Should High School Recruits Consider a Gap Year Because of Overloaded College Rosters?

This is a post from my friend, Rick Allen, who was a former NCAA Compliance Director, and now runs his own consultancy assisting high school and college athletes navigate the complex world of the NCAA. It’s an interesting take and one you may not have considered, but going into new situations eyes wide open is always a good plan.

This is what he writes…

It has become more common over the last two years for high school recruits to take a gap year after graduation to continue training in their sport while taking college courses to get a start toward their college degree. The primary reason for this has been college rosters being overloaded with athletes who were granted an additional year of eligibility.

Is this still something that high school recruits should consider?
In my opinion, yes!

Almost all college athletes were granted an additional year on their eligibility “clock” and were not charged with one of their four seasons of playing eligibility during the year 2020.

This was applicable to Spring sport athletes during the 2019-20 academic year and for Fall and Winter sport athletes during the 2020-21 academic year. In addition, many junior college and NCAA Division III athletes in Spring sports were also not charged a season for Spring 2021.

That is FIVE YEARS of college athletes who were given an additional year on their eligibility clock – from athletes who were already in their 5th year of college at that time, to athletes who were only college freshmen then and who now have an eligibility clock that might not expire until the end of the 2025-26 academic year.

A high school recruit entering college next Fall will potentially be competing for playing time against athletes with three years of experience who still have 3 seasons of eligibility remaining.

I believe that’s something worth thinking twice about.

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You’re always welcome to connect with me about your own situation. Happy to throw my 2¢ in at If you’re interested to speak with Rick Allen and his staff about your situation, you can by visiting his site or by emailing Rick at