The following links provide more detailed information about how to become a Division I student-athlete.
To participate in Division I athletics or receive an athletics scholarship during the first year of college, a student-athlete must:
Student-athletes enrolling in college in August 2016 and later must meet all of the above requirements to receive aid in the first year and practice in the first term. In order to compete in the first year, prospects must meet all of the above and:
If a student-athlete earns nine credits in the first term, he or she can continue to practice the remainder of the year. If not, he or she can remain on aid but can’t practice.
All incoming student-athletes must be certified as an amateur student-athlete. With global recruiting becoming more common, determining the amateur status of college-bound student-athletes can be challenging. All college-bound student-athletes, including international students, need to adhere to NCAA amateurism requirements in order to preserve their eligibility for NCAA intercollegiate athletics.
All college-bound student-athletes must have an academic and amateurism certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center.
The online registration process that must be completed by all future Division I and II college-bound student-athletes includes a questionnaire relating to the individual’s amateur status.
For the staff at the NCAA Eligibility Center to certify amateur status, college-bound student-athletes must answer a questionnaire during registration.
The questionnaire covers the following precollegiate enrollment activities:
The Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete contains more detailed information about initial academic and amateurism eligibility.
NCAA policies govern how coaches can recruit college-bound student-athletes. The rules specify when and how coaches can contact prospects, what materials can be sent and when student-athletes can visit campus. The rules differ from sport to sport.
The NCAA Eligibility Center administers the National Letter of Intent program. The National Letter of Intent is a contract between a college or university and a prospect that requires the college-bound student-athlete to attend the college or university for one academic year and the college or university to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year. The National Letter of Intent is a legal document and should be read carefully before being signed.
Individual colleges or universities award athletics grants-in-aid (often described as scholarships) on a one-year, renewable basis. They may be renewed for a maximum of five years within a six-year period of continuous college attendance. Aid can be renewed, canceled or reduced at the end of each year for many reasons. If a student-athlete’s aid will be reduced or canceled, the college or university must provide the student-athlete with an opportunity to appeal.
Financial aid is awarded in various amounts, ranging from full scholarships (including tuition, fees, room, board and books) to small awards that might provide only course-required books. Such partial awards are known as “equivalencies.” Some Division I sports (including Football Bowl Subdivision football and basketball) do not permit equivalencies.
All scholarships from any source in any amount must be reported to the college financial aid office. The total amount of financial aid a student-athlete can receive and the total amount of athletics aid a team can award may be limited. These limits can affect whether a student-athlete can accept aid from other sources.
Athletics financial aid can be a tremendous benefit to most families, but some costs are not covered (for example, travel between home and school). Also, although the benefits of athletically related financial aid are substantial, the likelihood of participating is relatively small. Any young person contemplating college attendance should use high school for legitimate academic preparation.
Division I student-athletes interested in transferring to another four-year college or university and student-athletes at two-year colleges interested in attending a four-year school should be aware of the rules that govern the transfer process.
Individual colleges or universities and conferences also often have their own rules governing transfers.Last Updated: Jul 18, 2013