.36.199.1 (core-curriculum time limitation) and 188.8.131.52 (international academic standards) in this interpretation.
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions review this interpretation and ensure all pertinent administrators and offices incorporate the interpretation into recruiting and initial-eligibility procedures.