ncaa lawyers for student athlete college eligibility

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulates student athletes from 1,098 colleges and universities and 102 different athletic conferences across the United States. Functioning as the general legislative and administrative authority for men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA is charged with creating and enforcing rules of play for various sports as well as the eligibility criteria for student-athletes. When student athletes encounter issues that affect their ability to compete, the NCAA lawyers at Global Sports Advocates provide the representation necessary to resolve college eligibility disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Amateurism Issues

College athletes who are enrolling for the first time at Division I or II schools, including those who transfer from junior colleges, international, or Division III schools, need to have a final amateurism certification before they are eligible to compete.

Some of the scenarios that can potentially jeopardize a student’s amateur status include:

  • Receiving prize money for a performance/competition
  • Being paid to participate on a sports team
  • Being given funds to offset training expenses
  • Accepting an offer to promote a commercial product or service
  • Having a professional sports agent
  • Using a recruiting agency, scouting service, or scholarship agent
  • Graduating from high school without enrolling in full-time college studies but continuing to participate in your sport

Anti-Doping Violations for Student Athletes

The NCAA has extensive anti-doping rules for student athletes. Drugs are banned by class, along with any substance pharmacologically related to those classes. The banned drug classes are:

  • Anabolic agents
  • Stimulants
  • Masking agents such as diuretics
  • Narcotics
  • Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics
  • Hormone and metabolic modulators (anti-estrogens)
  • Beta-2 agonists
  • Cannabinoids
  • Alcohol and beta-blockers (for rifle only)

The responsibility for drug testing is shared by the NCAA and its member schools. College athletes who violate anti-doping rules can lose one full year of eligibility for their first failed drug test for a performance-enhancing drug and be withheld from competition for 365 days from the date of the test. An athlete who receives a second positive test can lose all remaining eligibility.

Student-athletes who test positive for cannabinoids can be withheld from competition for 50% of the season in all sports in which they participate. For a second offense, the athlete can lose one year of eligibility and be withheld from participation for 365 days after the date of the test.

Code of Conduct Violations

According to our NCAA lawyers, every college or university has a code of conduct that student athletes must follow. Code of conduct violations can result in the loss of a student’s scholarship and their ability to compete.

Common examples of conduct code violations include:

  • Arrests for DUI, public intoxication, or drug possession
  • Hazing
  • Cyberbullying or posting content that reflects negatively on a school’s athletic program
  • Sexual harassment or non-consensual sexual contact
  • Violent acts such as assault
  • Lack of satisfactory academic progress

Student athletes are entitled to appeal penalties imposed as the result of a code of conduct violation, and would be best served hiring experienced NCAA lawyers to help with their situation.


College athletes who choose to transfer must be careful to follow the rules to ensure they protect their NCAA eligibility.

NCAA rules are complex, and there are multiple factors that must be considered to determine if an athlete’s eligibility will be affected by switching schools. For example:

  • Whether you're currently attending a two-year or four-year school
  • How many seasons of eligibility you have remaining
  • Whether you wish to transfer to a Division I, II, or III school
  • Conference rules that may be more restrictive than NCAA rules

Please keep in mind that transferring doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to compete right away. In some cases, you might have to be enrolled full-time for a complete academic year at your new school before you are eligible to compete for your new school.

Is Your Eligibility in Jeopardy? Our NCAA Lawyers Are Here to Help Student-Athletes

If you're an athlete and are concerned about your NCAA eligibility, you need to speak with our experienced NCAA lawyers as soon as possible. Call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation.

Our firm is uniquely qualified to handle your student athlete eligibility issues, as the members of our firm only practice sports law and have represented athletes from all levels of NCAA competition. We are dedicated advocates for athletes and work diligently to protect not only your athletic career but also your education. Don't hesitate. Contact our NCAA lawyers today for help with your college eligibility concerns.

Paul Greene
Recognized as one of the world’s leading sports lawyers and a well-known speaker and author.