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NCAA Recruitment Guide


The information contained below is provided only as a service to college-bound student-athletes. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained below. ALL information provided below is to serve as a general guide only. All listed data should be verified by the prospective student athlete (PSA) and their parents/guardians.

NCAA Eligibility Rules

The NCAA Eligibility Center took over operations for the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse in November 2007. The Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all students who want to play sports at an NCAA Division I or II institution as freshmen. In order to practice, play and receive an athletics scholarship, students need to meet certain academic benchmarks. An additional certification process exists to make sure the student is still an amateur, which is necessary in order for the student to compete.

Division III colleges and universities develop student-athlete potential through a holistic educational approach that includes rigorous academics, competitive athletics and opportunity to pursue many interests and passions. Student-athletes are responsible for their own paths and are provided with many opportunities to develop within a comprehensive educational experience. Division III minimizes the conflicts between athletics and academics through shorter playing and practicing seasons, a lower number of contests, no redshirting or out-of-season organized activities, and a focus on regional in-season and conference play.

Division III college-bound student-athletes are not certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center because Division III colleges and universities each set their own admissions standards and there are no initial-eligibility requirements in the division. However, there are still some important things you need to know. If you are interested in Division III, please visit or contact the Division III college or university of interest regarding policies on admission, financial aid and athletics eligibility.

Initial Academic Eligibility Requirements

In October 2011 the NCAA Division I Board of Directors adopted new initial eligibility standards for prospective student-athletes entering a full-time collegiate program on or after August 1, 2016. Prospects must meet minimum academic standards to be eligible for competition during their initial year of college enrollment. The two primary components that have changed are the sliding scale index and the progression of high school core-courses required by the NCAA. All prospective student-athletes should register early in the NCAA Eligibility Center at, should verify that they are on track to complete at least 16 NCAA recognized Core Courses and should familiarize themselves with specific admissions criteria required by institutions where they hope to apply. All resources (including a high school core course search tool) are accessible on

Amateurism Eligibility Requirements

Only an amateur student-athlete is eligible for intercollegiate athletics participation in a particular sport. Freshmen and transfer student-athletes initially enrolling at a division I institution are required to complete the amateurism certification process outlined by the NCAA via the Eligibility Center. As stated above, this information is to serve as a general guide only. All listed data should be verified by the prospective student athlete (PSA) and their parents/guardians. Student-athletes could lose their amateur status, should they:

Under NCAA Bylaw 12.3, a student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete's ability or reputation. If the student-athlete enters into such an agreement, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.

Also, a student-athlete may not accept transportation or other benefits from an athlete agent. This prohibition applies to the student-athlete and his or her relatives or friends.

The term "agent" includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and financial advisors.

It is not a violation of NCAA rules if a student-athlete merely talks to an agent (as long as an agreement for agent representation is not established) or socializes with an agent. For example, a student-athlete could go to dinner with an agent and no NCAA violations would result if the student-athlete provided his own transportation and paid for his meal.

It is permissible for hockey student-athletes to use the services of an advisor without jeopardizing their NCAA eligibility, provided:

Advisors MAY:

If you intend to retain your NCAA eligibility, Advisors MAY NOT:

National Letter of Intent Program

Most Division I and II colleges participate in the National Letter of Intent (NLI) program. Prospective student-athletes receiving athletic aid will sign an NLI. The National Letter of Intent is an agreement among participating schools that once a prospect accepts an offer of athletics financial aid to attend an NCAA school, other NCAA schools will recognize the offer and cease to recruit the prospect.  The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the National Letter of Intent, and no institution is required to join the program.

In order to be eligible to sign an NLI, a high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete must first register in the NCAA Eligibility Center and complete the amateurism certification questionnaire. Once a prospect has signed a National Letter of Intent, the prospect has then committed to that college for one year as long as they are accepted for admission and meet NCAA eligibility requirements. The National Letter of Intent is not an offer of admission.

For further information regarding the National Letter of Intent Program, please visit

NCAA Contact Regulations

There are a significant number of rules governing the contact a college coach may have with a perspective student athlete. College coaches must follow the rules established by the NCAA. A perspective student athlete is expected to follow these rules as well. The following is an outline of the types of contacts governed by the NCAA.  As stated above, this information is to serve as a general guide only. All listed data should be verified by the prospective student athlete (PSA) and their parents/guardians.

A prospective student-athlete (PSA) is any student who has started classes for the ninth grade (seventh grade in the sport of basketball). Any student younger than the ninth grade who receives any benefits from an institution or athletics representative would also be considered a prospective student-athlete as would an enrollee at a preparatory school or two year college.

An individual remains a prospect until one of the following occur:

Once at least one of the above criteria are met, the prospective student-athlete is deemed a student-athlete and no longer subject to the contact limitations presented in NCAA Bylaw 13.

A contact is a face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete or their parents, legal guardians or relatives and an institutional staff member or athletics representative during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange or greeting.

Recruiting Periods

1st Opportunity to Contact

Telephone Calls

Telephone calls to a PSA, his or her relatives or legal guardians may not be made before July 1 following the completion of his/her junior year in high school in all sports other than football, hockey, women's basketball and men's basketball.

Should you call a coach prior to those initial contact dates outlined above, it is not permissible for that coach to return your call.

Recruiting Materials

Important NCAA References

The following resources will provide valuable information to college-bound student-athletes:

NCAA Eligibility Center
Toll Free: 877/262-1492
International Callers: 317/223-0700
Fax: 317/968-5100

NCAA National Office
Hotline: 800/638-3731
Fax: 317/917-6622

Additional Resources
NCAA Guide for College Bound Student-Athletes
NCAA Reference Guide - Includes Core Course & Sliding Scale Requirements