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Agent Certification Background Check Information and Disqualifying Criteria

An agent must successfully complete a thorough background check with the NCAA-selected vendor as part of the online application; compliance with ECAG defined background check criteria is a condition of NCAA agent certification.

Sterling Volunteers Screening Provider

Sterling Volunteers, one of the leading background check agencies in the country, serves as the NCAA-selected vendor to administer agent background checks. Sterling Volunteers follows the best practices in data security. All personal information is kept private and safe.

Applicants can check the status of their background check at any time by logging in to the Sterling Volunteers site ( as a “Volunteer” (not an "Organization"). Sterling Volunteers also allows you to share the background check completed as part of your NCAA application with other participating organizations of your choice.

First time applicants should anticipate their background check to take 10-25 business days to process due to the review of the applicant’s full history and validation of education. Background screenings for returning applicants can take up to 7-10 business days to process. If the background screen is submitted on the weekend or during the holidays, the processing time will be delayed.

Associated Fees

The application fee is $250 which includes the background check and is paid directly to Sterling Volunteers at the conclusion of the NCAA application.The application fee is non-refundable and is required annually.

Disqualifying Criteria

The NCAA Enforcement Certification and Approvals Group (ECAG) considers many elements to determine an agent’s eligibility to be NCAA-certified. In order to receive and maintain NCAA agent certification, agents must successfully complete a thorough background check.

Grounds for denial of a background check approval include, but are not be limited to, any of the following, whether discovered through a background search or through other sources.

Automatic Disqualifiers

An individual will be automatically ineligible for NCAA-agent certification if a background check search reveals that the agent:

  1. Has been convicted of any felony within the last seven (7) years; or
  2. Sex offenses, regardless of the charge level.This includes both those required to be listed on the sex offender registry and those with criminal activity that is sexual in nature (ex. prostitution, etc.)
  3. Criminal acts involving children/minors, regardless of the charge level.

If an automatic disqualifier(s) exists, unless an error is found in the criminal background verification that negates the finding or the charge(s)/conviction(s) is expunged from the record, the agent WILL NOT be eligible to become NCAA certified.There is no process for appeal of denial for automatic disqualifiers.

Potential Disqualifiers

An individualmay be ineligiblefor NCAA-agent certification if a background check search reveals that such individual has been convicted of or a pending charge for:

  1. A non-felony within the last seven (7) years.
  2. Any felony, regardless of the date.
  3. A misdemeanor, regardless of the date, which includes:
    1. Physical contact with another person or another person’s property (e.g. assault, battery, theft);
    2. Elements of deception (e.g. identity theft, fraud, forgery, uttering, embezzlement); and/or
    3. Involving gambling or sports wagering.
  4. More than one alcohol and/or drug offenses.
  5. More than one felony and/or misdemeanor offenses.
  6. A conviction for a crime that involves violence, regardless of the charge level.
  7. At the discretion of the NCAA any other criminal record may be reviewed by an internal review team.
  8. Listed as defendant in cases, excluding divorce, in state civil judgements; or
  9. Listed as defendant in cases, in federal civil judgements.

If a potential disqualifier(s) exists, the applicant may be asked to provide context to the circumstances surrounding each charge and provide documentation to demonstrate any rehabilitation or restitution that may have occurred since the time of the arrest. The applicants may also be asked to provide proof of status of the civil matter and any established settlement payments; current balance remaining on any established payment plan or proof the matter has been discharged or satisfied. This information will be utilized in the review and adjudication of the agent's background.There is no process for appeal of denial once the decision has been rendered.

Continuous Monitoring

ECAG receives monthly background screen updates from Sterling Volunteers to ensure all NCAA-certified agents maintain good standing throughout the duration of the certification season. If an NCAA-certified agent is found to be ineligible at any point during the season whether discovered through a background search or through other sources, his or her NCAA certification will automatically become invalid.

Undiscovered Violations

If an agent is granted NCAA certification based on the conducted background check and information is later discovered that would have warranted a denial had the information appeared on the background check, the individual is subject to penalties outlined in theAdverse Actionsguideline.

Offenses Committed Subsequent to Receipt of Certification

If NCAA agent certification is granted or is pending, and the applicant is subsequently indicted or charged for any crime not known at the time the previous application was submitted, the applicant must immediately notify ECAG.The prior approval or pending application will automatically be suspended, pending resolution of the indictment or charge. Provided that the applicant has notified ECAG of the pending adjudication(s), a conviction, adjudication or term of probation imposed under any new indictment or charge, the amended application shall then be reviewed consistent with the criteria set forth.

Opportunity to Re-Apply

If an individual has been denied previously for the reason of an open felony case, the applicant is eligible to re-apply if the felony case is closed as the result of dismissal, acquittal, nolle pros, or if the charge level was assigned to a misdemeanor or lower.  (There are other exceptions, but all must be reviewed by Sterling Volunteers and the NCAA).


If there is a criminal dispute cleared or the applicant believes that they were falsely denied an approval based on false information or a case of mistaken identity, the applicant should contact theSterling Volunteers at TheAdvocates@sterlingvolunteers.comor 855-326-1860 Option 3.UntilSterling Volunteershas resolved the dispute, the applicant's background check remains in violation of the approval criteria and the applicant remains ineligible for NCAA agent certification.


The is no appeal if an applicant’s background check is not consistent with the NCAA standard for approval.However, if you believe that the information returned on your background check is inaccurate and charges that appear were for another individual with the same name, you can contact Sterling Volunteers at TheAdvocates@sterlingvolunteers.comor 855-326-1860 Option 3 and dispute the charges.