Eligibility

Fairness. Academics. Equitable Competition.

Commitment to academic achievement and adherence to member-created rules are vital parts of the NCAA’s mission to integrate athletics into the fabric of higher education.

NCAA member schools create rules to ensure that the Association’s 430,000 student-athletes compete on equal footing. Various NCAA committees and the national office staff members work to make sure rules are applied fairly.

Staff members and membership representatives serving on committees are dedicated to providing timely eligibility decisions, as well as interpretations of and waivers from NCAA rules when circumstances dictate.

Becoming Eligible

The NCAA membership creates rules in three separate divisions that determine an individual’s eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Prospective student-athletes must meet minimum academic standards and amateurism criteria in to play college sports. The NCAA Eligibility Center administers the process for prospects seeking initial eligibility. NCAA membership committees composed of faculty members, administrators and other higher education professionals create and apply eligibility standards.

Remaining Eligible

Once prospective student-athletes are cleared to compete, they must continue to meet academic and amateurism benchmarks to stay eligible. These often are referred to as “continuing-eligibility” or “progress-toward-degree” rules. The purpose of these rules is for all student-athletes to continually be on track to earn their diplomas. As such, the NCAA membership offers rules and guidelines for student-athletes to make progress toward their degrees and retain their amateur status throughout their intercollegiate experience. Because every student-athlete’s experience is different, the NCAA – as is the case with initial eligibility – offers processes that provide flexibility based on individual circumstances.