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21-Year Old Rule


07NCAAconvLogoFlat_c2It is getting to that time year when many hockey players make serious errors that can limit their future options for playing NCAA college hockey.

One of the mistakes that many players. who are finishing up their last  year of junior hockey, make is playing past their 21st birthday without being enrolled full-time in university or college, leaving  themselves with only 3 years of eligibility to play NCAA Division 1 hockey.

What happens if I turn 21 during the junior hockey season?
If you play a junior hockey game after your 21st birthday you will lose 1 year of NCAA athletic eligibility leaving you with 3 years remaining. This rule applies only to Division I.

How can I turn 21, play junior hockey, and still retain NCAA eligibility?
Using the NCAA “transfer rules” you can continue playing junior hockey after your 21st birthday and retain 4 years of athletic eligibility if you enroll full-time at a college institution that does not sponsor a hockey program. Although you will lose some of your 5-year academic eligibility you will not lose any of your 4-year athletic eligibility.

When should enroll full-time if I am going to play junior hockey after my 21st birthday?
In order to avoid the hassle of registration when the hockey season is busy, you should enroll full-time in September. Also, in order to avoid difficulties with the NCAA Clearinghouse, you should register with the Clearinghouse before enrolling full-time. It is important to note that once you enroll in college level courses you can no longer write the SAT.

Does the rule apply to Division II and III?
No. The 21-year old rule applies only to student-athletes wishing to compete in Division I. It does not apply to those student-athletes wishing to compete in Division II and III.

If you think we can help you understand this rule or other regulations, please drop us a line.


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