NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In August 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III was adopted by the NCAA membership in a special convention. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III.  Source:  Wikipedia.org

Over 450,000 NCAA student-athletes participate in college athletics each year. 

Source:  NCAA.org/Becoming Eligible/ Division I Toolkit

Division I Toolkit

Academic Eligibility

To participate in Division I athletics or receive an athletics scholarship during the first year of college, a student-athlete must:

  • Complete the 16 core-course requirement in eight semesters:
    • 4 years of English
    • 3 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
    • 2 years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if offered by the high school)
    • 1 extra year of English, math or natural or physical science
    • 2 years of social science
    • 4 years of extra core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, nondoctrinal religion or philosophy)
  • Earn a minimum required grade-point average in core courses
  • Earn a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches the core course grade-point average and test-score sliding scale. (For example, a 3.000 core-course grade-point average needs at least a 620 SAT).

Student-athletes enrolling in college in August 2016 and later must meet all of the above requirements to receive aid in the first year and practice in the first term. In order to compete in the first year, prospects must meet all of the above and:

  • Earn at least a 2.3 GPA in core courses
  • Meet an increased sliding-scale standard
  • Complete 10 core-courses prior to the start of the seventh semester, at least seven in English, math and science.

If a student-athlete earns nine credits in the first term, he or she can continue to practice the remainder of the year. If not, he or she can remain on aid but can’t practice.

Amateurism Eligibility

All incoming student-athletes must be certified as an amateur student-athlete. With global recruiting becoming more common, determining the amateur status of college-bound student-athletes can be challenging. All college-bound student-athletes, including international students, need to adhere to NCAA amateurism requirements in order to preserve their eligibility for NCAA intercollegiate athletics.

Certification Process

All college-bound student-athletes must have an academic and amateurism certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center.

The online registration process that must be completed by all future Division I and II college-bound student-athletes includes a questionnaire relating to the individual’s amateur status.  

For the staff at the NCAA Eligibility Center to certify amateur status, college-bound student-athletes must answer a questionnaire during registration.

The questionnaire covers the following pre-collegiate enrollment activities:

  • Contracts with professional teams
  • Salary for participating in athletics
  • Prize money
  • Play with professionals
  • Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team
  • Benefits from an agent or prospective agent
  • Agreement to be represented by an agent
  • Delayed initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized sports competition

The Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete contains more detailed information about initial academic and amateurism eligibility.

Recruiting Rules

NCAA policies govern how coaches can recruit college-bound student-athletes. The rules specify when and how coaches can contact prospects, what materials can be sent and when student-athletes can visit campus. The rules differ from sport to sport.

The NCAA Eligibility Center administers the National Letter of Intent program. The National Letter of Intent is a contract between a college or university and a prospect that requires the college-bound student-athlete to attend the college or university for one academic year and the college or university to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year. The National Letter of Intent is a legal document and should be read carefully before being signed.

Division II Toolkit

Academic Eligibility 

If you enroll in a Division II college and want to participate in athletics or receive an athletics scholarship during your first year, you must

  • Graduate from high school;
  • Complete these 16 core courses:
  • 3 years of English
  • 2 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • 2 years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if offered by your high school)
  • 3 additional years of English, math, or natural or physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, nondoctrinal religion or philosophy);
  • Earn a 2.000 grade-point average or better in your core courses; and
  • Earn a combined SAT score of 820 or an ACT sum score of 68.

Division II Qualifier

Being a qualifier entitles you to:

  • Practice or compete for your college or university during your first year of college;
  • Receive an athletics scholarship during your first year of college; and
  • Play four seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year.

Division II Partial Qualifier

You will be considered a partial qualifier if you do not meet all of the academic requirements listed above but have graduated from high school and meet one of the following standards:

  • The combined SAT score of 820 or ACT sum score of 68; or
  • Completion of the 16 core courses with a 2.000 core-course grade-point average.

As a partial qualifier, you:

  • Can practice with your team at its home facility during your first year of college;
  • Can receive athletically related financial aid during your first year of college;
  • Cannot compete during your first year of college; and
  • Can play four seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year.

Division II Nonqualifier

You will be considered a nonqualifier if you did not graduate from high school or if you graduated and are missing both the core-course grade-point average or minimum number of core courses and the required ACT or SAT scores.

As a nonqualifier, you:

  • Cannot practice or compete for your college or university during your first year of college;
  • Cannot receive athletically related financial aid during your first year of college, although you may receive need-based financial aid; and
  • Can play four seasons in your sport if you maintain your eligibility from year to year.

Amateurism Eligibility/Certification Process/Recruiting Rules

Same as above for Division I