National Collegiate Athletic Association – NCAA
Information and Procedures
The purpose of the NCAA is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.
If you are planning to enroll in a Division I or a Division II college and wish to participate in sports there, you must be certified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. To learn more about the NCAA eligibility process, please review:
What’s the Difference Between Division I, II and III?
Division I member institutions have to sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents – anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Men’s and women’s basketball teams have to play all but two games against Division I teams; for men, they must play one-third of all their contests in the home arena. Schools that have football are classified as Division I-A or I-AA. I-A football schools are usually fairly elaborate programs. Division I-A teams have to meet minimum attendance requirements (average 15,000 people in actual or paid attendance per home game), which must be met once in a rolling two-year period. Division I-AA teams do not need to meet minimum attendance requirements. Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletics program, and there are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed.
Division II institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, (or four for men and six for women), with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria — football and men’s and women’s basketball teams must play at least 50% of their games against Div. II or I-A or I-AA opponents. For sports other than football and basketball there are no scheduling requirements. There are not attendance requirements for football, or arena game requirements for basketball. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Div. II school must not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many Division II student-athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants, student loans and employment earnings. Division II athletics programs are financed in the institution’s budget like other academic departments on campus. Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate schedules of many Division II athletics programs.
Division III institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are minimum contest and participant minimums for each sport. Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete’s experience is of paramount concern. Division III athletics encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.
Supply ACT or SAT Scores Directly to the NCAA Clearinghouse
The NCAA has legislation in place that requires prospects who intend to enroll at NCAA Division I and Division II institutions to supply ACT or SAT scores to the Clearinghouse directly from the testing agencies. Test scores on an official high school transcript are no longer accepted for NCAA purposes. Please have your ACT/SAT scores sent directly from the testing agency to the NCAA Clearinghouse. To do this, complete the ACT/SAT registration form, and include the Clearinghouse code: 9999 or contact the testing agency directly.