Only an amateur student-athlete is eligible for intercollegiate athletics participation in a particular sport. Because of this, all freshmen and transfer student-athletes initially enrolling at a Division I institution are required to complete the amateurism certification process with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The amateurism certification ensures that NCAA amateurism regulations are applied uniformly for incoming student-athletes.
The NCAA Eligibility Center may review the following high school athletics activities in determining a college-bound student-athlete's amateurism status:
- Contracts with a professional team.
- Salary for participating in athletics.
- Prize money.
- Play with professionals.
- Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team.
- Benefits from an agent or prospective agent.
- Agreement to be represented by an agent.
- Delayed initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized competition.
In order for the NCAA to gather information regarding these activities, each prospect is asked to answer questions regarding his or her sports participation history when he or she registers with the eligibility center here.
By answering questions, each prospect helps the NCAA capture a picture of the prospect's amateur status and to identify any potential issues that might conflict with NCAA rules. If the agreed-upon facts of the prospect's history indicate a violation occurred, an eligibility penalty will be imposed based on the severity of the violations. Penalties include repayment of money, sitting out a specified number of games or, in rare cases, permanent ineligibility.
Amateur Athletic Clubs
Prospects may participate in amateur sports clubs as long as they do not receive expenses in excess of travel, lodging or equipment for practice or competition. A prospect may accept prize money based on performance in an open competition as long as the prize is awarded by the sponsor of the event and the amount of the prize does not exceed the prospect's expenses to compete in the event.