04 August 2007

From High School to the SEC: What are the steps?

As the Jerrell Powe saga continues, I was curious as to what the process is for a high school player to be eligible to play in the SEC.

The prospective student must receive clearance from the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse (the clearinghouse) in order to play in the NCAA.

The NCAA defines the Clearinghouse as "an organization that works with the NCAA to determine a student's eligibility for athletics participation in his or her first year of college enrollment." The clearinghouse is located in Iowa City, IA. They analyze academic records, ACT or SAT scores and "key information about amateurism participation, to determine the student's initial eligibility."

An athletic must have both their academic and amateurism status certified before they can represent an NCAA division I or II institution in competition.

The following is reviewed in determining if the student meets the amateurism status is met:

  • Contacts with a professional team.

  • Salary for participating in athletics.

  • Prize money.

  • Play with professionals.

  • Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team.

  • Benefits from an agent or prospective agent.

  • Agreement to be represented by an agent.

  • Delayed initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized sports competition.


High school players must register with the Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. They can fill out an online form with the Clearinghouse. They begin to register at the start of their junior year. The student can send high school transcripts to the clearinghouse when they have completed six months of high school work.

There is a $ 50 fee for registering. However this fee may be waived if the fee was waived for the SAT or ACT. Information can be updated until the final certification is requested.


The requirements for competing in the NCAA for 2008 are:

  • Graduate from High School

Complete the following core course* work:

  • 4 years of English

  • 2 years of math(Algebra I or higher)

  • 2 years of natural or physical science(including one year of lab science, if offered by the high school)

  • 1 extra year of English, math or natural or physical science

  • 2 years of social science

  • 3 years of extra core courses(from any category above or foreign language, non doctrinal religion or philosophy)

  • Earn a minimum required GPA in your core courses and

  • Earn a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches your core-course GPA on the test score sliding scale(for example, a 2.400 core-course GPA needs a 860 SAT)

If the student qualifies they can compete in the NCAA.

If they do not qualify they cannot practice or compete, cannot receive athletic scholarships and can only play three seasons if they maintain their eligibility from year to year. (They can receive a fourth year if they complete 80% of their degree requirements before starting the fifth year of college.)

If a student has a disability they must meet the same requirements but are provided accommodations. Students with diagnosed disabilities must notify the NCAA Eligibility Center know by the eighth semester of high school. **

The lowest score used to count as a core course is a D. Independent, Internet and correspondence courses count as core-courses if the following are met:

  • the course meets core-course requirement

  • the instruction and student have access to each other during the course to evaluate and provide assistance

  • appropriate academic authorities evaluate the work according to high school's academic policies and

  • the course is acceptable for any student to take and is on the student's high school transcripts

Starting November 1, 2007 the NCAA Eligibility Center will takeover processing academic and amateurism certifications from the clearinghouse.

*Core-course work must :

  • English, math, science, foreign language, non doctrinal religion or philosophy
  • four year college preparatory
  • must be at or above high school's regular academic level and
  • completed not later than the high school graduation date of your class (determined by first year enrollment in high school(ninth grade)
** To document the disability the student must provide the following:

  • copy of the professional diagnosis and
  • copy if IEP, ITP or 504 plan (one of these has to have been documented in the past three years)

**Help for those with disabilities are eligible for the following:

  • use course work designated by school for those with disabilities, if on the approved list of high school's list of core courses.
  • the student may take these courses anytime before enrollment in college, even the summer after graduation.

All information obtained on the NCAA Clearinghouse website.

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