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Nonrecruited Walk-On

  • Responsible Office: Athletics
  • Current Approved Version: 04/11/2018
  • Policy Type: Local

Policy Statement and Purpose

Virginia Commonwealth University Athletics is committed to maintaining its position as one of the nation's premier collegiate athletics programs. Although on-the-field success is an important component of this goal, VCU's status as a premier collegiate athletics program depends on its ability to find continued success on the field while maintaining an environment that promotes the highest levels of integrity. Accordingly, VCU Athletics is committed ensuring that its athletics programs operate in a manner that is consistent with NCAA, Atlantic 10, and Virginia Commonwealth University rules and regulations.

Before a non-recruited student is permitted to engage in tryout activities or officially join a team’s roster, the student needs to be cleared from an academic and medical standpoint - as well as an amateurism standpoint if added to the team’s roster – by the VCU Athletics Compliance Office before engaging in team-related activities.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

Athletics administrators, coaches, student-athletes, athletics compliance office, sports medicine office.


Five-Year Rule

A student-athlete shall complete their seasons of participation within five calendar years from the beginning of the semester or quarter in which the student-athlete first registered for a minimum full-time program of studies in a collegiate institution, with time spent in the armed services, on official religious missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government being excepted. For international students, service in the armed forces or on an official religious mission of the student’s home country is considered equivalent to such service in the United States.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

An undergraduate student enrolled in 12 credits or more during any fall or spring semester is classified as full time. If the student is in a graduate program they will be considered full-time if they are enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits during any fall or spring semester.

Mandatory Medical Examination

A medical examination or evaluation administered or supervised by a physician (e.g., family physician, team physician). The examination or evaluation shall include a sickle cell solubility test unless documented results of a prior test are provided to the institution or the prospective student-athlete declines the test and signs a written release.

Squad List

A list of student-athletes on the team in each sport detailing their received financial aid.


A student who participates on a varsity athletics team becomes a student-athlete when one of the following occurs (whichever is earlier):

  1. The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of student and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution’s regular academic year (excluding summer);
  2. The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term;
  3. The individual officially registers, enrolls and attends classes during the certifying institution’s summer term prior to the individual’s initial full-time enrollment at the certifying institution; or
  4. The individual reports to an institutional orientation session that is open to all incoming students within 14 calendar days prior to the opening day of classes of a regular academic year term.

Pending Amateurism Certification

In-progress NCAA Eligibility Center amateurism certification.

Pending Academic Certification

In-progress NCAA Eligibility Center eligibility certification.


An enrolled student-athlete participating in team-related activities in order to become added to an official roster (the activities conducted must be permissible at the time that they occur during the year).


The Athletics Department officially interprets this policy. The Athletics Compliance Office is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance and Student Services.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

Before a student is permitted to engage in tryout activities with a team, the VCU Athletics Compliance Office must confirm that the student is enrolled full-time (or meets an exception to full-time enrollment), has eligibility remaining under the five-year rule, and has passed a mandatory medical examination. Once the VCU Athletics Compliance Office confirms this information, the student has a 14-day period to engage in tryout activities.

Unless the student meets an exception (e.g. final semester, prior to initial enrollment), to be eligible to participate in organized practice sessions, a student-athlete shall be enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies leading to a baccalaureate or equivalent degree as defined by the regulations of the certifying institution.

If a student-athlete reports for athletics participation before their qualification status has been certified (either academic or amateurism), the student may practice, but not compete, during a 45-day period, provided the student meets all other requirements to be eligible to practice. An institution shall not provide athletically related financial aid to the student during this period. After the 45-day period, the student shall have established minimum requirements (as certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center) to continue practicing or to compete and receive athletically related financial aid.

Prior to participation in any practice, competition or out-of-season conditioning activities (or in Division I, permissible voluntary summer conditioning or individual workouts, or permissible required summer athletic activities in basketball and football), student-athletes who are beginning their initial season of eligibility and students who are trying out for a team shall be required to undergo a medical examination or evaluation administered or supervised by a physician (e.g., family physician, team physician). A nurse practitioner whose state medical licensure allows for health care practice independent of physician supervision may complete the medical examination without supervision by a physician. The examination or evaluation must be administered within six months prior to participation in any practice, competition or out-of-season conditioning activities. In following years, an updated history of the student-athlete's medical condition shall be administered by an institutional medical staff member (e.g., sports medicine staff, team physician) to determine if additional examinations (e.g., physical, cardiovascular, neurological) are required. The updated history must be administered within six months prior to the student-athlete's participation in any practice, competition or out-of-season conditioning activities for the applicable academic year.

If a coaching staff wants to add someone to the official roster, the VCU Athletics Compliance Office must add the student-athlete to the squad list within 14 days of the first date of activity or first date of competition. In addition, prior to that time, the student-athlete must sign a Student-Athlete Statement, Drug-Testing Consent Form, HIPAA Authorization/Buckley Amendment Consent Form, and other paperwork as required by VCU Athletics. In addition, within a 45 day period or prior to competing in official athletic competition, the VCU Athletics Compliance Office must confirm that the student-athlete is meeting all NCAA academic and amateurism certification requirements as well as any other additional medical requirements the sports medicine staff requires.

A student-athletes name must be on the squad list in order to be eligible to represent the institution in intercollegiate competition. An institution is not required to place a student-athlete who is "trying out" for a team on the squad-list form for 14 days from the first date the student engages in countable athletically related activities or until the institution's first competition, whichever occurs earlier.


  1. Tryout Form (Located on ARMS Software)
  2. Student-Athlete Roster Addition Form (Located on ARMS Software)

Related Documents

There are no related documents associated with this policy and procedures.

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Revision History
Approved/Revision DateTitle
Unknown Nonrecruited Walk-On


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.