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British universities & Colleges Sport

REG 6 Individual Eligibility and Team Selection

REG 6.1    Eligible Participants

For a student to be eligible to participate in BUCS competitions, he/ she shall:


REG 6.1.1   Be a registered student at an institution of Higher or Further Education that is a currently entitled to participate in BUCS competitions. 


REG   Establishing for whom an individual student may compete on an annual academic basis is determined via which playing entities are being utilised to function within BUCS competitions and the individuals relationship to them. Refer REG 2 ‘How Members Participate in BUCS Competition’.




REG 6.1.2 Be aged 18 or over


REG Students studying at HE institutions in Scotland will be eligible to compete in all BUCS competitions from the age of 17.


REG 6.1.3 Be registered on a credit rated course (1) e.g. MSc, Degree or HND;
(1 - that is a course that is registered under CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme)).



REG HE institutions that have FE students registered with them and undertaking a minimum of 225 Guided Learning Hours are eligible to compete in BUCS competitions as long as they fulfil their National Governing Body regulations on age;


REG 6.1.4   Be undertaking a study programme equivalent to at least 60 credits per year, or in the case of a postgraduate student be undertaking a study programme of no less than 50% of the full time student programme.


REG A year will be taken as 12 months from the start date of their course. If a course finishes in the middle of the academic year please refer to REG 6.4.2




REG 6.1.5   Be a player who is permitted by the National Governing Body of the sport concerned to participate alongside amateur competition in that sport;




REG 6.1.6   Have paid the appropriate Union or Athletic Union subscription.


REG 6.2   Allowing ineligible participants to represent an institution will result in appropriate disciplinary action, in accordance with REG 17


REG 6.3   No student may compete for more than one member/playing entity in any one academic year. 
REG 6.4    Special Cases for Participation

The following persons are classified as eligible to participate in BUCS Individual Championships or to represent his/her university in BUCS Team Championships and in Domestic Representative matches:


REG 6.4.1   A sabbatical officer of either a Students’ Union or an Athletic Union who has paid the appropriate Union or Athletic Union subscription.


REG 6.4.2   A student satisfactorily finishing his/her course of study after the start of December will be eligible until the end of the academic year provided his/her Union or Athletic Union subscription has been paid and his/her institution still classifies them as a registered student.


REG 6.4.3   A student embarking on a Sandwich Course and/or Year Abroad course provided all of the following:


REG   The appropriate fee has been paid to their Athletic Union;


REG   Their Athletic Union has paid affiliation fees to BUCS on his/her behalf;


REG   The duration of the course in industry is less than one year.

REG   Officers of Athletic Unions at universities should in cases of doubt refer the circumstances to the BUCS CEO


REG 6.4.4 A student undertaking PhD study on a full time basis will be eligible to compete provided that the necessary Athletic Union subscription has been paid, and their institution classifies them as a registered student.



REG 6.5    Ineligible Participants

The following students are ineligible to participate:


REG 6.5.1   Externally registered students, as determined by the University’s Registrar, unless otherwise allowed in accordance with the playing entities being utilised by the institutions concerned.


REG 6.5.2   Students undertaking ‘foundation’ courses are only eligible if their institution’s Registry Office (or equivalent) deems them to fulfil the BUCS eligibility requirements; i.e. are registered students of the BUCS member institution and are studying an appropriate course as listed above.


REG 6.6    Acceptable Governing Body

The CEO of BUCS shall determine, from time to time, which student organisations shall be acceptable as bodies equivalent to an Athletic Union and performing the function of such a body, eg. students union or sports department.


REG 6.7    Team Selection


REG 6.7.1 All players must be from the same institution. This regulation applies to all teams in all BUCS sports.


REG 6.7.2 In team sports which incorporate competition below First Team level, each team should be selected as though the other teams would be playing in a match of equal importance at the same time.


REG 6.7.3   It would be expected that the first team would always be the strongest team available to represent that institution with consideration to REG 6.7.4 - establishing ‘normally’.


REG 6.7.4   Teams must be selected as if all teams are playing on a given day, for example, if the first team does not have a match but the second team do, no players who would normally* represent the first team are eligible to play for the second team.
*Normally is defined by establishing the individuals frequency and majority of fixtures played. Majority is established through league fixtures only, however this regulation still applies to knockout fixtures unless specifically stated otherwise. Consideration is also given to periods within which any variation from normal occurs for an individual.

REG 6.7.5   Medical Exemptions: Players returning from injury may be authorised to play for a lower tiered team by their AU for league fixtures only (not permitted for cups refer REG 6.8.2). A medical exemption form (completed and verified by AU representative prior to fixture) must be presented with the team sheets at the league fixture in question and ‘M.E.’ written against the name(s) of the applicable player(s) to indicate their status. 


REG   Exemptions only apply to one league fixture in a lower tiered team while returning to fitness.

REG   Period of Absence – A player may only be granted a medical exemption if they are returning following a period of absence from competition, they cannot take part in successive fixtures. i.e. they must have been unable to take part in a fixture due to injury prior to the medical exemption being required.


REG   Multiple Medical Exemptions- Where an individual requires an extended period to return to fitness, within a season, they will require the AU to apply to the BUCS office for clearance before the individual in question participates in any further fixtures. An extended period is considered to be anything beyond one fixture.

REG   Medical Professional- Medical exemptions may only be applied if the return from injury is being overseen by an acceptable medical professional. AUs are advised that BUCS may request a formal letter from said medical professionals to verify the validity of the exemption. In doing so no confidential details will be required. Named Medical Professionals must therefore be prepared to confirm validity of the exemption.

REG   Player Permits – the named player must be prepared to permit the treating medical professional identified on the Medical Exemption form to verify that they are;

a) Treating the individual, and

b) It is upon their medical advice the player is acting.


BUCS Medical Exemption Form template: click here Or view 'Appendix 7'.

REG 6.7.6   Individuals may not play or be a substitute (playing or non-playing) for different teams on the same date, but may play for a different team in a different sport on the same day.

REG 6.8 Knock Out Team Selections: Standard team selection regulations apply (REG 6.7) with the below additional restrictions specifically for knock out competitions.

REG 6.8.1 Knock Out Round Robins: Teams may use an extended squad, including players from lower tiered teams at tournament style knock out competitions. However, once a player is named in the playing squad (starting or substitute) for more than 49% of tournament fixtures they are cup tied and may not move back down to their ‘normal’ team (for example if the knock-out round robin consists of 4 games, a player may only play 1 game outside of their ‘normal’ team).

REG 6.8.2 Medical Exemptions: Are not permitted for knock out competition fixtures; i.e. a first team player returning from injury may not be granted a medical exemption to participate for a lower tiered team in ANY knock out competition within the same sport.


REG 6.9    Forfeiture of Higher Tiered Competition Fixtures; Impact on Lower Tiered Teams: In all league matches and subsequent knockout round matches, the first team, or higher fixture, must be given priority should an institution be unable to fulfil its complete programme within each sport. Matches played in contravention of this regulation will be awarded to the opposition, or in certain circumstances, be voided. For example, an institution may NOT concede a walkover at second team level, while continuing to field a lower team on the same day.  


REG 6.9.1. For possible exceptions to REG 6.9 due to ‘ring fencing’ of teams, refer to Appendix 4 regarding ring fenced teams.

REG 6.9.2  Involuntary walkovers may be granted if applied for in accordance with walkover regulations in REG 12 meaning that REG 6.9 would be suspended in some instances, for example on health and safety grounds. Application to suspend REG 6.9 must be made to the BUCS office in advance of affected fixtures. 


REG 6.10   Appeals regarding contravention of Player Movement and Eligibility regulations require the naming of specific players and the reason(s) for questioning their legitimacy as a minimum.


REG 6.11 Ring Fenced Teams: Ring fenced teams will be denoted by their specific group being named in brackets. E.g. (Medics). Institutions wishing to have ring fenced teams must complete the 'ring fenced teams pro-forma' and return it to the BUCS office with their team entries each year. Teams failing to appropriately apply for teams to be designated as ring fenced will not be eligible to apply for the player movement exception outlined in REG 6.9.1.


REG 6.12 Transgender athletes: BUCS supports equal opportunities in sport for all, to include transgender athletes on the basis of the gender with which they identify. BUCS promotes a zero tolerance approach to transphobia and any person or institution found to be in contravention of this regulation will face disciplinary action under REG 17. The participation of a transgender athlete in competitive sport must not be restricted unless it is proportionate to the aim of securing safe and/or fair competition.

REG 6.12.1 Where the International or National governing body has a policy on transgender participation in sport this shall be followed, as per the sport specific regulations. Where the International or National governing body have no such policy REG 6.12.2 through to 6.12.3 shall apply. Where the relevant International or National governing body have a policy, but it has not been reviewed within a 3 year period, the BUCS regulation may apply. 

REG 6.12.2 Transgender athletes not taking hormone treatment: Any transgender athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in BUCS competitions in accordance with their gender as assigned at birth.

REG A trans male (female to male) who is not taking testosterone relating to gender transition may participate in male or female competition. However they may not compete in both categories within one BUCS season. For example, if a trans male chooses to compete in male competition, they may not compete in any female competition in any sport in the same season.

REG A trans female (male to female) who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may not compete in female competition, but may participate in a male competition.

REG 6.12.3 Transgender athletes undergoing hormone treatment for gender transition: the following will determine in which category a transgender athlete is eligible to compete.

REG A trans male (FTM) who has received medical treatment with testosterone related to gender transition may compete in male competition but is no longer eligible to compete in female competition.

REG A trans female (MTF) being treated with testosterone suppression medication related to gender transition is eligible to compete in male competition and is not eligible to compete in female competition until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.

REG 6.12.4 Mixed events: A transgender athlete will be eligible to compete in mixed competitions in their affirmed gender, subject to REG 6.12.2 through to REG 6.12.3

REG 6.12.5 Medical evidence: BUCS may request medical evidence in order to ascertain the eligibility of a transgender athlete to compete in a category. Such medical evidence will be treated confidentially. Any costs associated with obtaining such information cannot be covered by BUCS.

REG 6.12.6 Anti-doping: Drug testing procedures and prohibitions, as outlined in REG 6.14, also apply to athletes who identify as transgender.  Any athlete receiving treatment involving a Prohibited Substance or Method, as described on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List, should apply for a standard Therapeutic Use Exemption.

REG 6.13 Under no circumstances may a player be permitted to compete for a team of the opposite sex, with the exception of athletes falling under REG 6.12, specific mixed sex Championships or those listed as allowing mixed teams in the Sport Specific Regulations


REG 6.14   Anti-Doping: All BUCS participants are subject to the Anti-Doping rules of their sport’s National Governing Body, and as such are subject to testing.


REG 6.14.1   Any player who is serving an Anti-Doping Rule Violation will not be eligible to participate in any BUCS competitions.


REG 6.14.2   Disqualification of Results in Competitions Subsequent to Sample Collection or Commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation: In addition to the automatic disqualification of the results in the competition which produced the positive Sample, all other competitive results of the player obtained from the date a positive sample was collected (whether in-competition or out-of-competition) shall, unless fairness requires otherwise, be disqualified, with all resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.


REG 6.14.3   If more than 2 team members in a team sport are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation during an event period, BUCS shall impose the appropriate sanction which will be determined by the disciplinary panel, in line with REG 17

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