Do I Need to Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?

One common question I get asked is, do I need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to be recruited. Here is some information of what the eligibility center is and when / who and how to register.

What is it?
The NCAA Eligibility Center is simply a program that NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II schools use to determine if an athlete is eligible to compete in their athletic program. Among other things, the program is designed to make sure athletes meet minimum academic requirements and also have maintained their amateur status. Coaches do not use it as a recruiting tool, so it won’t do anything to help your recruitment other than deem you eligible.

When should I do it?
Registration is only necessary to do two things: take official visits to NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II schools as well as compete at those institutions. Since you can’t take an official visit until your senior year begins, the earliest you would need to have this done is the summer before your senior year. We advise that you complete this by June 1for those receiving serious attention from NCAA Division I and Division II. The only exception would be for student’s with unique academic backgrounds (home school, prep school, non-accredited schools, more than one transfer, etc).

How much does it cost?
As of 2023 it is approximately $90. However, you can start a free profile and if you need to register, you can easily upgrade your account. Coaches will help guide you if you need assistance. My advice is save some money and wait until you know if and when you will need this.

Do I need to do it?
Most guidance counselors will tell you that you have to register to play college sports. This is not true! Whether or not you need to do it depends mainly on if you are being seriously recruited by NCAA Division I and Division II. If paying for this is not a big deal and you’d rather just do it, then go ahead and do it whenever you would like. However, you won’t need to register if you end up playing at the NCAA Division III level or at a junior college. Additionally, if you end up enrolling at an NAIA school they have their own separate eligibility center that you would need to register with and this costs approximately $50. Each year, the NCAA makes thousands of dollars off kids who register and then don’t play at the NCAA Division I or Division II. More than 60% of the athletes that play college sports do so at NCAA Division III/NAIA/JUCO schools, so we advise you to make smart use of your money and wait until you really need to register. If an NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II coach is seriously recruiting you, they will make sure to ask you about the eligibility center and make sure you do what is needed at the appropriate time.

What issues could come up?
If your transcript is pretty normal and you went to accredited schools and never took money for playing your sport, then probably nothing. If you were at a few suspect schools and played on pay for play teams then you want to make sure you get everything in order as soon as possible to register.

Answering the questions on the Registration Form
All student-athletes who register with the NCAA Eligibility Center must answer questions in the Athletics Contacts and Advisors section of the Center’s website regarding their relationship Top Student Athlete Recruiting. See the numbered list below on how to answer those questions. Through this questionnaire, the NCAA Eligibility Center is making certain that there was no guarantee of scholarship promised by Top Student Athlete Recruiting and that there is no agreement of representing the athlete as an agent in the future.

Additionally, international student-athletes need to prove they never played professionally (got paid to play) and their academic evaluation may be a little more complicated.

Again, unless you are being actively recruited by NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II schools, you don’t need a to worry about completing the NCAA Eligibility Center.

How to answer the questions…

  1. In any sport, have you ever: Authorized anyone (other than your parent, legal guardian or coach) to market your athletics skill or reputation? “YES”
  2. Have you ever given permission to anyone other than a parent, legal guardian or coach to market your skills in _________ (the athlete’s sport)? If yes, list each of these individuals: “Top Student Athlete Recruiting and my name of your agent (Dan Rothert)
  3. Individual’s relationship to you: “RECRUITING, SCOUTING TALENT EVALUATION SERVICE” (This is selected from a drop-down box with these options: Advisor / Family Advisor, Agent, Athletic Scholarship Agent/Consultant, Coach, Family Friend, Recruiting, Scouting Talent Evaluation Service)
  4. Individual’s phone number: 563-564-6122
  5. Individual’s Email address: [email protected]
  7. Did you enter into a written or verbal agreement with this individual?: YES
  8. Did you enter into an agreement for future representation? NO
  9. Did you pay for these services? YES, LIST THE AMOUNT FROM THE AGREEMENT YOU SIGNED WITH Top Student Athlete Recruiting FOR THE SERVICES PURCHASED.

Don’t worry, we are completely legal!

This questionnaire can cause parents to wonder whether they have violated a rule by signing with Top Student Athlete Recruiting, so be assured that we are approved under NCAA bylaw, which reads:

Talent Evaluation Services and Agents. A prospect may allow a scouting service or agent to distribute personal information (e.g., high-school academic and athletics records, physical statistics) to member institutions without jeopardizing his or her eligibility, provided the fee paid to such an agent is not based on placing the prospect in a collegiate institution as a recipient of institutional financial aid.

Hope this helped answer any questions you might have had. If you have more, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m available and happy to answer any questions you have about this or any other aspect of the recruiting process.