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As a Division II Student-Athlete...Do You Know?

1. What a "redshirt" season really is?

"Redshirt" is not an official NCAA term. What a "redshirt" season refers to is a year in which a student-athlete does not compete at all against outside competition. During a year in which the student-athlete does not compete, a student can practice with his or her team and receive financial aid. NCAA Division II student-athletes have 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment in order to participate as a student-athlete. Of these 10 semesters or 15 quarters, a student-athlete only has four years of athletics eligibility (seasons of competition) in which he or she can participate against outside competition. Because of this, there is an extra year of time, and many student-athletes choose to use this extra time as a "redshirt" year in which they practice with their team but do not compete against other teams in competition.

2. Who your school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) chair or president is?

A student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) is a committee made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. Per NCAA rules, all Division II institutions must sponsor a campus SAAC. The SAAC also offers input on the rules, regulations and polices that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Ask your athletics director or another senior athletics department administrator who your SAAC chair or president is. After finding out who your SAAC chair or president is, ask this student how you can be involved with your campus SAAC. Your SAAC representatives serve as the voice of student-athletes on your campus. For more information about SAAC, visit

3. That there are people besides your coaches that can help you as a student-athlete?

There are many administrators on your campus who care about you as students and as athletes. Some of these administrators include your school's athletics director, senior woman administrator, faculty athletics representative, compliance administrator and CHAMPS/Life Skills coordinator. If you have not met these individuals on your campus, take time to get to know them. They care about your needs and can help you in many different ways.

Additionally, your university's health services, counseling center and career services offices are excellent resources regardless of your athletics status.

4. How to find out what it takes to stay academically eligible for athletics?

Division II student-athletes must meet certain academic requirements in order to be certified as eligible for athletics competition. Finding out what it takes to remain academically eligible is much easier than you think. All you need to do is ask the right person. The administrator on your campus that is in charge of NCAA rules compliance works to certify that each student-athlete on your campus is eligible according to NCAA rules. Finding out what eligibility rules apply to you is as easy as asking this administrator.

5. That each institution in the NCAA is represented by a student-athlete on the national SAAC?

The national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is setup to insure that each institution has representation among the SAAC's membership. Representation is insured by having committee members from the various athletics conferences within Division II represent the voice of the conference institution's campus SAAC groups. There is one representative from each multisport voting conference, one independent (not affiliated with a conference) institution representative and two at-large representatives. Do you know who represents your institution and conference on the national SAAC? Take time to find out who represents your voice on the national level and make sure you let that person know your thoughts.

6. That the NCAA national office can provide explanations of rules if you just ask?

If you have a question about NCAA rules, the absolute best resources are the administrators on your campus. These individuals are able to answer almost all of your questions and are interested in the questions and issues that you have as a student-athlete. However, if you need further assistance, NCAA membership services has a hotline set up to handle questions from member schools, student-athletes and the general public. You can reach membership services by calling 317/917-6003. Examples of the types of questions that membership services are typically asked by student-athletes include transfer issues, academic requirements and questions about time limitations for student-athletes practice activities.

7. There are rules regarding permissible practice and playing time?

There are limits on the amount of time that you may permissibly spend practicing or preparing for your sport, both in and out of season. Activities that must count towards these time limitations include any required activity with an athletics purpose involving student-athletes and at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more of an institution's coaching staff. Make sure that you speak with your campus compliance administrator about specific hour limitations for your sport. Also, make sure that your coach is monitoring the amount of time each individual student-athlete is spending per week engaged in these countable activities.

8. How long you can actually participate in collegiate athletics?

Each Division II student-athlete has 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time collegiate enrollment in order to participate as a student-athlete. Within these 10 semesters or 15 quarters, a student-athlete has four years of athletics eligibility (seasons of competition) in which he or she can participate against outside competition.

9. How athletics grants and scholarships are distributed?

Scholarships are awarded directly by each school and not the NCAA national office. About $1 billion in athletics scholarships are awarded each year. Over 126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or full athletics scholarship.

There are NCAA rules that govern the amount limitations of athletics scholarships as well as how these scholarships are distributed and renewed to student-athletes. Take time to speak with your campus compliance administrator about what these rules are, and how these rules protect you as a student-athlete. Also, if you are receiving an athletically related scholarship, make sure to read the scholarship agreement so that you will understand everything you need to know about your financial aid. One important note about scholarships given for athletics is that by NCAA rule they are limited to a one-year term and renewed on a year-to-year basis.

10. That the NCAA has a program to help student-athletes with life skills outside of athletics?

The mission of the NCAA is to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the campus educational program and the student-athlete as an integral part of the student body. With this in mind, the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program was created to support the student development initiatives of its member institutions and to enhance the quality of the student-athlete experience within the university setting. Participating institutions in the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program are provided with instructional materials and supplemental resources, which support a student-athlete's development in five areas: academics, athletics, personal development, career development and community service.

Does your institution sponsor a CHAMPS/Life Skills program? If so, be sure to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that this program offers to you as a student-athlete. If not, speak with your athletics administrators and find out what you can do to help get the program started on your campus.