NCAA Student-Athlete Guide
This is a guide for college-bound student-athletes and their parents or guardians on getting to the next level. This explains rules and regulations from an academic standpoint as well as communication with college coaches. Keep in mind that these rules for communication reside solely on the coach. You can reach out to a college coach at any time via email, phone call, or snail mail. This guide explains how and when a coach can respond directly to you.
Note: This guide applies to NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools only. NCAA Division 3 schools do not have regulations as far as core-class requirements, and the coaches can respond directly to you at any time.
NCAA Eligibility Center
All student-athletes must adhere to specific academic and amateur standards in order to compete at the NCAA level. These academic standards include your GPA, Test Scores, and Core Classes, and must be met in order to participate in NCAA college sports. The NCAA will also need to verify that you are not a professional athlete and have maintained your amateur status.
You must complete the NCAA Eligibility Center questionnaire at some point during your high school career. To get this out of the way, we recommend completing this sooner than later. It allows college coaches to verify that you are on the right track and will be eligible to compete in the NCAA should he/she want to recruit you. We also recommend downloading the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athletes for more specifics.
NAIA Eligibility Center
Similar to the NCAA, student-athletes must adhere to certain standards to compete at the NAIA level. . The NAIA will also need to verify that you are not a professional athlete and have maintained your amateur status.
The NAIA Eligibility Center allows college coaches to verify that you are on the right track and will be eligible to compete in the NAIA should he/she want to recruit you. We also recommend downloading the NAIA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athletes for more specifics.
Applying to College
You may have many questions about how to apply to college, what materials you need, or when to start. This will help ease your mind with the rigors of the application process and give you a better understanding of what to expect. Keep in mind that the process may be slightly different for each school, and you will need to research what to do for each one individually.
Early Action / Decision
This is something everyone ponders at some point, but applying early to college has both its advantages and disadvantages. Keep in mind you may HAVE to attend the school if you apply early and are accepted, so you need to be 100% positive that this is the school you wish to attend. This article will give you more insight on the early application process.
NCAA Timelines of Communication
You can find a Recruiting Calendar on page 27 of the NCAA Student-Athlete Guide. This calendar details what type of communication you can receive from college coaches and at what time during your high school career.
Note: This calendar applies to NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools only. Keep in mind that these rules for communication reside solely on the coach. You can reach out to a college coach at any time via email, phone call, or snail mail. NCAA Division 3 coaches can respond directly to you at any time.
SAT Testing Dates and Registration
The SAT is a standardized test that helps colleges from around the country determine your scholastic abilities in 4 subjects Reading, Math, and Writing. It is recommended that each student-athlete prepare appropriately for this test and it may be a good idea to look into a test prep course.
National Letter of Intent
A player may make a “Verbal Commitment” to a play for a college, however the commitment to not binding until a player signs the National Letter of Intent. Most sports have signing dates that begin in the late winter/spring of an athlete’s senior year of high school
A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
NCAA Resource Center
There are quite a few NCAA rules that a student-athlete must be aware of when navigating the recruiting process. This link gives access to many FAQs and additional information that may help you along your path.
The first step in determining your eligibility for college financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The form can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
CSS Financial Form
The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (often written as CSS PROFILE), short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an application distributed by the College Board in the United States allowing college students to apply for financial aid. It is primarily designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA.
The CSS Profile asks questions about the financial status of the student and the student’s parents. The information the student gives in the CSS Profile is then sent to colleges or universities that the student specifies.
Along with the FAFSA, the CSS Profile is the most common financial aid application that students in the United States fill out.
NAIA Student Athlete Guide
This guide will help you understand the necessary grades, test scores, and amateur stance to compete in the NAIA. For parents, it helps explain the types of scholarships, financial aid, grants, and loans that may be available to them.
NAIA Timelines of Communication
Similar to NCAA Division 3, college coaches at the NAIA level can respond to you at any time via email, phone call, text, or snail mail, with a few exceptions, which are detailed in this article.
College Application Checklist
You may have trouble keeping track of where you stand with applying to each individual school, and this is a great resource to help you stay organized. We recommend keeping this checklist (or something similar) handy for each school.
ACT Test Dates and Registration
The ACT is a standardized test that helps colleges from around the country determine your scholastic abilities in 4 subjects including English, Reading, Math, and Science. It is recommended that each student-athlete prepare appropriately for this test and it may be a good idea to look into a test prep course.
NCAA Core Courses
NCAA schools require college-bound student-athletes to build a foundation of high school courses to prepare them for the academic expectations in college.
Click the link above for more information on the eligibility requirements for NCAA Core Course Eligibility Requirements for the various athletic divisions.
List of NCAA Core Courses
Some student-athletes need to know if their specific High School classes have satisfied the NCAA Core Course Requirements. Follow the link to determine which or your High School classes fall under each category.