NCAA Eligibility Center and NIL deals Explained

What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center is responsible for determining eligibility for prospective Division I and II student-athletes. Previously, the NCAA Eligibility Center was known as the NCAA ClearingHouse. Now, the NCAA Eligibility Center and the NCAA ClearingHouse are part of the same process. 

The most important thing to understand as a prospective student-athlete is that the NCAA Eligibility Center is only there to determine eligibility and not to advise athletes on how to maintain their eligibility. 

NCAA Eligibility Requirements 

The NCAA determines a student-athlete’s eligibility based on academics and amateurism. The amateur requirements are not as strict as they used to be because student-athletes can now get compensated through name, image and likeness deals (NIL). Here’s a breakdown of the current academic and amateur requirements.

Academics: Complete 16 core courses, have a minimum GPA of 2.3 (for DI) or 2.2 (for DII) in those core courses and meet the minimums of the sliding scale. The sliding scale is a combination of your GPA and test scores from either the SAT or ACT. 

Amateurism: The NCAA values amateurism and in order to be eligible student-athletes must complete an amateurism certification in their Eligibility Center account. 

How do I register for the NCAA Eligibility Center?

Registration should only take 15 minutes and you will need an active email address that you plan on keeping to register. To register for the NCAA Eligibility Center, visit their website: NCAA Eligibility Center. Remember to stay on track with the recruiting checklist and register for the Eligibility Center your sophomore year of high school.

How long does the NCAA Eligibility Center take?

Student-athletes are not officially done with the Eligibility Center until they are done with high school and officially declared eligible at their Division I or II school. There are three phases to the eligibility process that student-athletes need to make sure you are on track:

  1. Creating a certification account- this should happen your freshman or sophomore year. The recruiting checklist will help you keep track of your overall recruiting process.
  2. Up to date transcripts after your junior year- The NCAA requires prospective Division I athletes to complete 10 core courses before the start of your final semester of high school. 7 of these courses need to be in English, math and natural or physical science. At this point, your GPA is locked in and you can’t retake any of these courses to improve your GPA. 
  3. Sending in final transcripts- Once you graduate from high school, you will send in your final transcripts.
What about NIL?

As of July 2021, student-athletes in NCAA Division I, II, or III can now be compensated for their name, likeness and image, regardless of whether their state has an NIL policy yet or not. 

NIL means athletes can profit from their name, likeness and image. Here are just a few examples of ways student-athletes can profit from this:

  • Their autograph
  • Developing/modeling athletic apparel 
  • Promoting products and services
  • Making personal appearances

The NCAA NIL rules do not override state, college/university or conference specific rules. This means student-athletes need to be aware of their state/college/conference rules before signing NIL deals. Student-athletes need to review the rules and check with their athletic department for any school specific rules. College student-athletes competing in states without NIL laws will have the freedom to receive compensation however they see fit. Student-athletes need to also make sure that their NIL deal doesn’t violate play-for-pay and they aren’t receiving financial initiatives to sign or remain with a program. 

NIL and High School Athletes

While NCAA rules state that high school athletes can start monetizing NIL, student-athletes need to be aware that doing so could jeopardize their eligibility within their school and sport.

High school student-athletes should check out the following sources to understand their NIL opportunities:

What states have NIL laws?

Here is a comprehensive list of the states that have NIL laws. Remember these are subject to change and you still need to consult your school before signing NIL deals. 

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