What is the NCAA?
One of the requirements of the NCAA is going through the clearinghouse. The clearinghouse simply works out whether you are eligible academically.
Each college in the United States will have its own academic requirements just like any international school. What you will also find is that there is different athletic eligibility requirements based on your GPA, combined with your ACT and SAT scores for all divisions, and on occasion there can be extra requirements for internationals.
The aim of this chapter is to give you a clearer understanding of the requirements for different divisions and schools.
What is the Clearinghouse?
The clearinghouse is an agency that grants you the access to become an eligible student athlete for NCAA Division I and II schools. The clearinghouse looks at a number of areas to figure out if you are eligible. They look at your grades, completed core courses, ACT and/or SAT scores. If the clearinghouse passes your application the college that you are applying to will be notified and you can proceed with the schools application processes. If you are not deemed eligible for division I or II then your best bet is to look for division III, NAIA or NJCAA programs that suit you.
It is important to make the Clearinghouse one of the top priorities on your list. Having your application processed as early as possible makes other aspects of becoming a student athlete easier further down the road. The clearinghouse is not a recruitment service like Athletes USA; they simply have the ability to make you eligible.
There are three types of certificates
– Certificate of eligibility for expenses-paid campus visits (This means if you’re planning a campus visit and you want the school to cover the fees you will need to make an application to the clearinghouse. If you don’t a school will not pay for your visit.)
- Preliminary certificate of eligibility to participate in college sports
(This means that you are most likely to pass the clearinghouse but you have not fully graduated
high school yet)
– Final certificate (This is granted when you prove you have passed high school)
Go to www.ncaaclearinghouse.net and apply today. You can look at the eligibility requirements for Division I and II then register.
It is currently an NCAA requirement to have completed 16 core courses for division I, division II however only requires 14 core courses until they change to 16 in 2013.
The SAT exam has also changed from a multiple choice English and Math to including an extra written component. The written component now means you have to write an essay. The maximum possible grade is 2400; each section is worth 200- 800 points.
Even though the SAT examine requires the written section of the exam it is still not required by the NCAA. The NCAA only requires the math and critical reading sections of the exam.
The ACT is an additional writing section; the scores on the ACT have stayed the same. This is not required and is more commonly taken by American students. For international students the SAT is normally the only necessary exam you must take.
Registering with the Clearinghouse
When registering with the clearinghouse you will need to go to the website and select prospective student athlete. Then choose international student registration or U.S student registration. You will also complete a Student release form (SRF) which is part of the online registration process.
Make sure you print out a copy of your payment for the clearinghouse website which will cost $30 for the registration fee. You will then receive two copies of the registration form (copy 1 and copy 2) give both of these forms to your high school representative; they should send copy 1 to the clearinghouse with your high school transcripts. Once you have graduated from high school you should send copy 2 along with your high school graduation papers.
The SRF (copy 1 and 2) allows high schools you attended to send the clearinghouse your transcripts, test scores, proof of graduation and any necessary academic information. The SRF will allow the clearinghouse to send your records to colleges that request it.
As an international student you will most likely have your academic records processed yourself not by your school. You will need to make copies of your transcripts and have your high school headmaster or representative sign each copy or stamp them with the schools seal of approval. You will now be ready to send them through to the clearinghouse. You can register for the clearinghouse by mail but it becomes a more complicated and slower process. Simply register online, print the SRF (Student Release Form) and mail the transcripts in the post after following the information above.
Remember when your high school sends your transcripts make sure they send the proper code for their high school. To find your high schools codes go to code lookup at the NCAA Clearinghouse website. Attending more than one high school will mean you must enter two codes in correct order. If you attended more than two high schools you must complete section III of the SRF.
International students that apply online may be confused when the SRF asks for your social security number (SSN). As many international countries don’t have social security numbers simply use your passport number. If you don’t already have one you should get one as soon as possible since you will need it when applying for your traveling visa and for entering the United States.
Make sure you print out any documents you complete or send to the clearinghouse for you own records. If you don’t take the clearinghouse seriously you may damage your chances of successfully getting in to college.
The clearinghouse will contact you via email. In section 1 of your SRF you will need to add a valid email address. If you cannot afford the registration fee you may be able to have it waive the fee. If you have already received a waiver for the SAT and ACT exam it is likely you won’t have to pay the clearinghouse. In order to avoid the registration fee you will need to have your high school complete the fee waiver section, your high school must then include the high school seal (logo) when posting the document. You will not be able to complete the SRF until official verification arrives. If you do not complete the SRF colleges that request information will not be able to obtain it. They will be told that you aren’t eligible yet. This is important and must be done so make it a priority.
What you need for NCAA Division I eligibility
In order to receive an athletic scholarship you need to be known as a qualifier. A qualifying athlete will provide you with the best opportunities to compete and receive athletic scholarship funding. As a Division I qualify you will be able to compete, practice, be eligible for four years of competition and have the ability to receive athletic scholarship funding for your freshman year.
The NCAA has core requirements which are core courses that are taken at academic high school. In order to be eligible for a Division I from 2008 you will need to take 16 core courses. You will need to graduate from high school and successfully complete the 16 core courses as listed below with a minimum grade point average of 2.0.
4 years of English
3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher)
2 years of natural/physical science (one must be a lab science)
1 year of additional English, math or science
2 years of social studies
4 years of additional core courses (from any area listed above, or from foreign language, non doctrinal religion or philosophy)
Information technology courses or computer science courses are not used for the initial-eligibility process. If your computer course includes programming that are taught through mathematics or natural science (Physical science) and that department is on your high schools approval list of core courses then you may receive additional credit.
You must also meet the ACT and SAT requirements for your grade point average (GPA). If you have a lower GPA then you are required to score higher in the ACT and SAT but if you have a higher GPA then you can get away with scoring less in the ACT and SAT. If you don’t meet the standard GPA requirements you will become a non-qualifier meaning you won’t be eligible for regular season competition or practice during your first year in college. You cannot receive an athletic scholarship until you become eligible and you will only compete for three years of competition instead of four.
NCAA Division II and III
Division II student athletes must also graduate from High school with the successful completion of 14 core courses and also the requirements of meeting the ACT and SAT examination requirements for their GPA.
The good news is that Division II is a little more lenient in the academic requirements than Division I institutions. Division II sliding scale requirements for student athletes is a minimum of 2.0 to 4.0 with a sum of 820 for the SAT and 18 on the ACT. Successful completion of high school and completion of 14 core courses plus SAT and ACT scores that relate to your GPA would mean you’re a Division II partial qualifier. This allows you to practice with the team and receive athletic scholarship money for your freshman year. .
If you do not graduate high school you will not be eligible for Division II making you a non-qualifier. You will not participate in competitions or practice during your first year (Freshman Year). You may not receive an athlete scholarship for your freshman year but can receive financial aid based on needs; the same applies for Division I. As a non-qualifier for Division II you are eligible for four seasons of competition after your freshman year.
NCAA Division III
Division III schools do not offer athletic sports scholarships. Division III requirements are set by institutions, conferences and NCAA regulations. You do not have partial or non-partial qualifiers in Division III. You only need to meet the requirements of the conference and the institution you wish to compete for, so be sure to check each schools requirements.
NAIA schools require two or three entry-level requirements. A student athlete must meet a grade point average of 2.0 to 4.0, graduate in the top half of your high school graduating class and score a minimum of 860 on the SAT or 18 on the ACT.
This is all you need for NAIA schools; you do not need to match your GPA to your SAT/ACT scores like you do for Division I and II.
NJCAA requirements are that you graduate from high school, pass a national test such as the General Education Development (GED) test or graduate from high school receiving 12 credits with a 1.75 GPA or higher. If you fail to graduate from high school but have sufficient credit points then you can claim for athletic participation eligibility and complete one term of college work by passing 12 credit points with a 1.75 GPA or higher. If you fail to graduate from high school but you have established eligibility by claiming student athlete participation then you will be eligible to compete the following semester. You do not need a SAT or ACT score for the NJCAA. There is also no need to register with the clearinghouse.
International Students Athletes
As a student athlete you will be required to complete the same academic standards as a domestic student athlete. There are different rules for nearly every country and the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse uses Leaving Certificates to determine if you have eligibility status or not. This is required for some countries but not for others so be sure to check the status of your home country.
Clearinghouse for International Students
If your plan on competing in the NCAA Division I or II your will need to enroll in the clearinghouse. This is not necessary for NJCAA. Here is what you need to do to get registered.
Make sure you send all official records from secondary school or middle school as well as university records, colleges or professional courses. The academic records should show all the subjects you studied and the grades you received for those subjects.
Be sure to get copies of your official academic records if you cannot replace official ones. Make copies of your original documents and have a high school representative stamp or sign the documents. The clearinghouse will not send any documents back to you so be sure to send copies if you cannot get originals replaced.
If your records are in a foreign language other than English you must send a translated copy. The translated copy should be a literal translation not an interpretive one. Any academic documents that appear to be altered will be forwarded to the governing school bodies or authorities for verification.