As an organization that helps athletes and families with the recruiting process, we get a fair share of questions about dealing with the NCAA. The most important thing to understand about the NCAA is that it is designed to serve the universities and not the general public. This means they are there to answer questions and requests they get from universities on behalf of athletes and not field questions from athletes or parents directly. I am not going to debate whether this is right or wrong, this article will serve as a guide to how to get some of the most common questions answered.
You are almost always going to need the help of someone with experience in dealing with the NCAA. You will need them to review your question and if necessary, get your information over to the NCAA to get an answer. This means you need the support of people in the athletic department of a university. You get that help when a coach at that school wants you to be a student athlete and requests your eligibility status from their athletic department. This means you get recruited first and determine your eligibility second.
Determining Your Status with the NCAA Eligibility Center
Over 180,000 athletes a year create an account with the NCAA. The NCAA does not determine the eligibility status of every athlete who creates an account with them. They only review your final eligibility status if your name is requested by a college program. This means roughly 105,000 athletes each year create an account with the NCAA and never have their final eligibility status determined.
If your account is showing that your final status is pending the most common reasons are a college has not requested your eligibility status or your account is not complete (missing your final transcripts or test scores). If you have not completed your senior year of high school, your status will remain incomplete. Your final NCAA certification will not happen until you complete your senior year, have your final transcripts sent to the NCAA and a college coach requests final certification. Even after all of this, the final ruling can take months as the NCAA works through the 70,000+ athletes accounts
Trying to Determine How Much Eligibility You Have Left
There is no one available at the NCAA who is going to help you determine the status of your eligibility if you are not currently playing for or getting recruited by a college. There are thousands of potential college athletes out there, who are trying to determine if or how much eligibility they have left to play college sports. In this case, the most important thing for you to do is get a college coach interested in you first, and then they will have their athletic department determine your eligibility. You will not be able to figure out how much eligibility you have and then contact college coaches.
Filing for a Petition or Waiver
There are various situations where athletes will petition for or request a waiver from the NCAA. Some of the most common are hardship waivers or requests for a medical red-shirt. There are not people available within the NCAA for you to contact to file these waivers on your own. You will need to work with officials (usually the compliance officers) within the athletic department in order to get this paper work through to the NCAA. The most important thing is you have a college coach who wants you on their team and is requesting their athletic department help you.
As a general rule, most of the athletes or parents who are asking for our help in determining their status with the NCAA are trying to get their eligibility status, extra year of eligibility or waiver before they contact a coach or get recruited. This is not how the NCAA is designed to work. The best way to get answers from the NCAA is have a college coach who really wants you to play for them.
For help in getting college coaches attention, create a free recruiting profile on our site. If you have specific questions about dealing with the NCAA leave them in the comments below or email me from my Google+ profile.