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Prospective Student-Athletes

Academic Eligibility
National Letter of Intent

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Academic Eligibility (NCAA Bylaw 14)
As a prospective student athlete at the NCAA Division I level, you have certain responsibilities to attend to before you may participate in intercollegiate athletics. Information concerning how to register and what documents should be submitted can be found in the Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete

NCAA Academic Eligibility Center
NCAA Freshman-Eligibility Standards Quick Reference Sheet

Amateurism (NCAA Bylaw 12)


Competition with Professionals: An individual shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics if the individual ever competed on a professional team, regardless or whether the individual knew (or had reason to know) that the team was a professional team.

Draft: An individual, prior to initial, full-time collegiate enrollment is permitted to enter a professional league's draft and/or be drafted without jeopardizing intercollegiate eligibility.

Agent: An individual is not permitted to retain an agent or receive any benefits from an agent.

Contract: An individual is not permitted to sign a contract with a professional team.

Prize Money Based on Place Finish: An individual, prior to initial, full-time collegiate enrollment, is permitted to accept prize money based on place finish in an open athletics event, not to exceed actual and necessary expenses, from the sponsor of the event.

Educational Expenses: An individual, prior to initial, full-time collegiate enrollment, is permitted to accept educational expenses (i.e., tuition and fees, room and board and books) from any individual or entity other than an agent, professional sports team/organization or representative of an institution's athletics interests, provided such expenses are disbursed directly through the recipients' educational institution (e.g., preparatory school, high school).

Salary: An individual is not permitted to accept any direct or indirect salary, gratuity or comparable compensation for his or her participation in athletics.

NCAA Regulation:

A professional team is any organized team that:

(a) Provides any of its players more than actual and necessary expenses for participation on the team, except as otherwise permitted by NCAA legislation. Actual and necessary expenses are limited to the following, provided the value of these items is commensurate with the fair market value in the locality of the player(s) and is not excessive in nature: (Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02)

(1) Meals directly tied to competition and practice held in preparation for such competition;
(2) Lodging directly tied to competition and practice held in preparation for such competition;
(3) Apparel, equipment and supplies;
(4) Coaching and instruction;
(5) Health/medical insurance;
(6) Transportation (expenses to and from practice competition, cost of transportation from home to training/practice site at the beginning of the season and from training/practice site to home at the end of season);
(7) Medical treatment and physical therapy;
(8) Facility usage; (Revised: 4/24/03)
(9) Entry fees; and (Revised: 4/24/03)
(10) Other reasonable expenses; or (Adopted: 4/24/03; Revised: 10/28/04)

(b) Declares itself to be professional (see Bylaw (Revised: 8/8/02)

NCAA Amateurism Certificate & Website

Recruiting (NCAA Bylaw 13)



A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college's campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.

Contact Period

During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you and/or your parents on or off the college's campus. The coach may also watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.

Dead Period

The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time in the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.


An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletics ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.

Evaluation Period

The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college's campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.

Official Visit

Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses:

• Your transportation to and from the college;
• Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college; and
• Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.

Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript (Division I only) and SAT, ACT or PLAN score and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Prospective Student-Athlete

You become a "prospective student-athlete" when:

• You start ninth-grade classes; or

• Before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.

Quiet Period

The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college's campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.

Unofficial Visit

Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.

Verbal Commitment

This phrase is used to describe a college-bound student-athlete's commitment to a school before he or she signs (or is able to sign) a National Letter of Intent. A college-bound student-athlete can announce a verbal commitment at any time. While verbal commitments have become very popular for both college-bound student-athletes and coaches, this "commitment" is NOT binding on either the college-bound student-athlete or the school. Only the signing of the National Letter of Intent accompanied by a financial aid agreement is binding on both parties.

NCAA Recruiting Website

National Letter of Intent
National Letter of Intent (NLI) Website

By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution.

The National Letter of Intent has many advantages to both prospective student-athletes and participating educational institutions:

• Once a National Letter of Intent is signed, prospective student-athletes are no longer subject to further recruiting contacts and calls.

• Student-athletes are assured of an athletics scholarship for one full academic year. (If not for the National Letter of Intent program, a student could find his or her scholarship taken by a more highly recruited student only weeks or days before classes begin.)

• Institutions can be certain that once the student-athlete has signed a Letter of Intent, there is no need to continue recruiting for that position. (Without the program, last-minute changes by student-athletes could open scholarships and positions on teams.)

• By emphasizing student-athletes' commitments to educational institutions, not particular coaches or teams, the program focuses university athletics on educational objectives. The program promotes student-athletes' academic objectives and helps to sustain the amateur nature of college sports.

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