College Sports Scholarships And The NCAA Eligibility Center

college sports scholarships

College Sports Scholarships – First Steps

I am always bombarded with questions about the NCAA Eligibility Center and the NCAA Clearinghouse. People want to understand what they are, how they work and if they are important in the recruiting process.

First things first. The NCAA Clearinghouse is the old name of the NCAA Eligibility Center, which was rebranded a couple of years ago. Anyone who still calls it the NCAA Clearinghouse is either working with old information or is too old to change their ways! Either way, now you know the right name and that they are one and the same.

The NCAA Eligibility Center was created to bring academic and amateurism certifications together under one roof. Its purpose is to ensure that college-bound student-athletes, as well as coaches and administrators, understand the requirements to participate in NCAA Divisions I and II athletics.

All incoming freshmen who plan on attending an NCAA Division I or II school MUST register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, meet all academic and amateur requirements and be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. So if you have not figured this out yet, academics are extremely important in the recruiting process. The requirements are a little difference for student-athletes enrolling in college before July 2016 and after July 2016. Before I explain the differences, let me tell you about something called a Core Course and how to calculate your NCAA Core Course GPA. This is critically important, because it is not unusual for your Core Course GPA to be a full point lower than your GPA that you are used to seeing on your report card.

 

ncaa eligibility center

Core Courses

Core Courses and what they are is a very important topic for you to understand if you are series about getting a college sports scholarship. They are the foundation of the NCAA Eligibility Center standards and the sooner you understand them the better. If you are even dreaming about playing your sport in college and getting involved in the athletic recruiting process, you have to map out a 4-year plan with you counsellor to make sure that you are meeting all the requirements. You should make this plan no later than the beginning of your sophomore year, but doing it in your freshman year is even better. The best time of all is to do it going into your ninth grade year so you can be sure that you are meeting all the requirements and meeting them on time.
A Core Course is basically any course at your high school that has been reviewed and approved by the NCAA Eligibility Center as a course that meets its academic standards. Every high school has a list of these courses and it is different in each school. This list is sometimes referred to as the 48H which is the old name they used to use, but it is the same list of approved courses. Your coach may have a copy of this list, but your counsellor will most likely be the one with the list. It is critical that you take enough courses on the list or you will not be academically eligible to play Division I or DivisionII intercollegiate sports.

The NCAA Eligibility Center approves course in four basic categories; English, Math, Natural and Physical Science and Social Science. Some foreign language, philosophy and religion classes may also be approved, but that depends on the specific lass and school. it is important to note that classes like Art, Band, Choir, Computers, Economics, and PE are examples of classes that are not approved as Core Courses and do not count towards your Core Course GPA. That is exactly why it is not uncommon for your Core Course GPA to be a full point lower than the GPA you are used to seeing on your report card. You must complete a minimum number of Copre courses in each of the categories as part of the NCAA Eligibility Center certification process.

What Are the Requirements?

I am going to share the Division I requirements with you even though the requirements are slightly different for Division II. If you meet these you will be good to go at pretty much any school.
To receive certification from the Eligibility Center, you must meet the following requirements:
Students enrolling in college July 2016 or earlier:

• Graduate from high school
• A minimum sum score on the ACT or minimum combined score on the SAT
• A high school grade point average of at least 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in a core curriculum of 16 courses. These include the following core courses:
◦ English – 4 years
◦ Math – 3 years
◦ Natural/Physical Science (incl. 1 lab) – 2 years
◦ Social Science – 2 years
◦ Additional English, Math or Natural/Physical Science – 1 year
◦ Additional Academic Courses (from any category above, or foreign language, social studies, philosophy, computer science) – 4 years

Students enrolling in college August 2016 or later:

• Graduate from high school
• A minimum sum score on the ACT or minimum combined score on the SAT
• A high school grade point average of at least 2.3 (on a 4.0 scale) in a core curriculum of 16 courses. These include the following core courses:
◦ English – 4 years
◦ Math – 3 years
◦ Natural/Physical Science (incl. 1 lab) – 2 years
◦ Social Science – 2 years
◦ Additional English, Math or Natural/Physical Science – 1 year
◦ Additional Academic Courses (from any category above, or foreign language, social studies, philosophy, computer science) – 4 years

• 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed prior to your seventh semester in high school. Those ten courses are “locked in” and can’t be retaken to improve your grade-point average.

• 7 of those 10 “locked in” core courses must be a combination of English, math or natural or physical science.

• If you don’t earn 10 courses before your seventh semester, you are still eligible to practice, but you can’t compete.

Those are some pretty serious changes for the Class of 2016 with the biggest one being the increase from a minimum Core Course GPA from 2.0 to 2.3. Just to put that in perspective a C student would have to get 5 B’s to go along with their 11 C’s to make a 2.3 GPA or they will not be eligible to play in the freshman year. Sure that student-athlete can practice, but they can’t compete. Who really wants to practice with no prospect of playing time no matter how well they perform? Not too many people in my opinion.

So now you know all about the academic requirements for playing intercollegiate sports, but there dis also the part of the Eligibility Center that deals with amateurism and amateur status. Basically the NCAA wants to be sure you have never been paid to play sports so you are qualified to play in college. Once registered, you will be taken through a series of questions to evaluate your amateur status, but don’t worry. 99.9% of the people who answer the questions are truly amateurs.

You have to prove that you are really a student-athlete. This is a list of some the things that potentially disqualify you from competing in the NCAA:

1.  Contracts with a professional team

2. Receiving a salary for playing your sport

3. Prize money for participating in your sport or game

4. Playing with professionals (don’t worry a Pro-Am is OK)

5. Trying out,practicing or competing with a professional team

6. Receiving benefits or something else of value from an agent or prospective agent

7. Agreeing to be represented by an agent.

8. Delaying your initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in an organized sports competition

9. Getting some type of financial benefit or assistance based on your athletic skill or participation in sports

The bottom line is if you want to compete in intercollegiate sports you should not do any of the above. That is not to say these are the only rules, but they are some of the big ones. Use common sense when protecting your amateur status and you will be fine.

So that about covers the NCAA Eligibility Center and how it works, I highly recommend that you register as soon possible and get started on your path to a college sports scholarship. It is never too early these days as I have heard about kids starting the athletic recruiting process as early as the 8th grade! Sure that is early, but is is happening for sure.

Oh yeah, if you are thinking about playing in the Ivy League and you think that since there are no “athletic scholarship”s in the Ivy League that you don’t need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, think again. You still need to register. I suggest that you check out my blog post on Ivy League Sports Scholarships  to learn more about that process.

Now get out there and get started today, because every day you waste is a missed opportunity.  You can get more information on the NCAA Eligibility Center and the athletic recruiting process in my Free Resource Center by registering on this page >>>>  FREE RESOURCE CENTER

Let me know your thoughts and comments below.

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