Question: Is there an age limit to enroll in college and begin playing as a college student-athlete?
Answer: No. There is no age limit to enroll as a fulltime student and participate in college athletics.
Question: When I enroll as a fulltime college student, how many years can I play my sport?
Answer: NCAA DI student-athletes receive four seasons of competition, and have to finish them within five years of enrolling in a college fulltime. This is often referred to as the “Five-Year Clock”. Division 2 and Division 3 student-athletes have to complete their four seasons within their first 10 semesters or 15 quarters after enrolling fulltime. This is often referred to as the “10-Semester/15-Quarter Rule”.
Question: Does my time spent in the armed services as active military duty personnel negatively impact my eligibility to play college sports?
Answer: No. Simply serving your country as active duty military personnel does not negatively impact your ability to participate in college sports. As long as you’re on active duty and not enrolled fulltime at a college, the “Five-Year Clock or “10-Semester/15-Quarter” rules don’t apply to you. Many times the phrase, “the eligibility clock is frozen” is used to describe this exception available to active duty military personnel.
Question: Could enrolling in college and attending classes while I’m on active military duty negatively impact my eligibility to play college sports?
Answer: Yes, but only if you are enrolled as a fulltime student. Any time you attend college fulltime while serving your active duty assignment, that time will count against your five calendar years (DI) or 10 semesters (D2/D3). Your clock is not frozen when you are enrolled fulltime, no matter where you are. But, if you enroll in college part-time while on active duty your clock remains frozen, so enrolling part-time in college will not negatively impact your eligibility.
Question: After transitioning out of active duty military service, how soon can I enroll as a fulltime student and begin competing in my sport?
Answer: You may enroll and begin participating in your sport immediately.
Question: After transitioning out of active duty military service, do I have a deadline or a limited amount of time to get enrolled in college before my eligibility to play a sport is negatively affected?
Answer: It depends. If you were not previously enrolled fulltime in college before you enlisted, there is no deadline or time limit that will impact your eligibility to play. But, if you were enrolled fulltime in college before enlisting, and plan to participate as an NCAA Division 1 student-athlete, remember that your “Five-Year Clock” was “frozen” during active duty. When you complete your transition out of active duty, your clock remains frozen until the next semester’s classes begin at the NCAA Division 1 college. Once classes begin in that upcoming semester, your “Five-Year Clock” starts ticking again whether you are enrolled or not enrolled.
Question: I was a college student-athlete prior to enlisting for active military duty, but I will enroll in a different school when I transition out of active duty. Do I have to sit out a year of playing my sport because I’m transferring colleges?
Answer: No. If you were a college student-athlete that left school to start your active duty and are enrolling in a different collegiate institution when transitioning out of the military, you do not have to sit out a year from your sport.
NCAA Rules information provided by our affiliate, Forward Progress Athletics Consulting (www.ForwardProgressAC.com).