We commonly hear about the NCAA Clearinghouse, however the NCAA has changed the name to the Eligibility Center. The NCAA Eligibility Center will determine if a college-bound student-athlete meets the academic and amateurism credentials to compete in Division I and II athletics.
Every basketball player you watch during 'March Madness' and football player you watch play a bowl game has gone through the Eligibility Center before ever participating in a NCAA sporting event.
A hockey player only needs to be certified by the Eligibility Center if they are going to play Division I or II hockey. Division II hockey is less prevalent because there are so few teams and do not compete for a national championship.
It can be very difficult to find the information needed to complete this process. The first question that is usually asked is 'How do I register?'. The NCAA has taken great strides to streamline the process and has revamped their website. Why wait?
Unlike most Canadian Universities that look at your child's grade 12 marks only, the Eligibility Center will evaluate the student's achievement all the way back to grade 9.
Your child must take 16 core courses and achieve minimum standardized test scores, such as the SAT. Be sure to meet with your guidance counselor right away in Grade 9 to make sure you are taking the appropriate classes. The NCAA Eligibility Center will look at a combination of your test scores (SAT or ACT) and your Grade Point Average in the core courses on a sliding scale.
So, what does it mean to be 'cleared' or 'not cleared' and why does it matter?
In addition to determining your academic eligibility, the Eligibility Center / NCAA Clearinghouse will certify the amateur status a player. The NCAA must consider an athlete to be amateur to compete. There are several ways you can risk losing amateur status. Two of the more common concerns in hockey is that of Agents and Major Junior hockey affecting your child's amateur status. It is important that your family weighs it's options and understands the implications of any decision you make.
You might be the parent of an International student. Usually, in hockey, that means Canadian, although there are more Europeans competing in NCAA hockey every year. Regardless, there is some specific information for International Applicants.
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