The words ‘eligibility and compliance’ are thrown around quite a bit when your athlete begins thinking about college. But what do they actually mean? How complex is it to ensure your athlete is eligible and remains compliant? It can be very complex, to answer in short. Nonetheless, if your athlete researches the rules and regulations, and keep up-to-date with changes, obtaining eligibility and compliance, will be a walk in the park.
Today, I am giving you some of the basics. I will walk you through the process of maintaining eligibility and compliance when thinking about playing NCAA sports. However, it doesn’t matter which sporting organisation your athlete needs to register with, the rules are much the same. Your athlete will need to acquire a good GPA and final test score, along with proof of graduation, to achieve college sports success.
So let’s start at the beginning. The first thing you want to do when your athlete is year 9, is start planning. It’s all about planning, strategy, and setting the wheels in motion for the next four years. Now is also a good time to create your athlete’s free profile page through the NCAA eligibility centre. A profile page is all your athlete needs at this point. When they know they are headed for Division I or II, they will want to register for a certification account.
This week over in College Bound Athletes, I have been discussing eligibility and compliance in detail with our members. If you would like to continue the conversation, head on over and become a member today.
To be eligible to play NCAA sports, your athlete will need to complete a certain number of core courses, earn a minimum grade point average, and graduate from high school. Your athlete will want to have academic records submitted to the NCAA eligibility centre from year 10 on. That will be all graduation credentials such as certificates, diplomas, and final exams and test scores. Academic records include transcripts, yearly grade reports, mark sheets, and official leaving exam results.
If your athlete is not clear on the full requirements for eligibility and compliance, and don’t submit all required documentation, they may find that the review of their application is delayed. They will need to submit those documents that are missing before it can continue to be reviewed.
Communicate With Your Athlete’s High School Guidance Officer
Your athlete’s school will submit academic transcripts and proof of graduation. Proof of graduation may be a final leaving diploma, leaving exam, or record of learning. Do try to ensure these documents contain the date of issue and its official name. Don’t be afraid to keep those lines of communication open with your athlete’s guidance officer. If you are concerned about any of the required documentation not being uploaded, reach out and ask. That’s what they are there for. One more thing to remember. If your athlete has attended more than one high school, they will need to ask all schools for final transcripts.
Your athlete’s test scores for the SAT and ACT will be sent directly to the eligibility centre. When they register through the eligibility centre, they will be given a code that will then ensure their test scores can be uploaded. Your athlete will have to nominate the NCAA as the eligibility centre they are registered with. That will guarantee their scores are being uploaded directly from the testing centre. The SAT and/or ACT exams will need to be completed before your athlete can enrol at a full-time college. When they are recruited, they will need to submit what is called a matriculation form, which is a confirmation they have completed the test.
For eligibility and compliance going into a Division I or II NCAA school, your athlete will need to complete 16 core courses. Each course earns them credits. The subject area these core courses cover are
- English/Native Languages
- Natural/Physical Sciences
- Social Science
- Additional Specialties From Above Subjects
- Foreign Languages (not the TOEAFL)
- Comparative Religion
The NCAA eligibility centre calculates the grade point average (GPA) based on the grades they achieve through the 16 core courses. These are worked out through the credit system. To compete in an NCAA Div I school, your athlete will need to obtain a minimum GPA of 2.3. If your athlete wants to compete for an NCAA Div II school, they will need a minimum GPA of 2.2.
Division I and II schools work out your athlete’s eligibility using what’s called a sliding scale. My blog next week will cover this topic in more detail. For now, what you need to know is it’s like a balancing system. The sliding scale is used to match your athlete’s test scores and GPA to determine eligibility. If your athlete has a low test score, they will need a higher GPA. The same goes if they have a low GPA, they will need a higher test score.
Sit The SAT/ACT As Many Times As Needed
The good news, your athlete can sit the SAT/ACT as many times as they need. There is no limit on how often they can sit them. The best score from each section of the tests they sit will be taken as their final sum score.
If your athlete’s not eligible to play Div I, they won’t compete in that first year of college. However, if they qualify as a ‘red shirt’, they can practice during their first term in college. They will also receive a scholarship for the full year. To qualify, they will need to complete the 16 core courses, and earn a GPA of 2.0.
If your athlete wants to enrol at NCAA Div I or II colleges, they must receive their final amateurism certification. They. won’t be eligible to compete if they don’t receive the certification. To obtain the amateurism certification, your athlete will need to register with the NCAA eligibility centre. Then fill out a section called ‘sports participation’ and request their final amateurism certification. Consistently check-in for any new tasks they may need to complete before starting college. Eligibility and compliance can hit a roadblock if amateurism is not proven.
Athletes who want to attend an NCAA Div III school will need to follow the schools own eligibility requirements. The will have to meet admissions standards that are set by the establishment itself.
College Prep Timeline
- 9th grade is all about the planning. Your athlete should concentrate on what core courses they need to be taking to stay on track for graduation. The focus should be on gaining the absolute best grades possible. Make sure your athlete is well aware of all the NCAA approved courses. This is also the time to sign up for your athlete’s free profile page with the NCAA.
- 10th grade can be a heavy year for our student-athletes, both personal and physical. They will need to communicate with the school guidance officer to ensure they are still taking the correct core courses. If your athlete knows they want to play div I or II, year 10 is the time to register for the NCAA certification account. Continue to monitor it for any next steps that are available. At the end of year 10, make sure the guidance officer has uploaded your athlete’s academic transcripts.
- Again, in 11th grade, check back in with the Guidance officer. Make sure they are on track to complete their core courses and still sailing toward graduation. They should be taking the SAT/ACT by 11th grade and have all scores uploaded to the eligibility centre. Double-check that the guidance officer has uploaded those transcripts.
- In 12th grade, things get serious! Your athlete hopefully will have completed all 16 NCAA approved core courses. If they want to re-sit the SAT/ACT, do so now, and have all scores submitted to the eligibility centre. Year 12 is the time to request final amateurism certification. Your athlete will need to know the dates for these. April 1st is for the fall, and October 1st is when your athlete can receive final certification for the winter/spring. After your athlete has graduated, ask the guidance officer to upload final transcripts and proof of graduation.
International Vs Domestic
It’s important that your athlete is aware of the different testing dates for international and domestic students. The last thing you want is your athlete missing a deadline because they were looking at the wrong dates. If your athlete is attending as an international student, they will have to ensure they have the correct testing dates. You can find all the test dates on the NCAA website.
Upon being recruited and accepted to play NCAA sports, your athlete will need to complete a student-athlete compliance form. This form is an agreement made by your athlete to always comply with the rules of being a student-athlete. It covers things like approval to administer drug tests. And the agreement to remain compliant of the rules and regulations in their scholarship, college, and sports terms and conditions. Your athlete won’t keep eligibility if they are found to breach compliance rules.
I want to emphasise the importance of your athlete knowing the rules and regulations. You can ensure your athlete will be eligible and remain compliant, by keeping up to date with changes. Keep a close watch on their NCAA certification account for next steps. I cannot stress enough that a missing piece of documentation will delay the review of your athlete’s application. A roadblock like that can have quite an impact on their state of mind. To help your athlete stay focused and on track, will take research, planning, and strategy. Learn together! Know what it takes to ensure your athlete remains eligible and compliant.
Early preparation makes for a well-planned strategy and college campaign that will knock the coaches out of the ball-park. Would you like to know how to give your athlete the best start with a strong strategy? I have spots on my calendar specifically for connecting calls. This is simply an informal chat. Here, we will connect, talk about your athlete’s journey so far, and what their future aspirations are. From there we can talk about what strategies will give your athlete maximum opportunity. If you would like to hop on one of these calls, you will find my calendar here where you can book a time that best suits you.
I have my next exclusive event ‘The Competitor’s Edge Masterclass: A Parent’s Guide To Maximising Sports Scholarship Opportunities…Early, will be kicking off on Monday, 13th July at 11 AM AEST. This is a LIVE and FREE 5-day event. The masterclass will help you create a college campaign that will place your athlete in front of coaches 10X sooner. I will show you how to create a 4-year plan with a solid strategy. You will know how to do it without using a recruiting agency, and without losing your mind, or your time.
You can register for this amazing event and secure your athlete’s future success right here. I can’t wait to work with you and get this journey rolling on the right foot for your athlete. See you soon – Brooke Hamilton, CEO & founder, PEAinternational.