NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement

When a student-athlete is declared eligible for participation in collegiate athletics, he or she must follow all NCAA rules to remain eligible. If a student-athlete is found to have committed an NCAA rules violation, then he or she will be declared ineligible for participation or competition in collegiate athletics. If a student wants to have their eligibility reinstated, then they must make the request through the Student-Athlete Reinstatement team. If you have legal questions about a student-athlete reinstatement, then it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney right away.

What is Student-Athlete Reinstatement?

Student-athlete reinstatement is the process to earn reinstatement after a student-athlete is declared ineligible. If a student-athlete commits a violation that affects their eligibility, then his or her institution will submit the case to the student-athlete reinstatement staff. If the student-athlete's institution believes that a specific eligibility waiver is needed, then they also can submit the case to student-athlete reinstatement.

Who Decides Whether a Student-Athlete is Reinstated?

When a case is submitted to the student-athlete reinstatement staff, the case is assigned to a staff member who will investigate the file and request and obtain any additional information as needed. The student-athlete reinstatement staff member then forwards the case to the student-athlete reinstatement staff, who will review the case and make a decision. The student-athlete reinstatement staff will consider factors such as normal policies and procedures, committee guidelines, case precedent, any mitigation, and any other relevant information.

The student-athlete reinstatement staff states that it subscribes to a students-first philosophy. The actions of the staff are meant to attempt to put the student-athlete back to their original position before committing the violation while also determining culpability and punishment. The purpose of the student-athlete reinstatement staff is to review the entire case and circumstances to render a fair outcome to the student-athlete.

Who Has Authority Over Reinstatement Policies and Decisions?

The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee in each division of competition has the final authority over reinstatement policies and decisions. All appeals of reinstatement denials end up with this committee.

The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee for Division I is made up of five members. These members are from Division I schools and conferences. This committee has full authority over Division I student-athlete reinstatements.

The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee for Division II is made up of five members. These members are from Division II schools and conferences. This committee has full authority over Division II student-athlete reinstatements.

The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee for Division III is made up of five members. These members are from Division III schools and conferences. This committee has full authority over Division III student-athlete reinstatements.

What is a Buckley Statement?

A Buckley Statement is a student-athlete's authorization for his or her institution, athletics conference, and the NCAA to obtain and review any documents that can pertain to their eligibility. The student-athlete also authorizes the NCAA to disclose his or her name to third parties, including the media, to explain any NCAA decisions regarding eligibility or ineligibility. If the NCAA does not previously obtain this authorization, then any disclosure to a third party would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It is called a Buckley Statement after one of the FERPA's biggest proponents, New York Senator James L. Buckley.

NCAA Division I Previously Approved Waiver and Reinstatement Requests

For Division I student-athletes, there are four previously approved waiver requests.

  • NCAA Bylaw 12.8.1.7 – Five-year rule waiver – 2 previous hardship waivers. This waiver applies to student-athletes who were unable to complete four seasons of competition in five years and were issued two separate hardship waivers.
  • NCAA Bylaw 12.8.1.7 – Five-year rule waiver – Redshirt + approved hardship waiver. This waiver applies to student-athletes who were unable to complete four seasons of competition in five years and were issued one hardship waiver while being redshirted for their initial year.
  • NCAA Bylaw 12.8.1.7 – Five-year rule waiver – COVID-19. This waiver applies to athletes who had a season canceled due to COVID-19 or student-athletes who did not compete because of a COVID-19 related reason.
  • NCAA Bylaw 12.8.6 – Season of competition waiver. This waiver allows schools to self-apply eligibility to student-athletes whose season was canceled due to COVID-19.

There are also two previously approved reinstatement requests:

  • NCAA Bylaws 13.6.7.9 and 13.7.4 – Activities during a school visit. This reinstatement request applies when a recruit was arranged an improper presentation, but the recruiting aid did not provide any tangible benefit to the recruit.
  • NCAA Bylaw 15.1 – Maximum limit on an individual's financial aid. This reinstatement request applies when a student-athlete unknowingly is given excessive financial aid and was the result of an institutional error. Once the excess aid is repaid to a charity of the student-athlete's choice, he or she can be reinstated.

NCAA Division II Previously Approved Waiver Requests

For Division II student-athletes, there are four previously approved waiver requests.

  • NCAA Bylaw 14.2.2.4 – Ten semester/15 quarter rule waiver – 2 previous hardship waivers. This waiver applies to student-athletes who were unable to complete four seasons of competition in his or her ten semester/15 quarter period of eligibility and were issued two separate hardship waivers.
  • NCAA Bylaw 14.2.2.4.1.4 – Student-athlete who does not use a season of competition in the initial year. This waiver applies to student-athletes who were unable to complete four seasons of competition in his or her ten semester/15 quarter period of eligibility and were issued one hardship waiver while being redshirted for their initial year.
  • NCAA Bylaw 14.2.2.4 – Ten semester/15 quarter period of eligibility rule waiver – COVID-19. This waiver applies to athletes who had a season canceled due to COVID-19 or student-athletes who did not compete because of a COVID-19 related reason.

NCAA Division III Previously Approved Waiver Requests

For Division III student-athletes, there is one previously approved waiver request.

  • NCAA Bylaw 14.2.2.4 – Ten semester/15 quarter period of eligibility rule waiver. This waiver applies to student-athletes who were unable to complete four seasons of competition in his or her ten semester/15 quarter period of eligibility and were issued two separate hardship waivers.

How Long Does the Reinstatement Process Take?

There is no set time regarding how long the reinstatement process is expected to take. Each case requires its own timeline due to case complexity. Once all of the initial information and documentation is submitted to the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff, it will take about a week for the reinstatement staff to make a decision and forward the decision to the institution. The reinstatement staff will always work with pending competition dates in mind to work towards making decisions before competition. If a case is marked urgent, it means that the student-athlete is pending competition within ten days of submission. The speed of any review and decision is solely within the authority of the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement committee and its staff.

What Happens Once a Decision is Made?

If a student-athlete reinstatement request is approved, then the student-athlete will be reinstated, and the case will be resolved. If a student-athlete's reinstatement request is denied, then a school may do one of three things; accept the decision, request reconsideration, or request an appeal.

If the school accepts the denial, then the case is closed, and the school waives any rights it has to appeal the decision. If the school requests reconsideration, then it must do so within 30 days of receiving a decision and is only available when new information is obtained that wasn't previously available. If a school requests an appeal, then it must do so within 30 days, and the case will be forwarded to the NCAA Committee for student-athlete reinstatement. A school can request an appeal after a request for reconsideration is denied. The decision made by the NCAA committee is final. If you have legal questions about NCAA transfer waivers, then call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm so we can help!

Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice

If you are an NCAA student-athlete who needs help with reinstatement, then it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully represented countless student-athletes across the country dealing with reinstatement issues. Call us today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help you with your reinstatement.

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