It comes as a surprise to me that with all the information available today, that many high school athletes have no idea about the college recruiting process. If you have any desire to play baseball at the college level, you owe it to yourself to learn the recruiting process and the rules associated with being eligible to play college baseball. One of these processes is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Whether you are already talking to a few college coaches or haven’t received a single phone call yet, every high school athlete who wants to play Division I or II baseball will have to be certified academically and as an amateur athlete. This is where the NCAA Eligibility Center comes into play.
Beginning of Your Junior Year
You become a prospective student-athlete the moment you begin classes your freshman year of high school. However, if you are not yet a junior in high school, you need not worry about registering right away. You should be prepared to register with the Eligibility Center once your junior year of high school begins. There is no deadline to register, but you should complete this process as soon as you are able. A college coach cannot invite you on an official visit to the school if you are not registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
You can register online by visiting the NCAA Eligibility Center website. There is a small registration fee and you will be asked some questions regarding your athletic participation. These questions serve to certify your amateur status for your sport. Later, you will have to submit your high school transcript and SAT or ACT test scores to make sure you are academically eligible.
Student First, Athlete Second
Remember, from the start of high school until you graduate from college, you will be referred to as a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. As such, you must qualify academically in order to play at the college level. For Division I and II colleges and universities, the Eligibility Center will serve to make sure you are academically eligible to play your first year. According to the NCAA website, you will need the following academic requirements in order to practice, play, and get a scholarship at an NCAA Division I or II college or university:
- Graduate from high school
- Complete a minimum of 16 (for Division I) or 14 (for Division II) core courses
- Have a qualifying GPA (minimum 2.0 for Division II)
- Present a qualifying test score on either the ACT or SAT
To know what high school classes constitute “core courses” you will need to check your high school’s list of NCAA courses. This can be done online via the Eligibility Center once you are registered. Furthermore, you should meet with your high school counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores are being sent to the Eligibility Center.
Stay Ahead of the Game
You need to take an active role in the recruiting process. After all, it’s your recruiting process. Do not wait to be told what to do. The proactive student-athlete will always have an edge over those who wait until the last minute. Learn what you need to do, and then take action. To learn more about NCAA eligibility and the recruiting process, visit this page on the NCAA website.
If you are looking for more information on college baseball recruiting, check out this 42-page guide designed to help players and parents alike as they navigate through the recruiting process and help you take initiative in your own recruiting process. If you are a high school baseball player (or parent) who is not sure how the recruiting process works, then the College Baseball Recruiting Survival Guide is a must have. Click here to learn more.