Calculating Phillip Sims's DII Eligibility

Former Virginia and Alabama quarterback Phillip Sims is zeroing in on his next destination. Sims transferred from Alabama due to lack of playing time. He then left Virginia in June while academically ineligible. Sims is now narrowing his transfer destination down, and the finalists are a mix of FBS and Division II schools.

Division II appears to have some benefits for Sims. He will still need to sit out because he cannot use the one-time transfer exception. But he will not have to pay his own way, as Division II does not have a version of Division I Bylaw 14.5.5.4. That bylaw says a transfer to a Division I school must have been academically eligible at the previous school to receive a scholarship in his or her first year at the new school.

But Sims also says he would be able to play two seasons in Division II vs. one in Division I. Sims started at Alabama in Spring 2010, so his five-year clock will end after the Fall 2014 semester. Sims redshirted as a freshman, then used one season at Alabama and one season at Virginia after receiving a waiver. He has two seasons of competition remaining, but his clock and transfer residency requirement will allow him to use only one.

Division II uses a different clock rule. Student-athletes have 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment to use their four seasons. Unlike the Division I clock, the DII 10 semester/15 quarter rule pauses if an athlete takes a semester off. It does not appear that Sims took a semester off though. That would mean he has used seven FT semesters. He will need to sit out for two semesters, meaning he will have one left of his 10. Like Division I, that means he can only use one more season.

Granted, there may be something about Sims's situation I am missing or some Division II rule buried beyond my reach that will give Sims that extra year. But right now I cannot see how Phillip Sims could play two years at any NCAA level.

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