The student-athlete and the NCAA

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It’s that time of year when the National Collegiate Athletic Association questions start popping up. The first stop for student-athletes should be their coach who can provide them with much of the information to follow. This is simply a quick summary to assist student-athletes who are considering applying to a Division I or II school and plan to participate and compete in intercollegiate athletics.

There is a new and improved NCAA Eligibility Center site (www.eligibilitycenter.org). Student-athletes should begin the process of registering with the NCAA during their junior year. Students select the box for “Fall 2010 or After” and on the following screen select the cell phone on the left to register. Before doing so, students can download valuable information by clicking on the black Sharpie pen that says “Resources.” There is a Registration Checklist, Initial Eligibility brochure, and the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. This guide covers everything from academic requirements to the differences between Division I and II. It’s a great resource for students and parents.

There is a one-time fee of $60 (2009-2010) to register with the NCAA. If the student was eligible for an SAT or ACT fee waiver, the student would be eligible to have this fee waived as well.

Students must have standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) sent directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center. These can be requested online at www.collegeboard.com or www.actstudent.org. The code for the NCAA Eligibility Center is 9999. When students register to take the SAT or ACT, they can list the NCAA Eligibility Center as one of their four free “schools” where they want their scores reported.

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Students need to become academically certified. They do so by asking their school counselor to send a copy of their high school transcript to the NCAA reporting their most recent six semesters (typically the grades through the end of the junior year). They should ask to have a final transcript sent to the NCAA at the end of senior year to confirm graduation.

In addition, students need to become certified as an amateur student-athlete by completing a short amateurism questionnaire that will ask questions regarding agent involvement, experience playing on a professional team, or prize money received, etc. On or after April 1 of the senior year, the student will need to request final amateurism certification.

Finally, one of the most important details a student needs to pay attention to is meeting the NCAA academic rules. Students can view a list of core courses from their high school that have been posted as either approved or denied by the NCAA. Students should be careful when signing up for high school classes that the classes they are selecting work to meet both high school graduation requirements as well as count as approved NCAA core courses.

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