In order to play any NCAA DI sport, a prospective student-athlete must go through an academic certification process administered by the NCAA through what is called ‘The NCAA Eligibility Process. If you want to play DI hockey, there is no way around this – it is something all prospective DI athletes coming out of high school must do.
Prospective Student-Athletes who wish to play at the DIII level, do not have an academic eligibility process.
Making sure DI athletes graduate from college is paramount to the NCAA’s mission. One way to ensure this happens, is for the NCAA to know players who intend on playing at the highest level of college athletics, have the academic background in high school to make it through college while meeting the demands of playing a DI sport.
What does the NCAA Eligibility Process evaluate and certify?
The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies a high school students’ academic record before being able to practice and compete in their chosen sport. High school students are required to complete 16 ‘core’ classes in certain academic subject areas. Students must also have at least a 2.3 core course GPA and have an acceptable corresponding SAT or ACT score.
NCAA Division I eligibility requires students complete 4 years of English, 3 years of Math – Algebra I or higher, 2 years of natural or physical science (incld. 1 yr of lab if offered), 2 years of social science, an additional 1 year of English, Math, or Physical/Natural science, and 4 additional years of anything mentioned above or Foreign Language, Religion, or Philosophy. Also, 10 core courses, including 7 in English, Math, or Physical/Natural science must be completed before the 7th semester of high school.
A final step of the Division I eligibility process is what’s called the ‘Amateurism Questionnaire’. This process requires students to answer questions about their High School or Club sport playing experience — all in an effort to make sure the athlete has not rendered themselves ‘a professional’ in any capacity. You don’t see this much in the world of women’s ice hockey. However, taking money for play, being paid more than actual and necessary expenses, or signing a contract with an agent will render you ineligible and these are questions asked in the amateurism questionnaire section.
What are they steps to NCAA Eligibility?
- Step 1, as soon as possible make sure you are on track to meet the NCAA’s academic eligibility criteria.
- Step 2, register and pay the $75.00 fee to create your online account with the NCAA Eligibility Center. You can do that by clicking HERE.
- Step 3, register and study to take the SAT or ACT exam. The NCAA accepts both.
- Step 4, continue to take the required courses to meet your NCAA eligibility, get the best grades you can, and follow any NCAA eligibility instructions.
- Step 5, graduate from high school, submit your final transcripts, test scores, and proof of graduation once available.
- Step 6, fill out the amateurism questionnaire and request your final eligibility certification.
Where can I find more information?
You can find more info about the NCAA’s Eligibility Center PDF HERE.
How long does certification take?
Creating an online account with the NCAA Eligibility Center doesn’t take long, 10-15 mins is all. You do need a credit card at the time of registration. Beyond that, once final transcripts, test scores, and proof of graduation are submitted, it usually takes a few weeks before you receive word of being certified by the NCAA.
What if I don’t meet the criteria?
If the NCAA criteria isn’t met, then a player may not be able to practice or compete in her sport. This is called having ‘non-qualifier’ status. You could lose a year or more of playing eligibility and or lose athletic scholarship opportunities.