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College Sports, Division I

New NCAA Division I Interpretations: Discontinued/Nonsponsored Sport Exception

On December 5, 2012, the academic and membership affairs staff issued two interpretations concerning the use of the discontinued/nonsponsored sport exception by two-year college transfers to NCAA Division I institutions. The first interpretation concerned student-athletes who earned no academic credit at the two-year college and the second interpretation concerned student-athletes who attended multiple two-year colleges.

No Credit Earned

The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that “the discontinued/nonsponsored sport exception to the two-year college transfer residence requirement does not apply in a situation in which the student-athlete did not satisfactorily complete any transferable degree credits at the two-year college.”

This interpretation referenced  NCAA Division I Bylaws 14.5.4.5.1 (discontinued/nonsponsored exception) and 14.5.4.5.3.2 (calculation of grade-point average for transferable credit); and an official interpretation (10/20/88, Item No. 4, which has been archived).

Multiple Two-Year Colleges

The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that “the discontinued/nonsponsored sport exception is applicable to a situation in which a student-athlete has attended multiple two-year colleges that either dropped the student-athlete’s sport from their intercollegiate programs or never sponsored the sport on the intercollegiate level while the student-athlete was in attendance at the institutions.”

This interpretation referenced  NCAA Division I Bylaws 14.5.4.6.1 (discontinued/nonsponsored exception) and 14.5.4.5.3.2 (calculation of grade-point average for transferable credit) ); and a staff interpretation (04/29/98, Item No. b, which has been archived).

In light of these interpretations, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance offices include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for athletics staff members, coaches and staff members whose responsibilities interface with athletics eligibility.

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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