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            NCAA Eligibility

            NCAA Eligibility Information


            The Recruiting Process

            The college recruiting process is a once in the lifetime experience. If not properly prepared, it can be a confusing and intimidating process. Follow these steps to better prepare yourself for the recruiting process.

               identify school before they identify you

            In other words, be proactive. Don't wait for schools to contact you. Identify 15 schools that you are interested in learning more about. Divide them up into 3 sections of 5 schools each.
            1st Five: The Home Run -- These schools possess a combination of athletics and academics that will stretch the student-athlete to his/her abilities.
            2nd Five: The Sweet Spot -- These schools possess a combination of athletics and academics that the student-athlete feels best fits his/her academic and athletic abilities.
            3rd Five: The Safety Net -- These schools will provide the student athlete with an excellent academic environment (core course GPA, SAT/ACT score) but might not quite be at the athletic level the student-athlete would prefer.
            These 3 categories are constantly evolving. Upon further evaluation, you will find that some of these schools may move from The Safety Net to The Sweet Spot, and so on. Other schools will fall out of groups all together. Once a school is removed from a group, it is important to introduce a new school into the evaluation process.
            It is also important to identify a school's athletic needs. Will you be able to set right into a playing situation? Does your style of play fit the schools style?

               the school identifies you

            One of the first steps a school will take when identifying its scholarship candidates is to mail out a questionnaire to a student athlete. This can take place as early as a students' freshman year, but generally does not take place until a students' junior year. Remember, first impressions go a long way. Make sure you write neatly when filling these questionnaires out. Replying promptly is also a good way to make a solid first impression.

            Throughout the recruiting process, recruits will receive letters and phone calls from prospective schools. Colleges are restricted to the times of year when they may contact a student. To learn about the Recruiting Calendar for all NCAA sports.
            Be prepared when a recruiter calls. Remember, while the coaches attempt to learn more about you, it is important for you to learn more about the coach and the college they represent. 

               important ncaa rule change

            As of August 1, 2007 all student-athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center prior to making any official school visits or receiving a written offer of athletically related financial aid.


            Contact Period Definitions

              period definitions

            Contact Period
            During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college's campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.

            Evaluation Period
            The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college's campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.

            Quiet Period
            The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.

            Dead Period
            The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.

               Types of visits

            Official Visit
            Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses: Your transportation to and from the college; Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score.

            Unofficial Visit
            Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.

               recruiting term definitions

            A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.

            An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.

            Prospective Student-Athlete
            You become a "prospective student-athlete" when: You start ninth-grade classes; or before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.


            Questions to Ask Recruiters

            College coaches and recruiters will ask you plenty of questions during your recruiting process to learn more about you. And, it is just as important that you ask them questions too. Just as recruiters are trying to find players that best fit their program, you need to find out which schools best fit you.
            The NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has developed a list of questions that you can ask recruiters to help you choose the best school for you.

               athletic questions

            1. What position will I play on our team?
            2. Can you describe the other players competing at my position?
            3. Can I "redshirt" my freshman year?
            4. What are the physical requirements each year?
            5. How would you best describe your coaching style?
            6. What is your game plan?
            7. When does the contract of the head coach expire?
            8. Please describe the preferred, invited and uninvited walk-on situation.
            9. How many make it, compete and earn scholarships?
            10. Is medical insurance required for my participation?
            11. If so, is it provided by the college?
            12. If I am serious hurt while competing, who is responsible for my medical expenses?
            13. What happens if I want to transfer to another school?

              academic questions

            1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the academic department I choose to major in?
            2. Describe your academic support program.
            3. What percentage of players on scholarship graduate in 4 years?
            4. If I am diagnosed and documented with a disability, what kind of academic services are available?
            5. Are there restrictions in scheduling classes around practice?

               college life questions

            1. What is the typical class size?
            2. What are the residence halls like?
            3. Will I be required to live on campus throughout my athletic career?
            4. What is a typical day for a student-athlete?

               financial aid questions

            1. What are the details of financial aid at your institution?
            2. How long does a scholarship last? Year-to-year or is it a 4 year commitment?
            3. If I am injured, what happens to my financial aid?
            4. What are my opportunities for employment while I am a student?
            5. How much financial aid is available for summer school?
            6. Under what circumstances would my scholarship be reduced or cancelled?
            7. Are there academic criteria needed to maintain my scholarship?
            8. What scholarship money is available if I suffer an athletic career ending injury?
            9. What scholarship money is available after eligibility is exhausted to help me complete my degree?
            10. Will my scholarship be maintained if there is a change in coaches?


            Recruiting Facts

               scholarship facts
            • Did you know? There is no such thing as a "Full Ride." ALL scholarships are 1-year renewable deals.
            • Only 3% of high school student-athletes receive a scholarship.
            • Less than 1% of high school student-athletes receive a 4-year Division I scholarship.
            • 83% of scholarship opportunities are NOT on the Division I level.
            • 90% of the 2,000+ colleges and universities in America DO NOT play sports on a Division 1 level. So, you if you focus on "going D1," you are missing out on 90% of the opportunities to play sports in college.
            • Are you sure you run a 4.40 forty? Only 3 of the 329 players invited to this year's NFL Combine posted a 40 speed of 4.40 or better.
            • Men's Division I football and basketball and women's Division I volleyball, basketball, tennis and gymnastics are the ONLY scholarships which may NOT be divided (this, however, does not guarantee 100% funding for each scholarship). ALL other scholarships for all other sports and divisions may be sub-divided, and most commonly are.
            • 80% of financial assistance is realized AFTER January 1 of the senior year.


            Sports Scholarship Limits

               division I scholarship limits

            D1 Head Count Sports
            The following numbers represent the total number of athletes that can be provided scholarships. Scholarships can NOT be divided, however, a scholarship does not guarantee 100% funding. For example, a basketball program can provide a total of 12 athletes with scholarships. Those scholarships can be 100% funded, 75% funded, 60% funded, etc. However, no more than 12 players on the team may receive a scholarship of any kind, no matter what percentage is being offered.

            Men's Sports

            • Basketball (12)
            • FBS Football (25 per year/ 85 total)
            • FCS Football (30 per year/ 63 total)
            • Women's Sports
            • Basketball (15)
            • Tennis (8)
            • Volleyball (12)
            • Gymnastics (12)

            D1 Equivalency Sports
            These sports may provide partial scholarships. The numbers below represent the TOTAL number of scholarships that can be divided amongst a team annually. This does not mean that every team provides this number of scholarships. It represents the total number they can divide amongst their entire team annually.

            Men's Sports

            • Baseball (11.7)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (12.6)
            • Fencing (4.5)
            • Golf (4.5)
            • Gymnastics (6.3)
            • Hockey (18)
            • Lacrosse (12.6)
            • Rifle (3.6)
            • Skiing (6.3)
            • Soccer (9.9)
            • Swimming and Diving (9.9)
            • Tennis (4.5)
            • Volleyball (4.5)
            • Water Polo (4.5)
            • Wrestling (9.9)

            Women's Sports

            • Bowling (5)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (18)
            • Equestrian (15)
            • Fencing (5)
            • Field Hockey (12)
            • Golf (6)
            • Lacrosse (12)
            • Rowing (20)
            • Rugby (12)
            • Skiing (7)
            • Soccer (14)
            • Softball (12)
            • Squash (12)
            • Swimming and Diving (14)
            • Water Polo (8)
               division ii scholarship limits

            DII Equivalency Sports
            These sports may provide partial scholarships. The numbers below represent the TOTAL number of scholarships that can be divided amongst a team annually. This does not mean that every team provides this number of scholarships. It represents the total number they can divide amongst their entire team annually.

            Men's Sports

            • Baseball (9.0)
            • Basketball (10.0)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (12.6) (if both offered)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (5.0) (if only one is offered)
            • Fencing (4.5)
            • Football (36)
            • Golf (3.6)
            • Gymnastics (5.4)
            • Ice Hockey (13.5)
            • Lacrosse (10.8)
            • Rifle (3.6)
            • Skiing (6.3)
            • Soccer (9.0)
            • Swimming and Diving (8.1)
            • Tennis (4.5)
            • Volleyball (4.5)
            • Water Polo (4.5)
            • Wrestling (9.0)

            Women's Sports

            • Basketball (10.0)
            • Bowling (5.0)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (12.6) (if both offered)
            • Cross Country/Track and Field (6.0) (if only one is offered)
            • Equestrian (15.0)
            • Fencing (4.5)
            • Hockey (6.3)
            • Golf (5.4)
            • Gymnastics (6.0)
            • Ice Hockey (18.0)
            • Lacrosse (9.9)
            • Rowing (20)
            • Rugby (12)
            • Skiing (6.3)
            • Soccer (9.9)
            • Softball (7.2)
            • Squash (9.0)
            • Swimming and Diving (8.1)
            • Tennis (6.0)
            • Volleyball (8.0)
            • Water Polo (8.0)
               division iii Scholarship Limits

            No scholarships are provided at the Division III level. However, financial aid is available.


            National Letter of Intent

               letter of intent

            The National Letter of Intent (NLI) program is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association with daily management provided by the NCAA. In place for over 40 years, the program is used by more than 500 participating institutions.
            The NLI program's primary goals are:

            • To reduce and limit recruiting pressure on student-athletes
            • To promote and preserve the amateur nature of collegiate athletics

            By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. In turn, the college or university agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete.

            After a prospective student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with an institution, all other participating institutions must cease recruitment of the prospective student-athlete.

            The NLI provides several advantages to both the prospective student-athlete and participating educational institutions:

            • Once the National Letter of Intent is signed, prospective student-athletes are no longer subject to further recruiting contacts and calls.
            • Student-athletes are assured of an athletics scholarship for one full academic year. (Without the NLI program, a student could find his/her scholarship taken by a more highly recruited student only weeks or days before classes begin.)
            • Institutions can be certain that once the student-athlete has signed a Letter of Intent, there is no need to continue recruiting for that position. (Without the NLI program, last-minute changes by student-athletes could open scholarships and positions on teams.)
            • By emphasizing student-athletes' commitments to educational institutions, not particular coaches or teams, the program focuses university athletics on educational objectives and helps to sustain the amateur nature of college sports.
            • For more information about the National Letter of Intent program, visit the official NLI website at


            National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

            The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is not affiliated with the NCAA and has its own set of eligibility rules and guidelines. NAIA schools provide many opportunities to play sports on the college level and should not be overlooked by student-athletes.

              a message from the naia

            "The varsity athletic experience can and should contribute to the participant's educational and personal development. Consequently, the selection of a four-year college or university at which to continue your education is of tremendous importance. The quality and breadth of the institution's academic offering, the quality of the coaching staff, the nature and sphere of athletic competition and the institution's philosophy regarding athletics as an integral part of the educational process are important considerations. We feel that the NAIA philosophy is sound and that participation in a well-conducted intercollegiate athletics program will provide an added dimension to your college experience."

               naia eligibility regulations

            Freshman MUST meet two of the following three entry level requirements.
            1. Minimum 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT (written portion of tests not included)
            2. Minimum overall high school GPA of 2.00 on a 4.00 scale
            3. Graduate in the top half of your high school class

               naia advantages

            There are many advantages to competing in NAIA sports. Besides the benefit of close-knit communities and small class sizes on the typical NAIA campus, NAIA Athletics offer:
            1. Maximum opportunity to participate in regular season contests and National Championships.
            2. Flexibility to transfer without missing a season of eligibility.
            3. Fewer recruiting restrictions.
            4. Focus on the education and character development of the student-athlete.
            The NAIA recruitment process is less cumbersome, with fewer restrictions on the contact a student-athlete and coach can make. More frequent communication aids in assuring that the student-athlete is comfortable with the choice of institution. In the event the student-athlete feels that the school or team is not the right fit, he can transfer to another NAIA institution and compete the next season without sitting out a year. While NAIA rules hold strict academic requirements, the process of establishing eligibility is streamlined since there is no clearinghouse.
            To learn more about the NAIA and its member institutions, visit the Official Web Site of the NAIA at

               naia eligibility center

            As of September 1, 2010, the NAIA has opened its own eligibility center. Any student-athlete with the hope of playing sports at an NAIA college or university MUST register in order to have their eligibility status determined.

            Learn more about the NAIA EC by clicking on this link:

            The NAIA has also provided this video to assist in answering any questions you might have:


            National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)

            The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is committed to providing quality athletic opportunities to enhance the entire collegiate learning experience or its students. The Association and its member colleges strive to provide equal opportunities for all concerned student-athletes. The Association is sensitive to the special needs and circumstances of the Community/Junior College student while keeping within the high academic standards of our 510 member institutions.

               sports sponsored by njcaa

            The NJCAA provides opportunities for participation, including National Championships, for student athletes in the following sports:
            Fall Baseball, Spring Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Fall Golf, Spring Golf, Ice Hockey, Indoor Track and Field, Spring Lacrosse, Fall Lacrosse, Outdoor Track and Field, Fall Softball, Spring Softball, Fall Soccer, Spring Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Fall Tennis, Spring Tennis, Fall Volleyball, Spring Volleyball and Wrestling.

              initial eligibility

            Due to the unique academic and athletic situation of each individual, and the complexity of the NJCAA eligibility rules, it is recommended that each potential student-athlete discuss their athletic eligibility with the athletic personnel at the NJCAA college where they have chosen to attend. Should the athletic staff have any questions in determining an individual's eligibility, the college may contact the NJCAA National Office for assistance.
            Students must be a high school graduate or must have received a high school equivalency diploma or have been certified as having passed a national test such as the General Education Development Test (GED). Non-high school graduates can establish eligibility by completing one term of college work having passed twelve credits with a 1.75 GPA or higher. This term must be taken after the student's high school class has graduated.

               Two seasons of competition

            Students are allowed two (2) seasons of competition in any sport at a NJCAA college, if they have not participated at any intercollegiate level during two (2) seasons previously. Playing in one or more regularly scheduled contests prior to post-season competition uses one season of participation in that sport.
            To learn more about the NJCAA and its member institutions, visit the Official Web Site of the NJCAA at
            (Above content adapted from the NJCAA Prospective Student Brochure.)


            Financial Aid Resources

            Many financial options are available to assist you and your parents in meeting the costs of college tuition. Below we review the major financial aid categories and provide links to sites where you may obtain more information.


            Scholarships are forms of aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid. Generally, scholarships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country or who demonstrate financial need.


            Grants are a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students and the grant amount is based on need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status. Grant programs include Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.


            Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Both undergraduate and graduate students may borrow money. Parents may also borrow to pay education expenses for dependent undergraduate students. Maximum loan amounts depend on the student's year in school.
            Federal Stafford Loans are made to students and PLUS Loans are made to parents through two loan programs:

            1. William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program: Eligible students and parents borrow directly from the federal government at participating schools. Direct Loans include Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.

            2. Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program: Private lenders provide federally guaranteed funds. FFELs include FFEL Stafford Loans, FFEL PLUS Loans, and FFEL Consolidation Loans.
            Federal Perkins Loans are offered by participating schools to provide students who demonstrate the most need with low-interest loans.


            Work-study lets you earn money while enrolled in school to help pay for education expenses.

               financial aid links

            U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) - The FSA programs are the largest source of student aid in America, providing nearly 70% of all student financial aid.
   - was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive annotated collection of information about student financial aid on the web.
            FastWeb - FastWeb is the Internet's leading scholarship search service. FastWeb lets students create a personalized profile that can be matched against an expansive databases of colleges and scholarships. As the oldest and most popular free online scholarship matching service, the FastWeb database has over 600,000 scholarships totaling more than $1 billion.
            The College Board's Scholarship Search - Find scholarships, other financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion.


            Amateurism-Eligibility Requirements


            In the fall of 2006, the NCAA added an amateurism questionnaire to the Initial-Eligibility certification process. Students who plan to participate in intercollegiate athletics at an NCAA Division I or II institution in fall 2007 or thereafter, must have both their academic and amateurism status certified by the NCAA eligibility center (formerly the Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse). In Division III, certification of an individual's amateurism status is completed by each institution, not the eligibility center.
            When students register with the eligibility center, they will be asked about benefits and activities that might impact their status as an amateur. The information provided will be reviewed and a determination will be made as to whether their amateurism status should be certified or if a penalty should be assessed before certification. If a penalty is assessed, an opportunity to appeal the decision will be provided.
            All high school student-athletes should be aware of activities that could jeopardize their amateur standing and eligibility to play sports collegiately.
            Topics covered by the amateurism questionnaire include:
            1. Contracts with a professional team.
            2. Salary for participating in athletics.
            3. Prize money.
            4. Play with professionals.
            5. Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team.
            6. Benefits from an agent or prospective agent.
            7. Agreement to be represented by an agent.
            8. Delayed initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized sports competition.
            The link below provides a list of sample questions asked on the amateurism questionnaire.