This year is the second that the NCAA Eligibility Center will put out regular reminders about the status of the case backlog at the NCAA Eligibility Center. Every summer, starting about mid-June, the EC experiences the summer rush. Prospects send in their final transcripts after graduation along with any other outstanding documents like test scores, and all want to be certified as soon as possible. Some need to be certified quickly in order to start practice for fall sports like football, women’s volleyball, and soccer. Others need to be cleared in order to enroll at the university under conference nonqualifier rules.
Last year, the NCAA ran at pretty much a two-week backlog the entire summer. That is right at their service standard of 10 business days. This year, things are starting out a little better:
The NCAA Eligibility Center is currently processing academic certifications for cases which went “Ready-to-Process-Final” as of June 29, 2014 and June 30, 2014.
That means the backlog is currently about a week or 5–6 business days. “Ready-to-Process-Final” is the status given to a final which has all the necessary elements for a final certification:
- ACT or SAT score on file;
- All high school transcripts on file including final transcript with proof of graduation;
- Amateurism questionnaire completed;
- Final certification requested by the prospect; and
- Prospect has been placed on an institutional request list (IRL).
From there, files are prioritized first by the “Ready-to-Process-Final” date then the IRL date, that is the date the school added the athlete to their IRL, requesting that the athlete be certified by the Eligibility Center.
With some sports starting practice at the beginning of August, athletes in those sports do not need to hit the panic button yet but should get moving. Missing documents should be sent to the NCAA and at this point should be rushed. That means paying extra for rush processing of ACT/SAT scores and overnighting documents to the Eligibility Center.
What remains to be seen is whether this accelerated pace of certifications keeps up during the entire summer rush, as more athletes get in documents and more need expedited reviews, pulling staff members off the main backlog of cases. But so far this is a significant improvement over last year, which was at least satisfactory according to the NCAA.