An important step for any prospective Division I or II student-athlete is registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org.
Here are 10 things you need to know about signing up for the Eligibility Center:
1. Creating a profile page is free. Prospective student-athletes (PSAs) can create a profile page at any time, even prior to enrolling in high school. Creating a profile page gives you an NCAA ID number and makes it easy for the Eligibility Center to communicate directly with you.
2. Division I prospects eventually will need to transition to a certification account. Before a prospective student-athlete (PSA) can make an official visit to a Division I or II school, sign a National Letter of Intent, or play at that level, they will need to have a certification account at the NCAA Eligibility Center. PSAs with a profile page can easily transition that to a certification account. Note that Division III student-athletes do not need to register with the Eligibility Center.
3. There is a fee to create a certification account. Creating a certification account costs $90 for U.S. or Canadian PSAs, or $150 for international students.
4. When you create an account can vary. College Hockey Inc. recommends creating a certification account prior to 11th grade, though one can be created earlier or later. PSAs will need a certification account to make an official visit, which can occur as early as Aug. 1 prior to 11th grade. Setting up a profile page and familiarizing yourself with the Eligibility Center can be a benefit early in your high school career as you plan which courses to take.
5. The Eligibility Center evaluates a PSA’s amateurism and academics. To be eligible to play Division I or II you must maintain your amateur status and achieve minimum academic requirements. To evaluate these, the Eligibility Center will ask about your hockey experiences, particularly any interactions with major junior or professional teams. You will also need to submit all high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA will not require standardized test scores (ACT/SAT) for student-athletes entering college in the fall of 2021.
6. You have to take 16 “core courses” in high school. The grade-point average considered by the NCAA only includes what are considered "core courses" – and all prospective students must have taken 16 of these core courses, including 10 prior to the seventh semester of high school. The NCAA Eligibility Center includes important details on those requirements, plus lists of approved core courses at specific high schools or in each Canadian province.
7. Requirements can vary by country. Academic requirements can vary by country; international students can find more information here. Any transcripts need to be translated to English before being submitted to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
8. There are no other organizations you need to register with. You must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to play NCAA Division I hockey, but there are no other outside organizations that you are required to register with. That includes College Hockey Inc. or recruiting services like NCSA, Captain U, etc.
9. A school must request your final certification. The NCAA Eligibility Center cannot process your final certification and deem you eligible to play Division I or II until a school requests your final certification. This typically happens in the months and sometimes weeks prior to your freshman season. Schools make this request by adding the PSA to their institutional request list (IRL).
10. The NCAA has answers to many other questions in its FAQ. Visit here to learn much more about the Eligibility Center and the certification process.