One of the very first steps that we suggest young athletes and their parents complete is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
If you are considering competing in the NCAA at the DI or DII levels, you first need to be certified to do so—this is the role of the NCAA Eligibility Center. Even if you are thinking about playing in DIII or are undecided, it is still highly recommended that you complete a Profile Page with the NCAA Eligibility Center to help keep you on track and to make it easier to create a Certification Account to play DI or DII should you change your mind in the future.
It is advised by the NCAA that student-athletes register with the Eligibility Center by the beginning of their Grade 10 year. Registration typically takes less than an hour and you can use this handy checklist to make sure you have all the information that you need to register before you start.
When you complete the SAT or ACT you will need to submit your scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center, it is best to do this at the time of the exam by listing the NCAA Eligibility Center as a score recipient.
It is also important to note that you must have a Certification Account with the NCAA Eligibility Center BEFORE going on any official visits—any visit to a university campus by a high school student-athlete and their parents where the expenses of the visit are paid for by the university.
Amateurism certification ensures that you have only competed at the amateur club level and have not received money outside of expenses for travel, lodging or equipment to practice or compete in your sport. In your grade 12 year, typically in the late winter or early spring, you will need to request your final amateurism certificate through the NCAA Eligibility Center—this is only required of Certification Accounts.
If you are a Canadian high school student, your guidance counsellor is also required to submit proof of your graduation in the form of your final transcript for you to be certified as eligible to compete in the NCAA.
The NCAA Eligibility Center is a portal that serves many functions to ensure that high school student-athletes have achieved initial eligibility to compete in the NCAA. Do not overlook this vital early step in the success of your recruitment journey.