How the NCAA Clearinghouse Works
How the NCAA Clearinghouse Works
As the governing body of most college sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Clearinghouse is the first place students must go to receive athletic scholarships if they are interested in playing Division I, or Division II level sports. Athletes who want to compete at the college level must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to find out if they are eligible to play. The registration form is available online at the NCAA website.
The first thing to consider is whether or not the student is truly and naturally talented, in top physical form, and has athletic abilities that surpass most others they've competed with in high school sports across the country. The second thing students should consider is the background of each school they are interested in attending and its sports programs. Each college and university regulated by the NCAA has established rules on eligibility, recruiting, and financial aid, and falls into one of the three membership divisions (Division I, II, and III). Divisions are based on school size and the scope of their athletic programs and scholarships. Collegiate sports are so intensely competitive that the NCAA advises students to consider these other factors:
- There are nearly one million high school football players and about 550,000 basketball players. Of that number, about 250 make it to the NFL and about 50 make an NBA team.
- Less than 3 percent of college seniors will play one year in professional basketball.
- The odds of a high school football player making it to the pros at all—let alone having a career—are about 6,000 to one. The same odds for a high school basketball player are 10,000 to one.
The best way for students to prepare for a future in college athletics is to take appropriate coursework. Indeed, more students fail to qualify to play NCAA sports because of a lack of appropriate coursework than for low test scores. That's where school counselors can play a major part. Potential student-athletes should not just focus on the athletic details of the institutions they are applying to, but also "find out if they're on track to meet academic eligibility and core-course requirements (of each respective school). See what the graduation rate of the athletics programs is and if the athletes in their sport are at the colleges in which they're interested. Ask what academic support services are available and how academic progress is tracked."
Initial Eligibility of Freshman Athletes for Division I and II
Note: NCAA requirements have recently changed and the class of 2008 will be required to take 16 core curriculum courses, instead of 14 courses.
All students who plan on being intercollegiate student-athletes in Divisions I and II must be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse (www.ncaaclearinghouse.net). To do so, incoming freshman must meet the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 14.3, also called the "freshman eligibility rule," which are different for each division and based on GPA and standardized test scores (SAT/ACT). Minimum scores are set annually, but have generally gravitated around a GPA minimum of 2.0 with a core curriculum of 14 academic subjects (16 for class of 2008), a minimum ACT score totaling between 68 and 86, and a minimum SAT score ranging between 820 and 1010. Eligibility is determined exclusively by the Clearinghouse and not by the college or university the student hopes to attend. After completing the registration form provided by their counselor and paying a one-time fee of $30, students must then send the Clearinghouse all registration materials, including the student release form, processing fee, and official transcript. Upon registration, the Clearinghouse determines each student's eligibility for practice and competition, as well as eligibility to receive athletic scholarships that have been offered by a college coach.
Up-to-date information about the Clearinghouse and its current eligibility requirements can be viewed online or downloaded from the 2006-07 NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.
Counselors can access the NCAA website and give a fee waiver code for students who have qualified for an SAT fee waiver.
Eligibility of Division III Athletes
NCAA Clearinghouse eligibility requirements differ for this division. Students' eligibility for practice and competition for Division III student-athletes are determined by institutional, conference, and other NCAA regulations.
The NCAA recommends that high school students interested in Divisions I, II, or III register with the clearinghouse after completion of their junior year. A complete transcript along with SAT or ACT test scores should be forwarded directly to the clearinghouse as soon as they are available. Counselors are responsible for sending in students' final transcripts at the end of their senior year.
For more information regarding NCAA eligibility requirements, visit the NCAA website.
When registering for the SAT or ACT, input the clearinghouse code of 9999 to make sure the score is reported directly to the clearinghouse.
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