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Stack magazine- NCAA Clearinghouse

Posted Saturday, April 02, 2011 by Mike O'Donnell

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3/1/2011 | Views: 31
By Zac Clark
See the issue: March 2011

Strong standardized test scores might seem like the golden ticket to college admission. However, student-athletes are more likely to be academically disqualified by incomplete course work than by poor test scores.

If you're a high school freshman, take note. Your performance in the classroom, even as a ninth grader, impacts your eligibility. Upperclassmen must monitor their academic standing to ensure that they complete all of their core course requirements.

What's a core course?

Not all high school classes fulfill core course requirements. You may possess a fine stroke in Intro to Painting or be the rock star of Band class, but such electives are not core courses and don't count toward your requirements.

A core course must be:

  • an academic course in English, mathematics, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy
  • four-year college preparatory (no elective or vocational courses)
  • at or above your high school's standard academic level (remedial and special education courses aren't admissible)
  • completed no later than the graduation date of your class

NCAA Course Requirements

Division I
Complete these 16 core courses:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of math (Algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (one year of lab science if offered)
  • 1 additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy)

You must also earn:

  • a minimum required GPA in your core courses (based on the sliding scale)
  • a combined ACT or SAT score that matches your core course GPA and test score sliding scale (a listing is available online at ncaastudent.org)

Division II

Complete these 14 core courses: (After Aug. 1, 2013, you must complete 16 core courses. The extra courses must be one additional year of English, math or natural/physical science, and one extra year of a core course from any category listed above, or a foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy.)

  • 3 years of English
  • 2 years of math (Algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (one year of lab science if offered)
  • 2 additional years of English, math or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 3 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy)

You must also earn:

  • a minimum 2.0 GPA in your core courses
  • a combined ACT score of 68 or SAT score of 820

D III Requirements

Division III schools don't refer to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Contact the school or university for information regarding policies about admission and athletic eligibility.


Grades 9 and 10

  • Take classes that match your school's list of approved core courses
  • Develop strong classroom and study habits to set the tone for your academic future
  • Seek academic assistance for classes you may be struggling with, or use summer school to catch up if you fall behind

Grade 11

  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center (eligibilitycenter.org) at the beginning of the year
  • Make sure your classes match the list of approved core courses
  • Register for the ACT or SAT; send test results directly from the testing agency to the Eligibility Center (use code 9999 as the score recipient); scores aren't accepted if reported on your high school transcript
  • Ask your guidance counselor to send a copy of your transcript to the Eligibility Center. If you attended more than one high school, request a transcript from each high school
  • Consult with your guidance counselor to determine the number of core courses you need to graduate

Grade 12

  • Take the SAT and/or ACT again, if necessary; the best scores from each section of the tests are used to determine your best cumulative score, so retesting is beneficial
  • Make sure the courses you've taken match your school's list of approved core courses
  • Complete the Eligibility Center's Amateurism Questionnaire; review responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 if enrolling in the fall, or October 1 if enrolling in the spring
  • Take Advanced Placement courses if you excel in the classroom
  • After graduation, ask your high school guidance counselor to send final transcripts, including proof of graduation, to the Eligibility Center
Your Recruiting Support Network

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3/1/2011 | Views: 23
By Zac Clark
See the issue: March 2011

It takes a village to support the recruiting process. Every member of your network plays a crucial role in helping you reach your ultimate collegiate destination. Here's a breakdown about the individuals most likely to help you achieve your goals.


Family always comes first in life, and it's no different during the recruiting process. Make sure that everyone involved has a good understanding of it. Plenty of resources are available to bring your family up to speed.

Once everyone is on the same page, create a game plan for scheduling visits to schools, communicating with a coach and completing necessary reports and applications.

Family knows best, so they'll be your most reliable guide to finding the right college fit, keeping you on track and sorting truths from falsehoods along the way. College coaches are looking for high-character recruits. Actively pursing the process with strong family support is a great way to show that you're a studentathlete with values and integrity.

High School Coaches

Your high school coach can provide a wealth of recruiting information and serve as a mentor. When you're not practicing or playing hard, use coach to your advantage in the following capacities:

  • Not everyone has Division I promise. However, plenty of other opportunities are available. A coach can help assess the caliber of your athleticism and competitive drive and might have good suggestions about where your skills could fit best.
  • Most likely, your coach has a network of college coaches to tap into and gauge any interest various programs might have. At the very least, your coach can send recruiting information to those programs and serve as a reference.
  • Your coach is a key contact for recruiters, because he or she is the best source of information about your work ethic, character and leadership skills.
  • If you're a multi-sport athlete being recruited to play baseball, don't be afraid to ask your football or basketball coach to write a letter or reach out to the college coach or recruiting coordinator who's pursuing you.

Club Coaches

A club coach can be instrumental in maximizing your recruiting potential. Due to his or her deep experience with recruiters, a club coach may have a more expansive network of contacts at the collegiate level.

Furthermore, college coaches' in-person evaluations of high school athletes occur primarily at AAU, club and major showcase tournaments, and they communicate with club coaches during these events.

Academic Adviser/Faculty

Use your academic adviser as a source of information for tracking down scholarship opportunities and other sources of financial aid. Your academic adviser is also the point person for submitting official transcripts and SAT or ACT results.

Your teachers can write letters of recommendation for your college and/or scholarship applications. They can also assist you in declaring a major or helping you discover areas of academic interest to pursue in college.

Remember, your academic advisers and teachers won't be chasing after you to complete these tasks. It's your responsibility to seek their help when and where needed to ultimately get the job done.


Recruiting services can be a helpful addition to your support network. But, before you enroll in a service, find a verified and trusted party that will cater to your needs.

Learn about two STACK-approved recruiting services below. You'll also fi nd a list of questions to ask when evaluating a service.

beRecruited // berecruited.com

An interactive platform for high-school athletes to connect with more than 18,000 college coaches, beRecruited provides students with tools to research and build profiles and supplies coaches with an expansive database of potential recruits. The easy-to-use platform serves athletes and coaches in 31 different sports.

National Collegiate Scouting Association // ncsasports.org

"College Recruiting Simplified" is the NCSA's stated purpose. The association boasts a team of former athletes, collegiate coaches and national recruiters who help student athletes prepare for the different circumstances they face during the recruiting process. Every student-athlete needs an objective, and NCSA will help you formulate one and create a step-by-step game plan to reach it.

Questions to ask recruiting service representatives (and what their answers should tell you):

  • Who evaluates me? Will s/he provide an unbiased scouting report? (An unbiased evaluation is more credible among coaches).
  • Does your service include an athletic evaluation? (Legit recruiting services will evaluate your potential to determine where your skills fit best).
  • Will my recruiting materials be sent to coaches separately from other student athletes' information? (This makes it more likely a coach will review your information).
  • Do you provide a recruiting expert with fi rsthand knowledge about the sport I play? (A trusted service will present coaches and experts who have coaching and/or playing experience in your sport).

Other general questions:

  • How many athletes who have used your service received a scholarship offer?
  • Do any colleges endorse your services?
  • Can you refer me to former studentathletes in my area who have used your services?
  • What is the cost of your service?
Financial Aid Options

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3/1/2011 | Views: 13
By Zac Clark
See the issue: March 2011

Consider this scenario: you receive a scholarship offer late in the recruiting period, only to discover that you can't afford college. Regardless of the sport you play, the caliber of your skills or the division you're planning to compete in, this could happen.

An athletic scholarship doesn't necessarily mean a "full ride." In fact, most Division I student-athletes receive only partial athletic scholarships. Even for those who receive full athletic scholarships, other college-related expenses can be prohibitive.

For non-scholarship athletes, the financial burden of attending college can be overwhelming. It follows that athletes should make securing the best financial package a top priority when determining their best fi t for college.

Below is a breakdown of financial aid options to help you maximize your financial aid award potential.

Reporting Financial Data

Financial aid strategy starts with determining your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the estimated amount your family can reasonably contribute toward the cost of college.

EFC is based on the following factors:

  • Family size (parents plus children)
  • Income (before taxes)
  • Net assets (savings or other investments)

EFC calculators are available online to help (e.g., visit fafsa4caster.ed.gov). The financial information you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form ultimately determines your EFC. The formula for aid uses EFC as follows: cost of attending college minus EFC equals amount of eligible need-based aid.

Types of Financial Aid

Need-based Pell Grants

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to low-income undergraduates on the basis of need. The maximum amount available per student for the 2010-11 school year is $5,550. The actual amount a student receives varies in relation to his or her financial situation and the amount of support the DOE thinks the parents can provide.

Campus-based programs

Perkins Loans

Federally-backed low-interest loans available to undergrads who demonstrate financial need. Many schools distribute Perkins funds on a first come, first served basis, and they may lack sufficient funding for all eligible students. So make it a priority to apply early.

Work-Study Programs

Work-Study provides employment (typically part-time) for student-athletes during the academic year, with compensation rates no lower than the federal minimum wage.


What they are: Financial aid awards based on criteria established by the scholarships' administrators. Common criteria include financial need, academic excellence, civic service and athletic ability. Most Division I and II schools and some NAIA and NJCAA institutions offer athletic scholarships. Division III institutions do not award athletic scholarships.

Most sports (football and basketball are exceptions) are equivalency sports, meaning a school's program has a set number of scholarships to allocate. Equivalency-sport athletes typically receive only partial scholarships.

Keep in mind that plenty of scholarship opportunities exist beyond academics and athletics. For instance, many church organizations and religious groups, employers (yours or your parents'), and social groups offer scholarships on an annual basis.

Seeking an Opportunity to Compete at the D-1 Level?

The best offense is a good defense, and you won't find a better one—make that three—than the service academies of the United States Department of Defense: the United States Military, Naval and Air Force Academies.

These four-year co-educational undergraduate academies are excellent options for students interested in serving their country and receiving a quality education at no cost. All three academies field varsity athletic programs that compete at the Division I level.

The admissions process is rigorous—all require a nomination from a member of Congress—and the daily workload is demanding, especially for student-athletes.

For those attending a traditional college or university, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs offer prospective student-athletes another financial aid option to fund college or to repay loans.

ROTC programs are available through the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Through an elective curriculum taken in conjunction with required college courses, ROTC cadets learn military and strategic planning skills, professional ethics and leadership development. In return, ROTC programs offer merit-based scholarships applicable toward tuition and other college-related expenses. Most scholarships cover the cost of full tuition in exchange for a commitment to active military service after graduation.

One near-guarantee for service academy and ROTC graduates alike: excellent job opportunities within the Department of Defense upon fulfilling the mandated service obligation. For example, Army Officers may pursue 24 career fields within 17 different branches, including engineering, law, medicine and aviation. Officers are also free to pursue civilian careers.

Related Links:

Antonio Gates: A Recruiting Story Like No Other


Recruiting Support Network


Researching Colleges

Effective Networking With a College Coach

Campus Visits

Gauging Interest

Standardized Tests

NCAA Rules & Regs

Recruiting Checklist


Make the Most of Your Campus Visit

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3/1/2011 | Views: 14
By Zac Clark
See the issue: March 2011

Campus visits provide the best opportunity to gather information about a school and evaluate its athletic and academic programs. Whether official and unofficial, a visit can also be a recruiting game-changer, according to Tom Kovic, founder and president of Victory Recruiting Consulting. Here's how to make the most of your next visit.

Unofficial Visit Official Visit
Think of an unofficial visit as a preliminary interview. The NCAA doesn't restrict when you can take an unofficial visit. Depending on geographical location, aim for five to eight campus visits, and balance the trips among Division I, II and III schools. The NCAA permits five official visits, starting the first day of your senior year of high school. These visits are funded in full or in part by the college and are permission-based, meaning you must be invited by the program and registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Each visit is limited to 48 hours.
Start taking unofficial visits after your sophomore year. Summer may be best time to meet with a coach, because it's typically downtime. Don't just show up for a visit; communicate with the coach at least one month in advance, and notify him/her of your scheduled activities while on campus. Help the coach with scheduling official visits. As long as you're respectful, don't be shy about suggesting that an official visit could be helpful in making your college decision. Realize though that the coach could potentially decline your request.
What to expect
Take a campus tour and attend the school's information session to learn about admission requirements, academic standards and campus life. Based on earlier communication, try to schedule a meeting with coach. If all goes well, you may have 30 to 45 minutes with coach, so be prepared with questions and answers. You will most likely be paired with a student host, who will show you around and entertain you during your visit. Expect to attend a varsity football or basketball game. A coach who wants to recruit you will pull out all the stops to promote his/her program and persuade you to commit. Official visits are prime time for scholarship offers.
Send a handwritten note thanking the coach for the opportunity to visit. State your intent to update him/her about your academic and athletic progress throughout the year. You can also extend an invitation to tournaments and showcases for further evaluation. Send a handwritten note thanking coach for welcoming you on campus. If you did not receive a scholarship offer, continue to explore other options. Don't be afraid to ask coach where you stand on the recruiting board.
If you have time
Visit a school more than once. Use the first trip for information gathering. During a follow-up visit, sit in on a class, meet with current players and try to get a feel for the daily life of a student-athlete. Use all of your official visits, even if you are close to choosing a particular school.

Overnight Checklist

Be fully prepared for any and all situations you might encounter during your next recruiting visit.


  • 2 pairs of clean socks
  • 2 pairs of boxers/briefs
  • 3 shirts: long sleeve, polo or plain t-shirt (layering underneath), button-down (for more formal events) and V-neck or cardigan (to wear over button-down shirt)
  • Tie (possibly needed based on trip itinerary)
  • Jacket (non-varsity presents a more mature look)
  • Jeans (avoid ripped or patched styles)
  • Khakis
  • Belt
  • Sneakers (a comfortable pair for walking around campus)
  • Loafers
  • Winter hat (for outdoor wear only; no coach likes a hat during meetings)
  • Sleep Gear
  • Sweatshirt
  • Shorts/sweats
  • T-shirt
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
Recruiting Checklist

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3/1/2011 | Views: 18

See the issue: March 2011

Literally hundreds of tasks are necessary to achieve your goal of playing at the college of your dreams—ranging from tearing it up on the fi eld to making sure your No. 2 pencil is sharpened at SAT time. And each task, no matter how signifi cant or how small, presents a risk and an opportunity. Use the following checklist to avoid the pitfalls and make yourself the best recruit possible.

Prior to junior year

Set seasonal, yearly and overall high school athletic and academic goals

• Write them down
• Be realistic
• Keep them where you’ll see them regularly
• Assess your progress at the end of each season/school quarter

Maintain good academic standing

• Don’t cut class
• Strive for good grades
• Take advantage of study halls and tutors
• Don’t cheat
• Show respect to teachers and fellow students
• Avoid detentions and suspensions

Identify athletic weaknesses; research safe and effective methods, or professionals, to help you eliminate them

Develop good relationships with teachers who will eventually write your college letters of recommendation

Get involved in extracurricular and volunteer activities

Be aware of your off-fi eld lifestyle and the image it portrays

• Choose friends wisely; avoid troublesome crowds
• Keep online profi les clean
• Avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco
• Don’t fight
• Don’t break the law
• Adhere to a reasonable curfew

Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss NCAA curriculum and grade requirements

Consider playing multiple sports to develop and display well-rounded athleticism

Maintain poise and sportsmanship at all times. College coaches watch you during competition, even when you are not playing. Always:

• Cheer on teammates
• Respond to referees and/or bad calls in a professional manner
• Interact positively with coaches on the sideline
• Keep your head up. Don’t pout regardless of score or situation
• Avoid fighting
• Celebrate with class

Have all athletic competitions videotaped for future use

Create a filing system to organize athletic awards, newspaper clippings and outstanding achievements

Research the best non-schoolsponsored athletic leagues in your area—club teams, AAU, summer leagues, etc.

Participate in non-schoolsponsored athletic competition

Create a resume that includes academic and athletic achievements

Send initial contact letters to college coaches at schools you are interested in attending

• Find name, address and other information about coach on school’s website
• Express your interest in playing for the program
• Include athletic and academic resume
• Attach a schedule of your games for the upcoming seasons

Create a filing system for materials and info you receive from colleges and coaches

Complete and return all questionnaires

Inform college coaches about camps and clinics you’ll be attending

Attend camps and clinics at schools you are interested in attending

Begin pulling clips and creating a highlight tape

Attend a college competition in your sport

• Contact parents of athletes on the college team’s roster to fi nd out if they’re happy with their son’s or daughter’s experiences with the team
• Observe the way the coach interacts with his team
• Gauge the level of play compared to your ability

Assess your athletic ability

• Talk to your coaches
• Measure yourself against other players at your position in your state/district/conference
• Compare your accomplishments to the high school accomplishments of players on rosters of colleges that you think you could play for

Begin thinking about the academic area of study you might want to major in, and research which schools excel in that area

Solicit information about colleges by talking to:

• Friends
• Guidance counselors
• College’s alumni

Talk with parents or guardians about:

• Cost and what you can afford
• Location
• Academic opportunities and programs
• Their academic and athletic expectations for you in college

Create a target list of colleges in each of the following categories:

• Likely admission
• Safety net
• Reach

Send follow-up letters to coaches who haven’t responded to your initial contact

Assess benefits of using a recruiting service

Familiarize yourself with the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Athlete

Open a dialogue with your high school coaches about the college coaches who have contacted them about you and the colleges that most interest you

Junior year

Register, prep for and take standardized tests

Register with NCAA Eligibility Center (must be done by end of junior year)

Schedule and take unofficial visits

• Find time to meet with coaches around their busy schedules
• Bring pen and notepad, and have a few questions ready about the program, the coach’s level of interest and his or her plans to remain at the school during your four years
• Provide coaches with your highlight tape and stat sheet
• Talk to players on the team
• Check out the facilities
• Go to a class in your area of interest
• Keep a journal to list pros and cons of each school and coaching staff after visits

Continue to update college coaches about your athletic successes

Update highlight tape with recent clips

Talk to athletes from your school who now play at the collegiate level. Ask about:

• The level of competition
• How college life and sports differ from their high school experiences
• Any additional advice they have to offer

Update wardrobe with clothes appropriate for meetings with college coaches

Send thank you note after any meeting with a coach

Have high school coach call college coaches to recommend you as an athlete

Prepare a list of questions for coaches when they call (they can call after May 1 of your junior year for football and after July 1 for most other sports). Cover these topics:

• Their level of interest
• Chance of an official visit
• Possibility of a scholarship
• Who they have at your position (height, weight, stats)
• Your upcoming game schedule and the possibility of their attendance

Senior year

Be prepared for an in-school visit from a college coach at any time

• Have questions ready in your locker
• Dress appropriately at all times

Retake standardized tests if necessary

Avoid senioritis—continue to take challenging courses and strive for good grades

Narrow down schools you’re interested in and eliminate those in which you defi nitely have no interest

Plan and take official visits. Remember, only five are allowed

• Bring pen and notepad. Have questions ready for meetings with coaches (see Communicating with a Coach, page 29)
• Talk to as many players as possible, not just the happy ones
• Go to a class in your field of interest
• Stay on campus
• Always conduct yourself properly
• Keep a journal to list pros and cons of each school and coaching staff after visits

Set time standards as to when you want to take phone calls from coaches

Assess financial needs by talking with parents and various schools’ financial aid offices

Apply for financial aid

Research and apply for alterative sources of funds

Once you begin receiving financial aid offers from colleges, share them with other coaches to improve your final offer

Create timetable for all application deadlines

Ask teachers for recommendations

Calculate your GPA and find out your class rank

Request official transcript from guidance counselor

Ask college coaches to waive application fees

Decide whether to apply early action or early decision

Write application essays early so you have time to edit and perfect them

Complete the rest of applications and mail before deadlines

Narrow college choices to your top three opportunities

Make final decision

Notify all college coaches you’ve been speaking with of your final decision

Contact your new college coach to receive strength and conditioning manual

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