NCAA and NAIA Amateurism Certification

Each year there are approximately 100,000 prospective student-athletes who are placed on Institutional Request Lists by NCAA Division I and II institutions. This starts the process of amateurism certification for NCAA athletic competition.

Most prospects are processed with no issues. However, there are approximately one percent of the prospects who receive an amateurism condition. Of those who receive conditions, 20 percent of them receive an amateurism condition and 80 percent receive delayed enrollment conditions.

WHO must be certified for amateurism?

  • High school graduates;
  • Student-athletes transferring from a two-year school to a four-year school;
  • Student-athletes transferring from any non-NCAA school, and
  • International students.

HOW is amateurism certified?

In addition to the information provided by student-athletes when they register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, the NCAA Eligibility Certification staff send email requests to prospective student-athletes requesting additional information if they have questions. There are some cases where NCAA staff will use free and subscription-based websites, sports specific sites, national governing bodies, teams, clubs, tournament organizers, and coaches associations to obtain additional information necessary to provide amateurism certification results.

If your student-athlete competes on an organized team with professionals prior to attending an NCAA school, the prospect will need to be able to provide the following information to the NCAA when requested:

  • Copy of any signed agreements with the team;
  • Listing of all actual and necessary expenses paid by the family for the duration of the competition;
  • Knowledge of any payments by the team to any teammates;
  • Starting and ending dates of each competition; and
  • Total number of games your student participated

WHEN is amateurism requested?

Prospects need to initially request amateurism certification at the beginning of their junior year in high school when they initially register for the NCAA Eligibility Center.

WHEN is amateurism certified?

Student-athletes who plan to enroll as a full-time student at a collegiate institution during the spring semester must request final amateurism certification by October 1st each year. For those student-athletes who plan to enroll as a full-time student at a collegiate institution during the fall semester amateurism certification must be requested beginning April 1st each year.

WHAT are amateurism conditions?

In cases where the student’s issue is related to improper competition, the penalty is usually reduction of competition at the university enrolled. In cases where money is involved, some students are able to repay the value of the benefit to a charity before being able to compete. In other cases where money is involved, some students are determined to  have received money beyond permissible levels and therefore lose their eligibility to compete in NCAA athletic competitions.

Amateurism Status with the NAIA

The NAIA determines professional status on a sport-by-sport basis. Therefore, it is possible for a prospect to be considered a professional in one sport while still being considered an amateur in other sports. That means a prospect could be a professional in golf and ineligible for competition in golf at NAIA schools, but be considered an amateur in other sports and thereby able to compete in those sports at NAIA institutions.

The following will cause a prospect to lose amateur status with the NAIA:

  • Signing a contract with any professional sports team;
  • Entering into an agreement to compete in professional sports with a professional sports organization;
  • participating in any athletic contest as a professional team or as a team member where the prospect receives reimbursement, directly or indirectly, that exceeds the actual expenses for the travel, meals and lodging associated with the competition;
  • Exploiting athletic ability or fame through an exhibition or radio or television appearance for compensation;
  • Using athletic fame to write for the news media for pay beyond actual expenses; and/or
  • Receiving payment for the use of the prospect’s name or picture to promote any commercial product or enterprise.

WHERE to receive more detailed information:

There is an excellent article that details the NCAA amateurism certification process at

Information on the NAIA Eligibility Certification Process is available at,

Our book The Athletic $cholarship Eligibility Coach: A How-To Guide for the Eligibility Certification Game is available at has information on both processes.

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