NJCAA COVID-19 FAQs

NJCAA COVID-19 FAQs

ELIGIBILITY AND COMPLIANCE SECTION

  • QUESTION:  Student-athlete X participated in 10 games of the 2020 softball season prior to the NJCAA canceling all spring sport participation. Has student-athlete X used a season of NJCAA softball eligibility?
    ANSWER: No, the NJCAA is not charging a season of eligibility for any student-athlete regardless of participation in the spring 2020 season.

  • QUESTION: What is considered a spring sport in the NJCAA?
    ANSWER: Baseball, Beach Volleyball, Golf, Lacrosse, Softball, Tennis (DI Men's, DI Women's, DIII Men's), Outdoor Track and Field

  • QUESTION: Since the NJCAA has cancelled all participation for spring sports for the 2020 season, what does a member institution have to do to get the student-athlete's season of eligibility reinstated?
    ANSWER: For spring 2020 sports only, it is not required to file a hardship or for the college president to submit a letter notifying the NJCAA National Office of their decision to cancel the spring 2020 season as a result of COVID-19, as previously directed.

  • QUESTION: Our college had not yet competed in the spring 2020 season at the time of the NJCAA announcement canceling all spring participation. Does the college still need to file spring eligibility?
    ANSWER: For the spring 2020 sport season, if the member institution has not yet filed eligibility, there is no reason to do so. No student-athlete will be charged a season of eligibility for the spring 2020 NJCAA athletic season.

  • QUESTION: As some NJCAA basketball championships were canceled, do those students regain a season of sport eligibility?
    ANSWER:  No, all fall and winter NJCAA sports must meet the standard hardship requirements as outlined in Article V, Section 5.B. The special allowance only applies to the spring 2020 NJCAA sport season.

  • QUESTION: If a student-athlete is a second-season athlete in the spring 2020 season and they decide to return to an NJCAA member institution the following year, would they be required to be full-time in the term which they choose to participate? What if they need less than full-time status to graduate - are they still required to be full-time in order to participate?
    ANSWER: Currently, the enrollment requirement for all NJCAA student-athletes is to be a full-time student at the school in which the student-athlete participates. However, the eligibility committee is currently discussing these types of situations. This minimum standard applies to all participation even when a student-athlete has fewer required credits than full-time status to graduate.  

  • QUESTION: Is it possible to be a dual-enrolled student, taking some classes/hours at the community college and taking some classes/hours at a local four-year institution while playing at the community college.
    ANSWER: Currently, the enrollment requirement for all NJCAA student-athletes is to be a full-time student at the school in which the student-athlete participates. However, the eligibility committee is currently discussing these types of situations. This minimum standard applies to all participation even when a student-athlete has fewer required credits than full-time status to graduate.

  • QUESTION: May student-athletes use athletic facilities to work out, including gym, weight room, and/or fields?
    ANSWER: Provided the college has no restriction against any member of the general student population using the service area or facility then it is permissible for student-athletes to as well. However, it is not permissible to have organized or structured team activities as structured participation (practice, games, and championships) has been canceled for the remainder of the spring 2020 term.

  • QUESTION: Community College X's golf team plays a fall regular season and then competes in the NJCAA championship in the spring season. Do golf student-athletes get both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 seasons of participation reinstated or just the spring 2020 season?
    ANSWER: In the sports of men's and women's golf as well as men's DI and DIII tennis and women's DI tennis, athletes will not be charged a season of NJCAA eligibility for any participation in the fall 2019 or spring 2020 seasons. The sport of women's DIII tennis is charged with a season of participation since its regular season and championship are both in the fall season.

  • QUESTION: A student-athlete completes the degree requirements and earns an Associate Degree. They have NJCAA eligibility remaining in a sport. Is a student-athlete who has earned a college degree, but has remaining NJCAA eligibility permitted to participate?
    ANSWER: Yes, earning a college degree does not restrict a student-athlete from participating provided they have NJCAA eligibility remaining. In the NJCAA, all student-athletes can participate in their first two (2) seasons of eligibility in a sport. 

  • QUESTION: Several student-athletes on our campus are experiencing a hardship due to the Coronavirus situation. Some examples of hardships are lack of a place to stay now that the dorms have closed, lack of a place to get food since dining halls have closed and lack of a home computer to complete assignments now that all instruction is being taught virtually. May the athletic department or a representative for the athletics department provide additional support and or resources to the student-athletes that are not covered by an NJCAA Letter of Intent or may be outside of the permissible allowances of NJCAA bylaws?
    ANSWER: It is not permissible for representatives of the athletic department or the athletic department to provide benefits which are either outside of the allowances of scholarship limitations or defined benefits listed on an LOI. However, if a member institution provides that same allowance to the general student population and not limit it to the student-athlete population, it would be permissible.  If the member college is opening the benefit or assistance to the entire student population, it is an allowable practice.

RECRUITING AND LETTER OF INTENT SECTION

  • QUESTION: Is the current restriction on recruiting only limited to face-to-face recruiting or all recruiting practices?
    ANSWER: This restriction applies to face-to-face on and off-campus recruiting.  It is permissible to email, text, phone call, etc. recruits during this time.

  • QUESTION: Community College A would like to host a skills camp for 9th through 12th graders during the current national recruiting restriction period. Is it permissible for the member college to host a skills clinic during this period?
    ANSWER: There is no NJCAA bylaw which would restrict this practice; however, it is not permissible to have 12th graders on campus or any other face-to-face athletic contact. 12th graders are eligible to be signed to an NJCAA LOI and therefore are identified as recruitable. It is not permissible to hold face-to-face recruiting initiatives until May 15, 2020.  

  • QUESTION: Is it permissible to sign recruits to NJCAA Letters of Intent during this time of limited recruitment?
    ANSWER: Yes, members colleges may continue to sign recruits to NJCAA Letters of Intent provided the signings are not face-to-face.  

  • QUESTION: Community College X is offering an LOI to an upcoming 2nd season athlete. The college has closed due to the coronavirus and all students are back home and no longer on campus. Does the college need to have "original" signatures on the LOI which they upload and have on file?
    ANSWER: While the NJCAA would prefer original signatures on file, original signatures are not required. It is permissible for the member institution to create a Letter of Intent, convert it to an electronic file, and send to the recruit as an attachment through email or fax.  If the recruit accepts the offer, they could send it back via standard mail, or scan and return via email or fax; a picture of the signed Letter of Intent is not acceptable. The member college must secure the remaining signatures and maintain in their on-campus file in case of audit. 

  • QUESTION:  With the NJCAA canceling the remainder of winter and spring sports seasons, are student-athletes recruitable if they are not signed to a current NJCAA Letter of Intent (LOI)?
    ANSWER: Winter and spring sport student-athletes are recruitable at this time, provided they have been released from their LOI or were never signed to an LOI. Based on new bylaw wording recently adopted by the Board of Regents, a student-athlete becomes recruitable at the time they are released. There is no longer a requirement to wait until the end of the academic term in which the sport season ends. 

  • QUESTION: Is it allowable for the NJCAA Letters of Intent (LOI) to be signed electronically?
    ANSWER: The NJCAA is allowing electronic signatures to be used in the LOI signing process. Many schools have programs which allow them to use electronic signatures, such as DocuSign or other electronic signature software. If your college has this program or a similar program, this may be used for the athletic director, president, student-athlete and parent (if applicable) signatures and dates. In cases where the college does not have an electronic signature program but has an electronic signature for the athletic director and president on file, that electronic signature may be used with the athletic director and president's approval. The student-athlete and parent (if applicable) would still need a handwritten signature and date which may then be scanned and emailed or faxed or returned hardcopy through the mail service.

  • QUESTION: What steps should a member college take if it looks like one of the LOI signature deadlines are not going to be met, as required by NJCAA bylaws, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?     ANSWER: The NJCAA recognizes that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, in some cases there is a greater delay associated to collecting the required signatures associated with LOI. These delays relate to things such as limited technical capacity for both recruits and Athletic Directors to delays in the postal system just to mention a couple. In the case where a member institution suspects that a signature deadline may be missed or has been missed directly related to the COVID-19 situation, they should do the following:
    1. Send an email to rules@njcaa.org explaining the situation and providing as much detail as possible. At a minimum include the following:
      • Name of recruit?
      • Sport
      • What deadlines have not been met or may not be met?
      • What circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, caused the deadlines to be missed?
    2. The NJCAA compliance and Eligibility Division will work with each institution on a case by case basis to navigate the situation and provide instruction for the member institution to move forward. 

NCAA & NAIA TRANSFER SECTION

  • QUESTION: The NJCAA Board of Regents has approved that no NJCAA spring 2020 student-athlete will be charged with a season of NJCAA participation in the following sports: baseball, softball, beach volleyball, lacrosse, golf, men's DI and DIII tennis, women's DI tennis and outdoor track and field.  How will this decision be viewed and accepted by the NCAA and NAIA?
  • ANSWER: The NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA agreed that communication among campuses will be important as spring 2020 student-athletes are properly informed and make decisions related to actions influenced by COVID-19.

  • QUESTION: The NJCAA has made a blanket ruling to not charge a season of eligibility for spring 2020 student-athletes, what documentation will the NCAA require to support this ruling upon transfer?
  • ANSWER: The NJCAA will provide each member institution with a standard ruling for the spring 2020 sports season. This ruling should be shared, by the school administration, with all spring 2020 student-athletes. The NCAA and the NAIA both assured the NJCAA that nothing other than the ordinary requirements would be necessary for a student transferring to their association.

  • QUESTION: What documentation will a 4-2 transfer have from the NCAA or NAIA documenting the participation waiver for the spring 2020 sport season?
  • ANSWER: The NJCAA recommends using the NJCAA Transfer Tracking form which has been edited to address the Spring 2020 spring sport season.

  • QUESTION: Due to the fact colleges and universities had to move to an online delivery model, has or will the NCAA and the NAIA make any changes to the academic progress requirements for affected student-athletes?
  • ANSWER: Currently, all academic requirements for the NCAA (all divisions), NAIA, and the NJCAA remain in place.  Any extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case by case basis as needed or determined by each governing body.

  • QUESTION: Will the 4-2-4 transfer be evaluated the same as the 2-4 transfer?
  • ANSWER: Both the NCAA (all divisions) and the NAIA will continue to evaluate all transfers as they previously did. Any extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case by case basis as needed or determined by each governing body.

 

FALL 2020 ONLY ACADEMIC EXCEPTIONS

First Season Student-Athlete Scenarios

Case 1

Two Full-Time Terms No Athletic Participation

SITUATION:

A fall sport student-athlete who has not participated in athletics enrolls in their second full-time term during the spring of 2020.  The student-athlete passes 12 hours with a 1.75 GPA in the spring 2020 academic term. The student has a total accumulation of 16 credits hours with a 1.78 GPA. Due to the COVID-19 virus and lack of a computer, the student-athlete cannot take and pass any more hours in the summer.  What does this student need to be eligible in the fall 2020 term?

ANSWER:

They will need to have a minimum accumulation of 18 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher to be eligible in Fall 2020.  Because the student-athlete was enrolled full-time in spring 2020 academic term beyond the 18th calendar day of the term they can use the fall 2020 academic exceptions. 


Case 2

Fall Student-Athlete Part-Time Spring 2020

SITUATION: 

A fall sport student-athlete who has not participated in athletics passed 12 credits during the fall 2019 term.  The student-athlete dropped to part-time status in the spring 2020 term prior to the 18th calendar day and passes six (6) credits.  Does the student-athlete who is now going into their first season of participation need to have an accumulation of 12 or 18 credit hours to be academically eligible for the fall 2020 season?

ANSWER:

Because the student-athlete was not full-time beyond the 18th calendar day of the spring 2020 academic term, the fall 2020 academic exception cannot be used.  This student-athlete must meet the standard eligibility requirements for a first season student-athlete who has only attempted one full-time academic term and have an accumulation of 12 credits with a 1.75 GPA or higher.


Case 3

 Withdrew Spring 2020 & Part-Time Fall 2020

SITUATION:

A first-year lacrosse student-athlete whose initial college enrollment was the spring 2020 term withdrew from all their courses (12 credits) after the 18th calendar day of the spring 2020 term.  Due to COVID-19 and the lack of computers the student-athlete cannot take and pass any more courses. This student-athlete goes part-time in the fall 2020 term.  What does this student-athlete need, to be academically eligible going into spring 2021 season?

ANSWER: 

This first season student-athlete has attempted one full-time term so they would need to have an accumulation of 12 credit hours with a 1.75 GPA or higher to be academically eligible.  Though the student in question was affected by COVID-19, the academic exceptions only applied to the fall 2020 academic term. All subsequent academic terms, after the fall 2020 term must meet the standard academic progress requirements.


Case 4

 Withdrew Spring 2020 & Full-Time Fall 2020

SITUATION:

A first-year softball student-athlete whose initial college enrollment was the spring 2020 term withdrew from all her courses (12 credits) after the 18th calendar day of the spring 2020 term.  Due to COVID-19 and the lack of computers the student-athlete cannot take and pass any more courses. This student-athlete goes full-time in the fall 2020 term.  What does this student-athlete need, to be academically eligible going into spring 2021 season?

ANSWER: 

This first season student-athlete has attempted two full-time terms so they would either need to have passed the fall 2020 term with 12 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or have an accumulation of 24 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA to be academically eligible. 


Case 5

Fall Student-Athlete Initial Enrollment Spring 2020

SITUATION:

A first-year fall student-athlete's initial college enrollment was the spring 2020 academic term.   This student-athlete attempted 12 credits but passed six (6) credits during this term.  They were part-time during the summer 2020 term, passing three (3) credits.  Does the student-athlete who is now going into their first season of participation need to have an accumulation of 12 credits hours with a 1.75 GPA for the fall 2020 season?

ANSWER: 

No, the fall 2020 academic exception would apply in this situation because the student-athlete was enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 academic term. This student-athlete would need to have an accumulation of 6 credit hours with a 1.75 GPA or higher to be eligible for the fall 2020 season?


Case 6

Fall Student-Athlete Dropped Below Full-Time Spring 2020

SITUATION:

A first-year soccer student-athlete initial college enrollment was the spring 2020 academic term as a full-time student. Due to COVID-19 the student-athlete dropped three (3) credit hours and passed nine (9) credit hours with a 1.75 GPA. With the fall exception rule, is the student-athlete eligible to participate in the fall 2020 academic term?

ANSWER:

Because the student-athlete was enrolled full-time in spring 2020 academic term beyond the 18th calendar day of the term, the fall exception rule can be used. The student-athlete can be academically eligible in fall 2020 with six (6) credits hours and a 1.75 GPA.


Case 7

Two or More Full-Time Terms

SITUATION:

 A first-year fall student-athlete initial college enrollment was the spring 2019 academic term. The student has never participated in intercollegiate athletics and the student-athlete was a full-time student in the spring 2019, fall 2019, and the spring 2020 academic terms. Due to COVID-19, the student-athlete passes six (6) out of 12 credit hours in the spring 2020 academic term. The student now has an accumulation of 30 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA in three full-time terms.  Does the student need 30 or 36 credits with a 2.0 GPA to be academically eligible for the fall 2020 term?

ANSWER: 

This student-athlete would need to have an accumulation of 30 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA.  Because the student-athlete was enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 academic term they can use the fall academic exception for the Best Hours Accumulation Rule which reduces their accumulation by six (6) credit hours.


Case 8

Fall Student-Athlete Not Enrolled Spring 2020

SITUATION:

A fall sport student-athlete that has never participated in intercollegiate athletics is in their first full-time term during the fall of 2019. The student passed nine (9) credit hours with a 1.75 GPA.  The student did not enroll in the spring 2020 nor summer 2020 academic terms.  Is this student academically eligible as a first season participant for the fall 2020 academic term with an accumulation of nine (9) credit hours with a 1.75 GPA?

ANSWER: 

No, because the student-athlete in question did not enroll in the spring 2020 academic term, the fall exception rule does not apply. This student must meet the standard academic eligibility requirements and needs 12 credits hours and a 1.75 GPA to be academically eligible for the fall 2020 season.


Case 9

Spring Student-Athlete Graduated Spring 2020

SITUATION:  A spring student-athlete that has never participated in intercollegiate athletics decides to participate in the spring 2021 season. The student was a full-time student in the spring 2020 term, and graduates at the end of the spring 2020 academic term. What does this student need to participate in the 2020-2021 season?

ANSWER: This student may participate in the spring 2021 NJCAA sports season while enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours. All six (6) credit hours must begin before the end of the published regular season schedule of the student-athletes chosen sport. The institution must document that the student-athlete has completed all degree requirements, as determined by the institution. This one-time allowance is ONLY for students who were enrolled full-time at a college or university in the spring 2020. Student-athletes must not have previously competed in two or more seasons of the desired sport.


Second Season Student-Athlete Scenarios

Case 1

Fall Sport Student-Athlete Not Enrolled Full-Time in Spring 2020

SITUATION:

A fall sport student-athlete that was a first season participant in the fall 2019 season, earned 14 total credits, but did not attend classes in the spring of 2020.  Does this now second season student-athlete need to have an accumulation of 18 or 24 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA to be academically eligible for the fall 2020 season?

ANSWER:

Because the student-athlete was not full-time during the spring 2020 term the fall 2020 academic exception cannot be used.  This student-athlete must meet the standard eligibility requirements for a second season student-athlete and have an accumulation of 24 credits with a 2.0 GPA or higher.


Case 2

Fall Student-Athlete Unable to Complete Spring Academic Term

SITUATION:

A first season fall sport student-athlete in their first full-time term during the fall 2019 academic term passes 12 hours with a 1.75 GPA.  Due to the pandemic and lack of a computer the student-athlete cannot take and pass any more hours.  Will the student-athlete be eligible for the fall 2020 season without more hours as a second season participant?

ANSWER:

If the student-athlete was enrolled full-time in spring 2020 beyond the 18th calendar day of the term they will need to have an accumulation of 18 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher to be eligible for the fall 2020 season.  If they were not enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 term they will need to have an accumulation of 24 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA.


Case 3

Fall Student-Athlete Takes Summer School Courses

SITUATION:

A first season fall sport student-athlete in their first full-time term during the fall 2019 academic term passes 12 credit hours with a 1.75 GPA.  They do not enroll in the spring 2020 academic term and they pass six (6) credits during the summer to give them 18 credit hours with a 1.75 GPA.  Are they academically eligible as a second season athlete for the fall 2020 season?

ANSWER:

No, the student-athlete must have an accumulation of 24 credits with a 2.0 GPA.  Because the student-athlete was not enrolled full-time beyond the 18th calendar day in the spring 2020 academic term they must meet the normal second season academic requirement in Article V, Section 2.D.3.  This student-athlete meets one of the required first season academic requirements (One Previous Term of Full-Time College Enrollment - Article V, Section 2.D.2.b), but they do not meet the second season academic requirement so they are not eligible for the fall 2020 season.


 Case 4

Fall 2020 Academic Eligibility

SITUATION:

A first-year basketball participant passes 18 credits in two full-time semesters with a 2.0 GPA during the 2019-2020 academic year.  They have only attempted two full-time college academic terms since high school graduation.  Are they eligible going into their third full-time term if they enroll in 12 credits for the fall 2020 academic term? 

ANSWER:

Yes, because they have an accumulation of 18 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA or higher to be eligible in Fall 2020 which meets both a first season academic requirement (Best Hours Accumulation Rule – Article V, Section 2.D.2.d) and the second season academic requirement (Article V, Section 2.D.3).  This student-athlete was enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 academic term therefore they can use the fall 2020 only academic exceptions.  


Case 5

Spring 2021 Academic Eligibility

SITUATION:

A student-athlete graduates high school in the spring of 2019.  They enrolled full-time in college for both the fall 2019 and spring 2020 academic terms.  They participate in basketball and pass 21 credits with a 2.0 GPA (12 credits in the fall and 9 credits in the spring).  During the fall 2020 term they enrolled full-time and upon completion of this term they pass nine (9) credits with a 3.0 GPA.  This student-athlete has now completed three full-time terms.  Do they need to have an accumulation of 36 (3 full time terms x 12) or 30 (12 fall 2019 + 6 spring 2020 + 12 fall 2020 = 30) credit hours with a 2.0 GPA to be academically eligible during the spring 2021 portion of the season?

ANSWER:

The student would need to have accumulated 36 credit hours.  While the student in question was affected by COVID-19, the academic exceptions only applied to the fall 2020 academic term. All subsequent academic terms, following the fall 2020 term must meet the standard academic requirements.  Additionally, the spring 2020 term did not keep them from being eligible in the spring 2021 portion of the basketball season. They are ineligible because they were not academically successful in the fall 2020 academic term. The student could have taken summer 2020 courses or can take intersession courses to regain their academic eligibility for the spring 2021 portion of the season.


Case 6

Fall 2020 Academic Eligibility

SITUATION:

A second season student-athlete for the fall 2020 season was enrolled full-time in the spring 2020 academic term.  This student-athlete passed three (3) credits during the spring 2020 term and they have an accumulation of 18 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA.  This student-athlete has attempted four full-time academic terms.  Are they academically eligible for the fall 2020 term?

ANSWER:

No, while student-athlete meets the reduced second season academic requirement for the fall 2020 term, they do not meet any of the reduced first season academic requirements.


Case 7

 Withdrew Spring 2020 & Full-Time Fall 2020

SITUATION:

A second-year baseball student-athlete has attempted four full-time academic terms (fall 2018, spring 2019, fall 2019 and spring 2020).  They passed their previous full-time term (spring 2020) with 12 credit hours at a 3.0 GPA and go part-time during the fall 2020 academic term.  What does this student-athlete need, to be academically eligible going into the spring 2021 season?

ANSWER: 

Because this student-athlete passed their previous full-time term meeting a regular first season academic requirement they need to have an accumulation of 24 credit hours with a 2.0 GPA to also meet the regular second season academic requirement.  The fall 2020 academic exceptions are no longer available after that term and student-athletes must meet the standard academic progress requirements just as they would have prior to the pandemic.

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