Prospective Student-Athletes

Current Student-Athletes


Alumni, Parents and Friends

Local Merchants


A. Introduction
B. Student-Athlete Affirmation of Conduct
C. Academic Eligibility Requirements
D. NCAA Banned Substances
E. Sports Wagering
F. Promotional Activities
G. Extra Benefits
H. Student-Athlete Employment
I. Transfer Process
J. Countable Athletically Related Activities
K. Ivy League Rest Period
L. Outside Competition
M. Amateurism & Agents

While you are a student-athlete at Columbia University, you are obligated to abide by NCAA, Ivy League, and University rules. Please note this portion of the website is designed to provide you with a general overview of NCAA and Ivy League rules and regulations; it is not all-inclusive. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Director of Compliance at (212) 854-8666.

Participation in intercollegiate athletics is an honor and privilege afforded to few men and women at Columbia University. Student-athletes are highly visible members of the University community. Participation in a nationally-recognized NCAA Division I athletics program places all student-athletes in a position of responsibility. Individual actions by student-athletes may impact the perception of sports programs, the athletics department, and the University. Student-athlete behavior is expected to reflect the high standards of Columbia University.

In order to participate as a member of the Columbia University intercollegiate athletics program, student-athletes are required to affirm, in writing, that they have read and agree to abide by the following statement:

As a Columbia University Varsity student-athlete, I affirm that I will:
Uphold ideals of honesty and integrity in my actions;
Treat everyone with dignity and respect;
Promote a safe and civil environment;
Be accountable for my behavior;
Embrace the principles of diversity and inclusiveness;
Strive for excellence in all endeavors;
Commit to being a responsible citizen; and
Refrain from participating in activities that may bring dishonor to, and negatively reflect upon myself, my teammates and Columbia University. These activities include, but are not limited to,: academic dishonesty, gambling and sports wagering, sexual misconduct, team initiation, hazing, sexual harassment, discrimination, illegal drug use (recreational and/or performance enhancing), illegal alcohol use (underage drinking), and violation of local, state, federal and international laws.

In order to be eligible to practice or compete in intercollegiate athletics, student-athletes must:
1. be officially registered as a full-time student in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester; and;
2. maintain satisfactory progress toward a bachelor’s degree as defined below.

Minimum Credit Hours/Percentage-of-Degree
Columbia University’s minimum credit requirements exceed the NCAA percentage of degree requirements. Therefore, student-athletes who meet the Columbia University requirements are eligible per NCAA standards.

Minimum credits are required at the conclusion of each semester. The standards listed below are based on a student-athlete’s class status as determined by their individual school. Student-athletes are percentage-of-degree certified at the beginning of each fall semester.
2 semesters 24 points
3 semesters 38 points
4 semesters 52 points
5 semesters 69 points
6 semesters 86 points
7 semesters 103 points (Barnard); 105 points (Columbia College); 106.5 points (School of Engineering and Applied Science)
8 semesters Must petition the Committee on Eligibility and the Ivy League for a 9th and/or 10th term.

The credit hours requirements above are based on the following graduation requirements for each school:
Barnard College 122 points
Columbia College 124 points
School of Engineering and Applied Science 128 points
School of General Studies 124 points

Students from the School of General Studies must meet with the Director of Compliance prior to participation in intercollegiate athletics to discuss their unique college experience.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement
The NCAA requires that student-athletes maintain a minimum GPA of 90, 95, and 100 percent of the minimum GPA required for graduation at any of Columbia University’s undergraduate schools at the conclusion of their first, second, and subsequent years of enrollment. The minimum GPA required is a 2.0. Student-athletes must therefore earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 1.8, 1.9, and 2.0 respectively.

Designation of Degree Program or Major
Student-athletes must officially declare a major that leads to a specific baccalaureate degree by the beginning of their third year of collegiate enrollment. Columbia University’s Core Curriculum, major and elective requirements combine to fulfill degree requirements. Student-athletes are encouraged to work with their Academic Dean to ensure that they are making progress towards their degree at all times.

The NCAA requires that we provide our student-athletes with a list of banned substances. As a current student-athlete, you were provided with this information when you completed your eligibility forms and were advised that the list is subject to change. Please click on the following link to access the current list of NCAA banned substances:

Student-athletes are reminded that all nutritional/dietary supplements carry some risk of containing an NCAA banned substance because they are not well regulated and may be contaminated. Failure to check out a supplement with the sports medicine staff prior to use may result in a failed appeal for a positive drug test. Ultimately, student-athletes are responsible for anything they ingest.

The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering. Sports wagering has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community. Sports wagering demeans the competition and competitors alike by a message that is contrary to the purpose and meaning of “sport”.

The NCAA governs the promotional activities of all student-athletes. Generally, a student-athlete’s name or picture may not appear on commercial items or be used to promote a commercial product sold by an individual or agency. Prior to accepting remuneration for or permitting the use of his/her name or picture to advertise or promote the sale of or use of a commercial product, a student-athlete must obtain approval from the Director of Compliance. Approval is also required prior to participation in non-institutional charitable, educational, or nonprofit promotional activities. Failure to obtain approval from the Director of Compliance may result in a loss of eligibility.

Student-athletes are allowed to receive various benefits as a result of their participation in intercollegiate athletics. However, student-athletes are prohibited from receiving anything that constitutes an “extra-benefit.” An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or a representative of athletics interests to provide a student-athlete, or the student-athlete's friends or relatives, a benefit not expressly authorized by the NCAA.

Extra benefits a student-athlete may NOT receive include, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
money, special discount, payment or arrangement of credit on a purchase (airline ticket, clothing) or service (dry cleaning, laundry);
a professional service without charge or at a reduced cost (typing of papers for athletes);
use of a telephone, pager, cell phone or credit card for personal reasons without charge or at a reduced rate;
services (movie tickets, dinners, use of a car) from commercial agencies (theaters, restaurants, car dealers) without charge or at a reduced rate;
free or reduced-cost admission to professional athletic contests from professional sports organizations;
a loan of money;
use of an automobile;
signing or co-signing a note with an outside agency to arrange a loan;
preferential treatment, benefits or services (loans on a deferred pay-back basis because of athletic reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a future professional athlete);
rent-free or reduced rate housing during the academic year OR during the summer;
use of personal property (boats, summer homes, cars, computers);
holiday or other presents;
any thing given because an individual is a student-athlete.

The NCAA allows student-athletes to be employed during the academic year and summer months. To be eligible for competition a student-athlete must adhere to all NCAA regulations pertaining to student-athlete employment:

Student-athletes may be paid only for work actually performed.
The pay must be at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services.
No compensation may be given for athletic reputation.
Employment arranged by the athletic department prior to completion of the 12th grade is prohibited.
Student-athletes may not be employed to sell equipment related to their sport if their name, picture or athletic reputation is used to advertise or promote the product.
Transportation to/from employment is prohibited unless all employees are transported.
Student-athletes may receive fee-for-lesson compensation for coaching and teaching sports. The recipient (or recipient’s family) must provide the actual compensation. Playing lessons are prohibited and institutional facilities may not be used.
Student-athletes employed at a camp or clinic must perform duties that are of a general supervisory character in addition to any coaching or officiating assignments.
Student-athletes who only lecture or demonstrate at a camp/clinic may not be compensated.
A student-athlete with remaining eligibility is not permitted to conduct his or her own camp or clinic.

Student-athletes employed in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, working on campus, employed by a representative of Columbia University, or receiving assistance in getting a position of employment from anyone connection to Columbia University, must complete an Employment Verification Form to certify that their position is in compliance with NCAA regulations.

Click here to view the Employment Verification Form.

Camp and Clinic Employment
A student-athlete who is employed in any sports camp or clinic must meet the following requirements:

(a) The student-athlete must perform duties that are of a general supervisory character in addition to any coaching or officiating assignments.

(b) Compensation provided to the student-athlete shall be commensurate with the going rate for camp or clinic counselors of like teaching ability and camp or clinic experience and may not be paid on the basis of the value that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the athletics reputation or fame the student-athlete has achieved. It is not permissible to establish varying levels of compensation for a student-athlete employed in a sports camp or clinic based on the level of athletics skills of the student-athlete.

(c) A student-athlete who only lectures or demonstrates at a camp/clinic may not receive compensation for his or her appearance at the camp/clinic.

Click here to view the Camp & Clinic Employment Form.

Fee-for-Lesson Employment
Current student-athletes may teach an Ivy-sponsored sport on a fee-for-lesson basis provided the following conditions are met:

a) Institutional facilities are not used for fee-for-lesson instruction;
b) The instructional lessons do not include “playing lessons;”
c) The compensation is paid by the lesson recipient (or recipient’s family) and not by another individual or entity; and
d) The student-athlete does not conduct his/her own camp and gives only individual instruction.

Click here to view the Fee-for-Lesson Instruction Form.

Transferring to Columbia University
Transfer eligibility rules vary according to the current school the individual attends and his or her previous athletic history. Transfer students interested in participating in intercollegiate athletics at Columbia University typically fall within three categories: 1) no history of intercollegiate athletics participation; 2) current student-athlete (non-Division I institution); or 3) current Division I student-athlete.

Transferring from Columbia University
Transferring from Columbia University requires very careful thought. You must adhere to the following requirements during your decision-making process:

1. You must immediately inform your coach of your interest in going elsewhere. It is suggested that you and your coach meet with the Director of Compliance regarding your decision. Before you discuss any possibilities with a potential new institution, that institution must first receive written permission from Columbia University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. If you or your parents contact a potential new institution, that institution is obligated to let Columbia University know that you or your parents have done so. The potential new institution must first receive written permission from Columbia University’s Director of Compliance before having any further contact with you.

2. According to NCAA regulations, you must complete one year of residency at your new institution before you are eligible to participate in athletics at the new institution, unless you meet the requirements of an NCAA transfer exception. The most common NCAA transfer exception is the one-time transfer (see below). This exception is not offered to football, basketball or baseball student-athletes.

3. You may be granted a one-time exception to the aforementioned NCAA one-year residency requirement under certain circumstances in sports other than football, basketball, and baseball. If granted this exception, you may be immediately eligible to compete at your new institution.
The following conditions are required for a NCAA One-Time Transfer Exception:

You compete in a sport other than Division I football, basketball or baseball.
It is your first transfer from one four-year institution to another four-year institution.
You are in good academic standing at Columbia University and would be eligible if you returned to Columbia University.
Columbia University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics certifies in writing that it does not object to the NCAA granting an exception to the one-year residency requirement.

If Columbia University does not grant permission for you to discuss transfer possibilities with a potential new institution and you are denied a "release" to waive the one-year residence requirement, you can still transfer. If you transfer under these conditions, you will be ineligible to compete or receive athletic aid in your first academic year of residence at the new institution. You may request a hearing to appeal this decision. If you have questions about the “release” process, please contact your head coach, the appropriate Associate Athletics Director for Intercollegiate Sports Programs or the Director of Compliance.

Countable athletically related activities 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 (including strength and conditioning coaches) and must be counted within the weekly and daily limitations set forth by the NCAA and Ivy League.

During the playing season (aka “in-season”), student-athletes may not participate in countable athletically related activities for more than four hours per day and 20 hours per week. Outside of the playing season (aka “out-of-season”), but during the academic year, student-athletes may not participate in countable athletically related activities for more than 6 hours per week. These daily and weekly hour limitations do not apply 1) during pre-season practice prior to the first day of classes or the first scheduled contest, whichever is earlier; or 2) during an institution’s term-time official vacation period (e.g. Thanksgiving break, Spring break), as listed in the institution’s official calendar and during the academic year between terms when classes are not in session.

During the academic year, student-athletes shall not engage in any countable athletically related activities on one day per week during the playing season and two days per week outside of the playing season. The required day(s) off may occur on any day of the week and may change from week to week. A “week” is defined as any seven consecutive days, determined at the institution’s discretion.

Examples of Countable Athletically Related Activities
Athletics meetings initiated or required by a coach (e.g. end of season individual meeting)
Competition and associated activities
Field, floor or on-court activity
Setting up offensive or defensive alignment
Required weight-training/conditioning activities
Required participation in camps/clinics
Visiting the competition site in the sports of cross country, golf, and skiing
Participation outside the regular season in individual skill-related instructional activities with a member of the coaching staff
Discussion or review of game films

Examples of Non-Countable Athletically Related Activities
Compliance meetings
Meeting with a coach initiated by the student-athlete
Study hall, tutoring, or academic meetings
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meetings
Voluntary weight training not conducted by a coach or staff member
Voluntary sport-related activities (e.g. initiated by student-athlete, no attendance taken, no coach present)
Traveling to and from site of competition
Training room activities (e.g. treatment, rehabilitation activities and medical examinations)
Recruiting activities (e.g. student host responsibilities)
Attending banquets (e.g. awards or post-season banquets)
Community service projects

Please note that there may be additional rules applicable only to certain sports. Student-athletes are encouraged to contact the Director of Compliance for more detailed information regarding countable athletically related activities.

The Ivy League rest period requires each institution’s sports program to schedule 49 days during the academic year when student-athletes have no athletic obligations. These periods should have no required athletic activity, no voluntary activity under the supervision of a sports program coach, no sports program athletic activities (e.g. captain’s practices), and no sports program or sports program member athletically related activities resulting from encouragement by the coaching staff to engage in such activity. Under no circumstances will any athletically related activity involving sports program members be supervised by a sports program coach, nor will facilities be reserved for sports program activities. Sports program members will be free to participate in any recreational venue or activity open to all other students, and to have whatever supervision is provided in those circumstances. Coaches are encouraged to give three sport student-athletes (e.g. cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field student-athletes) time off between seasons. The seven days before exam period is a required rest period for all out-of-season teams!

Student-athletes may compete outside of the institution's declared playing and practice season as a member of an outside team in any non-collegiate, amateur competition during any official vacation period published in the institution's catalog. Written approval is required prior to any outside competition or summer activity. Unapproved participation may adversely affect a student-athlete’s eligibility.

The number of Columbia University student-athletes permissible on the same outside team shall not exceed the applicable limits set forth in the NCAA Bylaws. Please contact the Director of Compliance for details.

Sport Specific Notes
Summer participation is permissible only in those summer leagues sanctioned by the NCAA. Participation must take place during the period of June 15, 2009 August 31, 2009. This mandate applies to all organized competition, including 3-on-3 basketball tournament/leagues and state games.

Field Hockey and Soccer
Outside practice & competition may not begin prior to May 1st.

All outside practice and competition is confined to doubles tournaments in outdoor volleyball, either on sand or grass.

NCAA rules require all student-athletes to be amateurs in the NCAA sport which they participate. If a student-athlete professionalizes him/her-self, he/she will no longer have the ability to compete in that sport on the NCAA level. The NCAA defines amateur status in NCAA Bylaw 12.1.1.

NCAA Bylaw 12.1.1 Amateur Status
An individual loses amateur status and thus shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport if the individual:

(a) uses his or her athletics skill (directly or indirectly) for pay in any form in that sport;
(b) accepts a promise of pay even if such pay is to be received following completion of intercollegiate athletics participation;
(c) signs a contract or commitment of any kind to play professional athletics, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received;
(d) receives, directly or indirectly, a salary, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of financial assistance from a professional sports organization based upon athletics skill or participation, except as permitted by NCAA rules and regulations;
(e) competes on any professional athletics team per Bylaw 12.02.4, even if no pay or remuneration for expenses was received;
(f) subsequent to initial full-time collegiate enrollment, enters into a professional draft (see also Bylaws and; or
(g) enters into an agreement with an agent.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes who have eligibility remaining to enter into agreements (written or oral) to be represented by an agent. If a student-athlete agrees to be represented by an agent, the student-athlete forfeits all NCAA eligibility.

NCAA rules regarding agents are below:

12.3.1 General Rule
An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport. Representation for Future Negotiations
An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport. Benefits from Prospective Agents
An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she (or his or her relatives or friends) accepts transportation or other benefits from:

(a) any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. The receipt of such expenses constitutes compensation based on athletics skill and is an extra benefit not available to the student body in general; or
(b) an agent, even if the agent has indicated that he or she has no interest in representing the student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation and does not represent individuals in the student-athlete’s sport.