Dispelling the Myth: Jade Carey and Her NCAA Eligibility

Over the course of the past few months I’ve seen a couple of comments regarding Jade Carey and people questioning her NCAA eligibility. The issue has to do in regards to a rule (12.8.3.2) which states:

“…a student-athlete who does not enroll in a collegiate institution as a full-time student in a regular academic term during a one-year time period after his or her high school graduation date or the graduation date of his or her class…shall be subject to the following:

(a) The student-athlete shall be charged with a season of intercollegiate eligibility for each calendar year after the one-year time period…

In other words, if Jade Carey takes more than a year after high school before she joins Oregon State, she will start losing a season of NCAA eligibility for each year she misses. Since Carey graduated from high school in 2018 and is also taking the current season off, many are interpreting that to mean Jade Carey’s bid for Tokyo 2020 is going to cost her one year of NCAA eligibility.

The rule is true and it is a correct interpretation for other competitive athletes who decide to take two years off in between high school and the NCAA. It’s not true for Jade Carey because she has an exemption. The following words are in the NCAA rule book:

Olympic: 160 times
World Championship: 22 times
World Cup: 27 times
National Team: 176 times
Pan American: 20 times
European Championship: 5 times

The NCAA has these words in its rule book for the single purpose of making elite level athletes such as Jade Carey exempt from many of its own rules. This is done to prevent a conflict where NCAA rules get in the way of elite level Olympic sports.

There are actually two different ways that the NCAA rule book protects Jade Carey. The first is a specific exemption to the original rule (12.8.3.2) called 12.8.3.2.1.2

Exception — National/International Competition. For a maximum of one year after a prospective student-athlete’s first opportunity to enroll full time in a collegiate institution following the one-year time period after his or her high school graduation date or the graduation date of his or her class, whichever occurs earlier, participation in the following organized national/international competition is exempt from application of Bylaw 12.8.3.2.1: (Adopted: 1/15/11 effective 8/1/11, Revised: 1/14/12, 7/31/14, 4/25/18 effective 8/1/18 applicable to a student-athlete who initially enrolls full time in a collegiate institution on or after 8/1/18)

(a) Official Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Championships, World Cup, World University Games (Universiade) and World University Championships and established regional competition (e.g., North American Championships, European Championships) or the junior level equivalents (e.g., Youth Olympic Games, U20 World Cup, junior national teams);

(b) Officially recognized competition from which participants may be selected to a national team that will participate in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Championships, World Cup or World University Games (Universiade), World University Championships and established regional competition (e.g., North American Championships, European Championships) or the junior level equivalents (e.g., Youth Olympic Games, U20 World Cup, junior national teams) and final tryout competition from which participants are selected for such teams; or

(c) Official competition involving a national team sponsored by the appropriate national governing body of the U.S. Olympic Committee (or, for student-athletes representing another nation, the equivalent organization of that nation).

There is also a rule (12.8.1.6) which has something called an “Athletics Activity Waiver” which applies to the following situations:

(a) Official Pan American, World Championships, World Cup, World University Games (Universiade), World University Championships and Olympic training, tryouts and competition;

(b) Officially recognized training and competition directly qualifying participants for final Olympic tryouts; or

(c) Official tryouts and competition involving national teams sponsored by the appropriate national governing bodies of the U.S. Olympic Committee (or, for student-athletes representing another nation, the equivalent organization of that nation, or, for student-athletes competing in a non-Olympic sport, the equivalent organization of that sport).

It provides protection for Olympic/elite level hopefuls once they start their NCAA careers.

The conclusion is, when Jade Carey arrives at Oregon State she will do so with a clean slate. She will be no different than any other freshman. She will have four years of eligibility and can even take a redshirt.

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