What is amateurism certification and why is it so important? Amateur certification ensures that NCAA amateurism regulations are applied uniformly for incoming Divisions I and II student-athletes. The process is a collaborative effort among student-athletes, Divisions I and II schools and the NCAA Eligibility Center. In Division III, amateur certification is completed solely by the school.
How does amateur certification work? The amateur certification process begins as prospective Divisions I and II student-athletes register with the Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org. Each prospective student-athlete is asked several questions about his or her sports-participation history. If the answers indicate a possible violation, the amateur certification staff works with the school to determine the facts. If an amateurism violation occurred, an eligibility penalty will be imposed based on the severity of the violations. Penalties include repayment of money, sitting out a specified number of games or, in rare cases, permanent ineligibility. Schools may appeal amateur certification decisions.
Is every student-athlete eventually certified as eligible? Every year, about 180,000 prospective student-athletes register to have their academic credentials and amateur status certified. More than 90 percent of those who register are automatically certified. Less than 1 percent of student-athletes seeking certification receive any sort of amateurism-related penalty. About 7 percent every year do not meet the academic standards of the division in which they want to compete and about 600 prospective student-athletes are not certified each year due to amateurism issues.
What is the role of the NCAA staff? The Eligibility Center staff is the information-gathering partner in the amateur certification process. Staff members do not have the authority to interpret NCAA legislation or to consider mitigating circumstances.
What is the role of schools? Schools work with the Eligibility Center staff to establish the facts of a student-athlete’s case. Once the facts are agreed upon, a school may make interpretive, appeal or reinstatement requests.
Does the process invade the privacy of prospective student-athletes? The Eligibility Center does everything possible to protect student-athlete privacy. When additional information is needed to determine a prospective student-athlete’s amateur status, the requests are usually limited in scope and the information is safeguarded.
What activities are reviewed during the amateur certification process? The following activities may be reviewed to determine a prospective student-athlete’s amateur status: