On December 21, 2011, the NCAA released an educational column discussing when a student-athlete may use nontraditional courses to meet the full-time enrollment requirement to be eligible for competition.
The following highlights some of the major points NCAA institutions should take from this column:
- An enrollment limit in the number of nontraditional courses for a student-athlete is determined by institutional policies applicable to all students and any applicable conference rules.
- A student-athlete who is enrolled in a nontraditional course that is being used to meet the full-time enrollment requirement and completes the nontraditional course within the first month of the regular academic term is considered full-time for the remainder of the term if the nontraditional course is completed in accordance with institutional policy.
- Student-athletes must enroll in nontraditional courses at the same time he or she enrolls in traditional courses, if the nontraditional courses are to be used. Therefore, if a student-athlete dropped or withdrew from a traditional course in the middle of a term and enrolled in a nontraditional course, he or she could not use the nontraditional course for full-time enrollment or to meet progress-toward-degree requirements unless any student was permitted to enroll in a nontraditional course at that point in the term.
- A nontraditional course that is completed over the course of an entire academic year may be used to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement if the course is conducted during the institution’s regular academic term in accordance with the institution’s academic calendar and applicable policies and procedures. Therefore, such a course could be used to meet the minimum full-time enrollment requirement only if the institution offers similar traditional courses that span the entire academic year and the other criteria of the legislation are met.
This educational column references NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199 (requirement for competition) and 188.8.131.52.6 (nontraditional courses).