How to Prepare Your Student Athletes for Eligibility with the NCAA

As a long-time partner of the NCAA Eligibility Center and preferred eTranscript sender, Parchment was thrilled to share details with our community earlier this month on how counselors can support their aspiring student-athletes. Our mission is to provide as many students as possible with a way to turn their credentials into opportunities. Our relationship with the NCAA helps us fulfill this goal through one of the many pathways that students may take: NCAA collegiate athletics. 

According to the NCAA, there are many advantages for student-athletes: top-notch academic support, quality medical care, and regular access to outstanding coaching, facilities, and equipment. In addition, student-athletes graduate at higher rates than their peers.

To ensure they meet amateurism standards and are academically prepared for college coursework, all of your student-athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The Eligibility Center is responsible for evaluating and certifying college-bound student athletes for collegiate competition at NCAA Division I and II schools.

Registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center:

During a recent Parchment webinar, high school administrators learned all about the NCAA registration process for Division I and II schools from Glenn Terry, Director of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships at the Eligibility Center. Here are the highlights.

Students have two options: registering for a Profile Page or setting up a Certification account. (Visit registration page.)

  • Profile Page: Free account for students interested in a Division III school or are not sure in which division they want to compete. The Eligibility Center will communicate on a regular basis, providing relevant and helpful information for the students. Registration is recommended prior to the start of 9th grade
  • Certification account: For students preparing to play at a Division I or Division II school, preparing to take an official visit, or who are on a school’s institutional request list (IRL), a Certification account is required.  This account tracks submitted grades and transcripts and will evaluate (when requested by a recruiting school) amateurism and academic certification. This account tracks receipt of transcripts and graduation and enrollment dates. For domestic students the fee is $90 for a Certification account, for international students, the fee is$150.

Additional Considerations for Aspiring Athletes, Families, Coaches, and Counselors

Here are some fast facts highlighting key information:

  • Provide information about sports participation: When registering with the Eligibility Center, student-athletes must select the sport(s) they want to play in college in their Certification Account and keep it updated. Students should include information about playing or attending events outside of a traditional high school setting.
  • Complete the approved NCAA core courses: These include English, math (algebra or higher), natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, and comparative religion/philosophy. Courses must be considered college prep and be taught by a qualified instructor.
  • Understand the standardized test score requirements: The NCAA Eligibility Center has suspended ACT/SAT test scores through the 2020-2021, 2021-22 academic years, with 2022-23 policies still under discussion. However, some colleges and scholarships may require test scores, so it’s best to review each organization’s test score policies.
  • Understand the Alternative Standards for Division I and II: There are alternative standards for both Division I and II due to COVID, specifically related to online education. There are four possible outcomes based on core courses and GPA.
  • Research Division III requirements: Each NCAA Division III college or university determines its own eligibility for admission, financial aid, and practice and competition. Profile Pages are not required nor are academic or amateurism certifications from the NCAA Eligibility Center. 
  • Institutional Request List (IRL): Students must be on an NCAA school’s institutional request list to be reviewed for NCAA academic and amateur certification.
  • Prior-to-School Official Visits: Students must be registered for a Certification account with the Eligibility Center before any official college visits or signing an NLI (National Letter of Intent).

Preparing to Apply

According to Terry, your student-athletes should share their NCAA ID with recruiting schools and, of course, apply to their desired schools to be accepted. Students should also ask for their final amateurism certification before enrolling and have their counselors submit a final transcript (use Parchment!) with proof of graduation. 

Last (but certainly not least), follow the NCAA on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to stay up to date on the latest information from the association.

Getting Started

While the NCAA certification process may seem complex or confusing, the Eligibility Center will help you every step of the way. Designed for high school student-athletes, parents, coaches, and others, these resources will help you successfully navigate the initial-eligibility process.

Also, review the Registration Checklist to ensure you have all the required information you need. And take a look at the most popular FAQs, including those related to COVID.

Questions? Call NCAA Eligibility Center Customer Service at 877-262-1492 (students and families) or 877-622-2321 (high school administrators). Interested in learning about how Parchment can support digital transcript delivery to the NCAA eligibility center for your school? Contact us today!

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