Player & Team Eligibility

Varsity Competition

Athletes must meet all NCAA requirements

Teams wishing to join the CWPA must declare by May 1st

Club Competition

To compete in the CWPA, a team must be a recognized organization at a four-year institution. The team is also responsible for their own insurance if they are not covered through their school. The CWPA can assist in locating a carrier if needed. All teams are required to have their club supervisor/club sports director submit a Participation Agreement by the listed dates (Men/Coed by June 1st and Women by December 15th). Any new teams are required to pay a $100 deposit which will be credited towards their league dues and outlined in Joining the CWPA.   

Players must be full-time students at the institution they represent in order to be eligible for CWPA competition. Teams may allow full-time graduate students to play.  In special circumstances, if an athlete from another institution wishes to compete at a different school, it is permitted if the two institutions in question have an institutional policy allowing for the competition (i.e. Saint Mary’s College in South Bend and the University of Notre Dame permit athletes from both institutions to compete on their club teams).

A student-athlete may participate in organized competition while enrolled in less than a minimum full-time program of studies, provided the student is enrolled in the final semester or quarter of the baccalaureate/graduate program and the institution certifies that the student is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements, as determined by the faculty of the institution. It is required that the athlete carried a full course load the previous semester and did not postpone graduation for the purpose of participating an additional season.

Institutions which award financial aid to any water polo student-athlete on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance shall be considered Varsity by the CWPA and not be permitted to compete at the club level.  Institutions may field both a varsity level program and club level program so long as any water polo student-athlete awarded financial aid on the basis of athletics leadership, ability, participation or performance compete solely at the varsity level for the entire period of the award. A water polo club sports student-athlete must meet institutional regulations applicable to the general student body to be eligible for institutional financial aid, i.e. scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, employee dependent tuition benefits, Loans, employment earnings from federal, state or institutional work-study programs, including and especially those associated with the operation of the water polo club sport operation.

Only the New York Men’s Division and North Atlantic Men’s Division permit full-time staff and professors to participate as athletes. In the New York Division these individuals may not compete in the division championship.

In the Sierra Pacific and Pacific Coast Men’s and Women’s Divisions, no player that has participated on a varsity water polo team for more than two years may play for that same school’s club team, regardless of class level (Graduate or Undergraduate). Participation is defined as having played in at least one game as a varsity athlete during any portion the academic year. Athletes are not considered varsity participants during a Redshirt year.

Minimum number of games

Each participant in the division and national championship tournaments is required to be present and listed on the roster for at least 50% of the regular season games in which his/her team competes. This rule shall only apply to divisions that have more than one regular season tournament.

For Women’s Divisions whose membership includes clubs representing institutions on the quarter system as opposed to the semester system (those with an academic calendar broken into three ten-week terms as opposed to the traditional two 15-week semesters) all efforts should be made to schedule at least one regular season division tournament in each of the quarters that will occur during the women’s spring season.  When that scheduling is not possible due to pool availability resulting in both regular season tournaments taking place in one quarter and the Division Championship in a different quarter, an exception to the 50% participation stipulation above will be made for players away from campus during the regular season.  Those players/institutions may be asked to provide documentation verifying the previously outlined situation.

An athlete may appeal to the Commissioner and CWPA Board of Directors if there are extenuating circumstances such as injury, major illness, etc.

“B” Teams

Institutions fielding more than one team must declare their rosters before the beginning of the first game of the season. Athletes may move from the “B” team to the “A” team but may not move from the “A” team to the “B” team. All athletes are eligible to compete at Nationals should either team qualify.

When an “A” team plays a “B” team from the same institution, the score is recorded 5-0 in favor of the “A” team, to prevent any manipulation of goal differentials.

B” Teams are responsible for paying game related costs such as game management, referee fees, housing and travel. They do not pay any overhead costs (rent, salaries, etc.) which represented about 26% of league fees during the 2015-16 academic.

Women competing during coed season

If a member institution fields a full squad in the women’s season, that same institution may not field a team comprised of more than 50% women during the men’s season of competition.

Financial Standing

A team will not be scheduled unless all league fees are paid from prior seasons.

Collegiate Water Polo Association