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The NCAA Eligibility Rules: Easily Explained
In its quest to ensure that student athletes are just as much students as athletes, the NCAA requires coaches and recruits to follow strict guidelines. In order to play ball as a freshman, you will need to meet the following requirements. We've also thrown in some recruiting guidelines, because we want you to be playing during your freshman year. Don't lose a year of playing eligibility because you or a coach accidentally broke some of the rules.

For more detailed information, you can locate an extensive list of all eligibility requirements at the NCAA website. Also, we recommend that you meet with your high school guidance counselor to review these rules and regulations.

The NCAA Clearinghouse
All high school student athletes who plan to participate as freshmen in Division I or Division II Athletics must register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Your high school guidance counselor can provide the registration materials and directions for registration. A $25 registration fee is required, though the fee can be waived if you can show financial need.

We recommend that you apply for registration after completion of you junior year in high school. Once filed, coaches and Universities that plan to recruit you may request your eligibility status through the Clearinghouse. You may not request that Clearinghouse materials be sent to a coach or University.

Division I & Division II Recruiting
Telephone Calls: A college coach or faculty member is allowed to make one phone call to you per week beginning July 1 after your junior year. Exceptions to the one call per week rule include the five day period prior to your official visit to that university, the day of a coach's off-campus contact with you, and the first three days of the National Letter of Intent signing period.

Contacts: Contacts are any off campus 'face-to-face' interactions between a coach and you or members of your family. Coaches are limited to three such contacts.

Evaluations: An evaluation is any off-campus activity used to assess your academic qualifications or athletics ability, including a visit to your high school (even if no contact occurs) or watching you practice or compete at any site. Institutions are limited to seven contacts or evaluations, combined (though no more than three contacts). Evaluations done over consecutive days at tournaments are considered a single evaluation. Once you have signed a National Letter of Intent, coaches are free to evaluate you as often as they choose.

Official Visits: During your senior year in high school, you may have one expense paid official visit to each University. You may have up to five official visits to different institutions, regardless of the number of sports you are being recruited for. Prior to an official visit, you must provide the institution (or the NCAA Clearinghouse) with your PSAT/SAT/ACT test score and a copy of your high school transcript. During the official visit, which may not exceed 48 hours, you may receive round-trip transportation between your home and the campus, and you may receive meals, lodging and complimentary admissions to campus athletics events. Your host may spend up to $30 on entertainment for you.

Division III Recruiting
Division III coaches may contact you on an unlimited basis anytime after completion of your junior year in high school. You can visit a college campus any time at your own expense. On such a visit, you may receive three complimentary admissions to a game on that campus, a tour of off-campus practice and competition sites in your sport and other college facilities within 30 miles of the campus, a meal in the college's on-campus student dining facilities and housing, if it is available to all visiting prospective students.

As a senior, you may make an expense-paid official visit to any particular campus. There is no limit to the number of schools you may officially visit, as long as you enroll initially in a Division III program.

During your official visit (which may not exceed 48 hours), you may receive round-trip transportation between you home and the campus, meals, lodging, and complimentary admissions to campus athletics events. All meals provided to you on an official visit must occur in an on-campus dining facility that the college's students normally use. If dining facilities are closed, the college is permitted to take you off-campus for meals. In addition, a student host may help you become acquainted with campus life. The host may spend $20 per day to cover all costs of entertaining you.

National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent is a contract between a high school senior and a college or university that commits the student to attend that school for at least one year, and commits the school to provide at least one year's athletic scholarship to the student. The agreement is, of course, pursuant on the student meeting all NCAA eligibility requirements and meeting the school's enrollment standards.
Furthermore, once a student signs a NLI, other coaches and schools are bound to respect the contract and cease recruitment negotiations with the student.

Division I Academic Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from High School
  • Successfully complete a core curriculum* in at least 13 courses as follows:
    • 4 years of English
    • 2 years of Mathematics
    • 2 years of Natural or Physical Sciences
    • 2 years of Social Science
    • 1 year of additional English, Mathematics or Science
    • 2 years of courses in any of the above or Foreign Language, ComputerScience, Philosophy or Nondoctrinal Religion
  • Meet a minimum requirement on the SAT or ACT tests, based on your highschool core-course Grade Point Average (GPA, on a 4.0 scale)

Division II Academic Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from High School
  • Have a minimum 2.0 GPA in a completed core curriculum* of at least 13 of the following courses:
    • 3 years of English
    • 2 years of Mathematics
    • 2 years of Natural or Physical Science
    • 2 years of additional courses in English, Mathematics or Sciences
    • 2 years of Social Science
    • 2 years of courses in any of the above or Foreign Language, ComputerScience, Philosophy or Nondoctrinal Religion
  • Receive a combined score of 820 on the SAT or a 68 on the ACT

Division III Academic Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility for financial aid, practice and competition is governed by institutional and conference regulations, and there are not minimum standards set by the NCAA for Division III schools.

Note: A "core course" is defined as a recognized academic course that offers fundamental instruction in a specific area of study. Courses taught below your high school's regular academic instructional level (e.g., remedial or compensatory) can't be considered core courses regardless of the content of the courses. Taken from

National Testing Dates for the SAT and ACT:

Subtest scores from more than one national testing date may be combined to create the highest sum total in order to meet eligibility standards (ie, an October 9 SAT Verbal core may be combined with a December 4 SAT Math score).

Take note that these academic eligibility requirements set minimum standards for participation, only, and should not be used as a guide to qualifications for admission to an institution of higher learning. Admission to colleges and universities is governed by the entrance requirements of each individual school.