• NCAA Eligibility Center Basics

    What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

    The NCAA Eligibility Center is the organization that determines whether prospective college athletes are eligible to play sports at NCAA Division I or Division II institutions. It does this by reviewing the student athlete's academic record, SAT or ACT scores, and amateur status to ensure conformity with NCAA rules.

    How do students register with the Eligibility Center?

    Students can register online at the www.eligibilitycenter.org.  They will have to enter personal information, answer questions about their athletic participation, and pay a registration fee. The website will then prompt them to have their high school transcript and ACT or SAT scores sent to the Eligibility Center.



    FAQs about the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse

    Student-athletes must complete a Certification account with the NCAA Eligibility Center to be eligible to play NCAA Division I or Division II sports in college.  Student-athletes wishing to compete at a Division III school or are currently unsure in which division they want to complete should complete a Profile page.



    What are NCAA Divisions I, II, and III?

    The NCAA is the governing body of many intercollegiate sports. Each college and university regulated by the NCAA has established rules on eligibility, recruiting, and financial aid, and falls into one of the three membership divisions (Divisions I, II, and III). Divisions are based on school size and the scope of their athletic programs and scholarships. 

    When should students register with the Eligibility Center?

    The NCAA recommends that student athletes register with the clearinghouse at the beginning of their junior year in high school, but many students register after their junior year. There is no registration deadline, but students must be cleared by the Eligibility Center before they receive athletic scholarships or compete at a Division I or Division II institution.



    Can students have the registration fee waived?

    Students who have received a waiver for the SAT or ACT are eligible for a waiver of the clearinghouse registration fee. The student's counselor must submit confirmation of the student's test fee waiver. Go to the NCAA Eligibility Center High School Administration page for more information.

    What records does the Eligibility Center require?

    Students should arrange to have a counselor send their high school transcript to the Eligibility Center as soon as they have completed at least six semesters of high school. The transcript must be uploaded directly from their high school. Students must also arrange to have their ACT or SAT test scores reported directly by the testing company to the Eligibility Center. Students can arrange this when they register for the ACT or SAT.  The Eligibility Center code is 9999 for the ACT and SAT.

    How often can students update their athletics participation information?

    Students can update the information on the athletics participation section online as often as they want (and should update it regularly), up to the time when they request a final certification of their status. At that point (usually three to four months before enrolling in college), students must finalize their information.

    What are the NCAA academic eligibility requirements?

    To play sports at an NCAA Division I or Division II institution, the student must:



    What are core courses?

    "Core courses" is the name that the NCAA gives to high school courses that meet certain academic criteria specified by the association. Students must complete a certain number of core courses for NCAA Division I and II eligibility.



    How are high school courses classified as core courses?

    All participating high schools submit lists of the courses that they offer that meet NCAA core-course criteria. If approved, the courses are added to a database that the NCAA Eligibility Center maintains. You can check this database, or view a list of approved core courses on the High School Administration page to see whether your student athletes are enrolled in courses that will count toward NCAA eligibility.

    What are the NCAA amateurism eligibility requirements?

    To play sports at an NCAA Division I or Division II institution, the student-athlete must follow NCAA amateurism rules as regards receiving salary or prize money for athletic participation, playing with a professional team, and other areas.  For more information, see the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete linked above.

    Keep in mind...

    The best way for students to prepare for a future in college athletics is to complete the approved core courses and earn appropriate grades in them. Indeed, more students fail to qualify to play NCAA sports because of lack of appropriate course work than for low test scores.

    Make sure student-athletes are enrolled in the courses on your high school's core-course list, and also know the eligibility requirements. Then make sure your athletes are taking the necessary courses, earning the necessary grades, and doing anything else they must to stay on track for NCAA eligibility.