College Athletic Recruiting Misconceptions: The Clearinghouse and Scholarships

Many misconceptions about college sports recruiting, scholarships, and the Clearinghouse exist. We want to put these to rest. What is the NCAA Clearinghouse? In order for your student-athlete to play Division I and Division II college athletics, each student-athlete needs to be certified through the NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse. Division III athletes are not asked to submit their information to the Clearinghouse.

What are Division I, II, III subgroups for college athletics? Each Division is based on respective school size, legitimacy of the athletic teams, and scholarships available. Division I institutions are the biggest schools; they have the most amount of athletic scholarship money. Their athletic programs are the best. Division II are smaller schools but they still offer athletic scholarships. Division II athletic programs are usually a step below Division I. Division III schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships, but can give student-athletes academic scholarship money. These are the biggest three subgroups in NCAA athletics.

Is it imperative to register your prospective student-athlete to the NCAA Clearinghouse upon becoming a high school junior? It isn’t necessary for your student-athlete to sign up for the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse has a fee of $65 dollars for each application given to the NCAA Eligibility Center. The only student-athletes who need to register are the athletes that are looking to play Division I and II athletics. Division III athletes do not need to submit their information to the Clearinghouse. In submitting their information as juniors, student-athletes become eligible to play Division I and II athletics and eligible to earn an athletic scholarship.

Do you have to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse at all? As previously stated Division I and II athletes need to submit their information to the eligibility center. Division III and NAIA student-athletes do not have to submit their information. If a Division I or II student-athlete does not submit their information before stepping on the field their freshman year, they will become ineligible until the Clearinghouse certifies that that student-athlete is eligible.

What are NAIA schools? The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is home to nearly 300 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The NAIA is a separate governing body than the NCAA. The NAIA has its own policies and rules (pdf).

Do coaches gain more exposure to my student-athlete once he/she is eligible on the Clearinghouse? Registering with the Clearinghouse will not gain a student athlete any more exposure. The Clearinghouse only ensures that the student-athlete is eligible to play at the college level. College coaches have nothing to do with the Clearinghouse.

I got a letter from a Division I college. This means they want me, correct? Just because you received a letter from a Division I coach does not mean that they necessarily want you. Of course receiving mail feels great, but a lot of the time, they send mail to promote a camp, showcase, or the institution. A college letter is just the beginning, you need to follow that letter up by proactively promoting yourself so the coach and the program will want you. If the letter seems like a mass e-mail, or mass mailing, it probably is. Don’t get your hopes down, you made it on a list with many other prospective student-athletes looking at the school. Your goal is to stay on that list, and even work your way up that list. The way you do that is by being proactive, doing what you need to do in the classroom, and also on the field.

Can Division II schools give me athletic scholarship money? Yes, Division II schools are able to give student-athletes athletic scholarships. However, these schools might not have as much scholarship money as Division I institutions. Division III schools are not allowed to give athletic money to their student-athletes.

What is a core course? Core courses are math, science, english, and history courses. Gym, health, music, and many other electives are not considered core courses. Core courses are essential for eligibility to play at Division I and Division II schools. For Division I students-athletes, 16 core courses are needed in high school. For Division II student-athletes, that number is 14 core courses. Beginning August 1, 2013, students planning to attend an NCAA Division II institution will be required to complete 16 core courses.

Can my student-athlete get into college specifically on their ACT/SAT scores? ACT and SAT scores are usually looked at in what in the college admittance world is a sliding scale. If your student-athlete does well in the classroom but isn't a good test-taker, colleges will be more lenient due to his or her hard work in the classroom. If your student-athlete hasn’t done well on his or her GPA, but does better on the ACT or SAT, college coaches are more likely to let the GPA slide.