You’ve graduated but still have athletic eligibility, what can you do?

Four things you can do with your left-over eligibility

UAA's Alaska Airlines Center. Photo courtesy of UAA.

According to NCAA eligibility rules, student-athletes are allowed five years to compete athletically in four seasons. Because the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted nearly all sporting activities, the NCAA granted an extra year of athletic eligibility to collegiate athletes whose sporting seasons were affected by the pandemic.

The NCAA gives every athlete the option to “redshirt” for one season during their career, meaning the athlete can sit out one season and still maintain four years of eligibility. A redshirt season may be used if the athlete isn’t ready to compete competitively, whether due to an injury or needing further development. 

These rules make it possible for an undergraduate student – or even a graduate student – to receive their diploma with athletic eligibility still left in their pocket. So what can you do with that eligibility? 

  1. Enroll as a graduate student 

UAA offers many graduate programs, including more than 20 master's programs and six doctoral programs. This option is best for undergraduates seeking higher education. Visit to find a program you're interested in. 

  1. Get another bachelor’s degree 

If you're feeling a little uneasy about the degree you just received, there's nothing wrong with picking a new major and pursuing another bachelor's degree. This option is best for undergraduates that are interested in making a career change. 

  1. Take whatever classes you want 

You don't have to be actively pursuing a degree in order to be enrolled at UAA. If you're not interested in receiving another degree, you can take random classes. This option is best for undergraduates or graduates that want to keep competing in sports but don't want another degree. 

  1. Leave it be 

You won't be penalized for graduating with athletic eligibility leftover, so don't feel like you have to do something with it. This option is best for undergraduates that are ready to be done with school. 

Remember, your eligibility clock starts the first time you enroll as a full-time student. Your clock does not stop if you decide to redshirt, if you do not attend college, or if you go part-time. If you still have eligibility left and you want to use it, now's your chance.