Step 3: Register with NCAA/NAIA Eligibility Centers
Before contacting schools and coaches you need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and/or the NAIA Eligibility Center.
Eligibility is based on academic performance criteria. Therefore, it is important to understand early on, that if you want to be student-athlete, you must first take care of your “student” side. GPG advises all college-bound student-athletes to prepare for the academic side of college as though the athletics experience did not exist. In other words, academics are important.
College-bound student-athletes who want to compete for NCAA Divisions I and II must be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center to be eligible both in terms of academic standing as well as amateur status.
This certification does not necessarily mean that a college-bound student-athlete will be accepted for admission at a Division I or II college or university since admissions requirements are often more selective than NCAA initial-eligibility standards.
Division III institutions do not require NCAA Eligibility Center certification. To participate in Division III athletics, a student-athlete must have been admitted as a degree-seeking student in accordance with the regular, published admissions policies of that college or university.
To register with the NCAA Eligibility Center:
- Go to http://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.html
- Click that you are a college bound student-athlete
- Click on “Create New Account” located at the top right corner
- Enter your email address, after which you will get an email from the NCAA with a code to enter
- Once you have retrieved and entered the code, you will be able to create an account and enter your personal information
There is a $65 registration fee on the site for NCAA processing. This fee can be waived in some cases, but that requires the student to work through the high school guidance counselor.
For further information on the NCAA process reference the NCAA website: http://ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Student-Athlete+Experience/Becoming+a+Student-Athlete/
For further information about NAIA eligibility, reference the NAIA website:
What Does the Clearinghouse Want With Me? A brief history and snapshot of the NCAA Eligibility Center
By G.K. Nwosu, PhD., Arizona State University Athletics
Nearly 30 years ago, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) imposed a minimum benchmark for incoming freshmen student-athletes: a 2.0 GPA in 11 core courses with at least a 700 on the SAT. The term “core courses” was not clearly defined by the NCAA leading schools to determine what constituted such a course. As a result, colleges had questions about the validity of an incoming student’s coursework and deferred to the NCAA. In one particular instance, a student-athlete had already arrived on campus, competing in his team’s games as the NCAA evaluated his academic record. They determined that many of his grades and courses had been fabricated – meaning he should never have been eligible in the first place. The institution in question was placed on multi-year sanctions by the NCAA and the young student-athlete was subjected to ridicule and embarrassment. To that end, university presidents and athletic directors moved to create a standardized system to evaluate high school course work. The NCAA Eligibility Center was born.
In the 1990’s, due to what would be deemed as racial bias on standardized testing, the NCAA implemented a sliding-scale system. Incoming student-athletes could offset low test scores with a high GPA. The scale has been overhauled since then and, now, a prospective student-athlete with a core course GPA of 3.55 can be cleared 400 SAT score (math + verbal).
Schools on both ends are now facing the problem of grade inflation – the bolstering of classroom grades, which in effect lowers the bar for incoming student-athletes. It has become so much of an issue that academic clauses are a part of the language of college coaches’ contracts. Steve Spurrier, head football coach at South Carolina threatened to quit because a number of star recruits were denied admission to the university due to their academic record. They had qualified per the Eligibility Center but South Carolina deemed them as not college ready.
The Clearinghouse serves to make sure student-athletes are academically qualified for college level courses but it also collects facts on issues of illegal inducements and improprieties. The best way to make informed decisions on this process is to be prepared with knowledge of NCAA rules and regulations.
Information from ESPN was used in this report