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Overview of the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Process

High school tennis players interested in competing in college probably know that they need to take care of their academics and athletics. But they should also need to understand the overall recruiting process. For players and parents interested in NCAA Division I or II tennis, below is a quick overview of the NCAA initial-eligibility process.


What Is The NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse) is a branch of the NCAA that determines a student's initial eligibility for athletics participation in his or her first year of college enrollment. Students who want to participate in college sports during their first year of enrollment in college must register with the Eligibility Center. Located in Indianapolis, Indians, the Eligibility Center staff follows NCAA legislation in analyzing and processing a student's high school academic records, ACT or SAT scores, and key information about amateurism participation, to determine the student's initial eligibility.


What Is The Cost?

There is only one fee to register with the Eligibility Center, which covers both the academic and amateurism certification: $60 for domestic prospects and $85 for international students.


When Should A Prospective Student-Athlete Register?

Register with the Eligibility Center at the end of the junior year in high school and be sure to update the athletics participation section regularly. There is no deadline; however, prospective student-athletes must be registered before they may receive an official visit at a Division I or II institution and sign a National Letter of Intent.


How Does A Prospective Student-Athlete Register?

To register with the Eligibility Center, simply go to www.eligibilitycenter.org. Click on prospective student-athlete, and then click on either Domestic or International Student Release Form. Complete ALL of the questions and submit your answers.


Eligibility Center Quick Facts


What Does A Prospective Student-Athlete Need to Do Before He/She Can Make an Official Visit?

  • Register with the Eligibility Center by completing the online Student Release Form.
  • Pay the registration fee.
  • Make sure the prospective student-athlete has taken the ACT, SAT or PSAT test.
  • Make sure all test scores and high school transcripts are sent directly to the Eligibility Center and the college the prospect is interested in visiting immediately after the student's junior year of high school.

Core Courses

16 core courses will be required for NCAA Division I prospective student-athletes to be certified.

16 Core Courses:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school)
  • 1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or nondoctrinal religion/philosophy)

Test Scores

All SAT and ACT scores must be reported directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center by the testing agency. Test scores that appear on transcripts will no longer be used. When registering for the SAT or ACT, use the Eligibility Center code of 9999 to make sure the score is reported to the Eligibility Center.


Paul Parker has been Director of Compliance for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association since January 2006.


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