Intercollegiate athletics should be a fun and rewarding experience for all students. Participation also has the advantage of potentially providing admission and scholarship opportunities to an array of colleges and universities. Planning for potential participation in intercollegiate athletics should begin as early as freshman year as there are specific requirements to be upheld to play at any level of college athletics.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility and Recruitment
Students should visit the NCAA Eligibility Center
during their junior year
to begin the initial eligibility screening process. The screening process determines if the student meets amateur status and academic qualifications to compete in intercollegiate athletics.
The NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
provides a complete overview of the NCAA recruitment process and regulations. The recruiting regulations govern the behavior of coaches and university officials throughout the recruiting process. Through the NCAA guide, you’ll learn the following:
- What a dead period, contact period, official contact, unofficial contact and other recruiting terms mean
- Recruiting rules by sport
- Division I qualifiers and non-qualifiers
- Academic qualifications at the D I, D II and D III levels
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
Students interested in participating at an NAIA institution must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center at playnaia.org
. Students who register with the NAIA will create a personal profile
to include their academic history and sports participation to date. This information, along with their transcripts and SAT or ACT scores will determine the student’s initial eligibility.
Division III Athletics
Division III athletics do not use the NCAA Eligibility Center. Students should contact the colleges and universities at this level directly regarding their specific policies for admission, financial aid, practice and competition.
There are many rules and regulations governing the recruitment of student-athletes. A student cannot be approached by a college or university representative associated with an athletic department until July 1 after completion of their junior year. The military academies are exempt from this rule because of their unique college recruiting processes. Student or parents, on the other hand, may contact coaches and colleges at any time.
The student who is truly interested in playing intercollegiate sports should take the initiative and not wait for college coaches to notice or contact them. If a school interests you, take a moment to send the coach an email expressing your interest in the team and the school. Share any relevant information such as stats, awards and achievements. Provide the school with upcoming sports schedule in case they have an opportunity to watch you play. And send a video of your playing that includes your jersey color and number. The video does not have to be a highlight reel, rather a copy of one or two of your best games should be sufficient. Send a follow-up email on any submission to the coach a couple weeks later.
Occasionally, Eastside Catholic coaches or the college counselors will receive a request from college coaches to review a student’s academic records (transcripts, current courses, SAT/ACT scores). The school cannot release those records without the student’s consent, or from a parent in the case of a student under age 18. Students can provide that consent by completing a Transcript Release Form
and returning it to the College Counseling office in Student Services. Prospective college athletes are encouraged to complete the Transcript Release form as early in their high school career as possible to avoid any delays in providing the requested information to the college coaches.
Students should be realistic in their college expectations. Not everyone is prepared to play college athletics and student-athletes should talk to their current coaches to learn what teams might be a good fit for them depending on their skill level. Some students would rather play for a team that is rebuilding or play for a D II or D III school where they might receive more playing time rather than riding the bench as a third or fourth string player.