Starting on September 1, 2012, the fees for registering with the Eligibility Center will increase. Domestic prospects will pay $70 (up $5) while international prospects will see a bigger increase, from $95 to $120. This has prospects wondering whether they should register right away. The increase is small, especially for domestic prospects, but every little bit helps and paying to register with the Eligibility Center is just the first of a number of expenses prospects need to pay to become eligible to play college sports.
Here are lists of who should and who should not register right away to avoid the fee increase:
Who Should Register
- Upperclassmen who are hearing from Division I schools or Division II schools: If you are about to start your junior or senior year of high school and are being contacted regularly by Division I or Division II schools, chances are you have a shot to play at those levels, and you should get started with the Eligibility Center process.
- International prospects: The increase is big enough for international prospects that if you were thinking of playing in Division I or II, you should consider registering now to save the money.
- Prospects with potentially difficult certifications: If you think you might have a long or difficult path through the Eligibility Center, it makes sense to register earlier and even if playing for a Division I or Division II team seems less likely. If, for instance, you tryout to walk-on with a DI or DII team and you have not started the process, snags that cause your certification to take longer might cost you your spot on the team.
Who Shouldn’t Register
- Athletes eligible for a fee waiver: If you have been granted a fee waiver to take the SAT or ACT, you are eligible to receive a fee waiver to register with the Eligibility Center. In that case, the amount of fee should not change when you register.
- Freshmen and sophomores: If you are just starting high school or just finished ninth grade, it is still a little early to register with the Eligibility Center since not much can happen with your file for at least another year.
Always a Risk
One stat to keep in mind with the Eligibility Center is that roughly half of the athletes who register each year with the Eligibility Center are never certified, mostly because they are not recruited by Division I or Division II schools. At the end of their sophomore year, only a small percentage of athletes are guaranteed of ending up in Divisions I or II. For everyone else, registering with the Eligibility Center is something of a risk.
Athletes need to weigh that risk against the need to make sure getting certified by the Eligibility Center is as painless as possible. When the Eligibility Center fees increase, the best piece of advice is that prospects who have decided to register with the Eligibility Center should make it a priority to get registered to avoid the increased fees.