Notice of NCAA Organized Competition Legislation

NCAA Division II institutions must provide information regarding the organized competition legislation contained in NCAA Bylaw to high school, preparatory school, two-year and four-year college prospective student-athletes and their parents or legal guardians . The information must be provided at the earliest practical opportunity after the institution begins recruiting the prospective student-athlete, but not later than the day prior to the student-athlete's signed acceptance of the National Letter of Intent or the institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid. An institution may provide the information in hard-copy or electronic form (e.g., electronic mail, link to Web site). [Bylaw]

Important Notice for Prospective Athletes

An individual who does not enroll in a collegiate institution as a full-time student in the regular academic term that begins immediately after a one-year time period (the next opportunity to enroll after the one calendar-year period has elapsed) following his or her high school graduation date shall use one season of intercollegiate competition for each consecutive 12-month period after the one-year time period and before initial full-time collegiate enrollment in which the individual participates in organized competition.

General Rule

This rule determines the number of seasons of competition that a prospect, domestic or international, would have remaining at the time of initial full-time collegiate enrollment if the prospect participated in certain types of organized competition before enrollment at a collegiate institution.

According to the rule, prospects have a one year "grace period" to participate in organized competition without being charged seasons of competition.  The grace period ends one calendar-year after high school graduation.  If the prospect does not enroll full time in college at the next opportunity to enroll after that one-calendar year grace period has elapsed, the prospect will be charged with one season of competition for every 12-month period (or partial period) that he or she participates in organized competition.

In addition to being charged the season(s) of competition, once the organized competition rule is triggered, the prospect must also fulfill an academic year in residence upon enrollment at any NCAA institution before being able to compete in the specific sport for a Division II institution.

Activities Constituting Use of Season

An individual who delays collegiate enrollment and participates in competition that meets any one of the following criteria after his or her one year grace period, will be subject to the organized competition rule:

  • Competition is scheduled in advance;
  • Official score is kept;
  • Individual or team standings or statistics are maintained;
  • Official timer or game officials are used;
  • Admission is charged;
  • Teams are regularly formed or team rosters are predetermined;
  • Team uniforms are used;
  • An individual or team is privately or commercially sponsored; or
  • The competition is either directly or indirectly sponsored, promoted or administered by an individual, an organization or any other agency.

Determining High School Graduation For purposes of determining when the one year grace period starts, an individual's high school graduation shall be considered to be the graduation date of the final high school class (e.g., junior, senior) of which he or she was a member.
In addition, the NCAA International Student Records Committee has determined the expected date of high school graduation for international prospects.  For more information, please contact your compliance administrator or refer to the NCAA Guide to International Academic Standards for Athletics Eligibility at a prospect graduates high school early, he or she becomes a member of that class and the date of graduation for that prospect is the expected date of that class.
If a prospect is required to repeat an entire year of high school attendance, he or she becomes a member of the new class and the expected date of graduation for that prospect is the expected date of that class.  An academic authority from the prospect's secondary school must certify in writing that the prospect was required to repeat an entire year of high school for academic reasons.
A prospect who discontinues high school enrollment is treated as if the actual date of the discontinued high school enrollment is the date of high school graduation.  Therefore, if he or she discontinues high school enrollment and then participates in organized competition, he or she uses one season of competition for each consecutive 12-month period after the grace period has elapsed.

Academic Year in Residence

Once it's been determined that the individual will be charged a season(s) of competition per Bylaw, he or she must also serve an academic year in residence at any member institution before being eligible to compete in that particular sport at a Division II institution. Enrollment in a summer term at a member institution does not satisfy this provision.
There is an exception to the requirement to serve an academic year in residence:  A transfer student who has attended at least two full-time semesters or three full-time quarters at a two-year or four-year college, and has completed an average of twelve transferable degree credits for each full-time term of attendance, is not required to serve an academic year-in-residence.  It is the responsibility of each institution to certify whether the individual meets the exception to the year in residence.  In addition, the institution must provide the NCAA Eligibility Center staff with verification, in writing, confirming that the individual meets the exception.  Such confirmation and accompanying written verification shall be completed by the institution's academic authorities outside the athletics department (e.g., registrar).


There are three exceptions to the organized-competition rule.  If a prospect meets any of these exceptions for each 12-month period in which the prospect participates in organized competition, the prospect will not be charged with seasons of intercollegiate competition.

  • United States Armed Services Exception;
  • National/International Competition Exception; and
  • Skiing Exception.

[References: Bylaw (participation in organized competition before initial collegiate enrollment) and official interpretation, March 19, 2010, Item Ref. No. 6-c-(3).]