True Freshmen Impacted By NCAA Bylaw Changes

True Freshmen Impacted By NCAA Bylaw Changes

A breakdown of the bylaw changes impacting true freshmen starting in the 2022-23 season.

Jun 16, 2022 by Jon Kozak
True Freshmen Impacted By NCAA Bylaw Changes

Various bylaws have been amended to create important changes impacting the 2022-2023 Division 1 wrestling season. Read below to see how an explanation of how this will impact college wrestling.

True Freshman - Compete Attached And Redshirt Stays Intact

The biggest changes for next year will impact true freshmen. These first-year student-athletes will be allowed to compete attached in 5 competitions throughout the year and will still be eligible to redshirt. Conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament do not apply to this exception but this will produce major changes for dual meets and tournaments. For instance, last season Penn State could have wrestled Alex Facundo, or Iowa could have marched out Patrick Kennedy in up to 5 dual meets and kept their redshirts intact. 

Notably, this only applies to true freshmen. If a wrestler uses their eligibility as a true freshman, they are not allowed to use the “5 free dates” later in their college career and redshirt that same season. It’s also important to note they must keep a minimum of a 2.0 GPA to remain eligible for competition.

No Unattached True Freshmen First Semester

Also affecting true freshmen, student-athletes in their first semester will not be allowed to compete “unattached” at open tournaments. This means that if a true freshman wrestles in an open tournament in November or December, he must compete attached to the university and “burn” 1 of his 5 attached competition dates. This rule was likely put in place to help student-athletes adjust to their first year of college by limiting the number of competitions.

20% Minimum Scholarship 

While not as significant as the above amendments, all athletes on scholarship must be compensated at least 20% of a full scholarship - starting with incoming freshmen in the 2023-2024 school year. Division 1 programs are still capped at 9.9 total scholarships and will now have to manage the minimum scholarship percentage along with the tight scholarship budget. 

There is, however, an exception to this rule. Coaches can offer student-athletes scholarships of less than 20% to junior-eligible athletes who have never been on an athletic scholarship in the past. 

Quick Summary Of Important By-Law Changes:

  • True Freshman can compete in up to 5 dates of competition without using a year of eligibility
  • No unattached competitions during the first term for true freshmen
  • 20% minimum for athletes on scholarship, less than 20% can be offered to juniors who haven’t been on scholarship prior
  • The minimum GPA for eligibility must be 2.0

Click here to read the amended bylaws in their entirety