Do You Have To Register With NCAA To Be Recruited?

College recruitment of athletes is a big deal for high school athletes, they play so hard in high school games and combine, just to impress college sports scouts. To most of them, it is the biggest event in their lives yet. The NCAA however, has made rules guiding this college athlete recruitment to avoid exploitation of these athletes and at the same maintain a level playing ground for all colleges. Any breach to any of these rules has attached to it some sanctions that would be carried out by the offender(s). In this article we shall learn, Do You Have To Register With NCAA To Be Recruited?

No, an athlete does not have to register with the NCAA to be recruited. The registration with NCAA is only necessary for the athlete to participate in competitive games and this only applies to athletes in division I and division II but the division III players are not bound by this specific rule. The major requirement in college athlete recruitment is the academic eligibility of the student. Registering with the NCAA eligibility center is a recommended step for high school athletes because it puts out the athlete’s valid information and easily accessible to college coaches accessing the player. The NCAA tests an athlete’s academic and athletic eligibility. 

Do You Have To Register With NCAA To Be Recruited?

NCAA Academic Requirements 

There are plans to make some progressive changes to the current NCAA academic requirements. However, in the meantime, the NCAA academic requirements for athletes are that athletes register for core courses and have at least a GPA of 2.0 in these courses. 

As early as the ninth grade, athletes should start consulting with their academic counselor seeking guidance on whether they are picking the right courses or getting the right grades. Many high school athletes are unenlightened by what is expected by colleges and sometimes do not have the privilege of getting advice from their parents. For an athlete to be eligible for a scholarship from colleges, he/she must have registered with the NCAA at the eligibility center and obtained an NCAA ID number. 

Can Student-Athletes Contact Coaches For College Recruitment?

Yes, the athletes are allowed at a stage to start writing to college coaches, just that these coaches are not expected to write back or contact the athletes until it is time for recruitment. 

The NCAA has stipulated a series of rules that must be followed by both coaches and athletes before any recruitment can take place or be finalized. Firstly, any recruitment must be done within the NCAA approved time for recruitment as stipulated by the NCAA recruitment calendar. As early as junior high in high school, athletes should start making those calls to college coaches of their choice. The athletes can even make clips from his plays and send them to these coaches in a bid to impress them. The athlete should not be worried if he does not get feedback from these coaches, it is quite normal for such silence. It does not mean that the coaches did not watch the videos or were not impressed.   

When Is The NCAA Approved Time For Recruitment? 

According to NCAA guidelines, different sports have their differences as to when to start recruiting athletes. These NCAA rules and guidelines are only meant to regulate how division I and Division II colleges recruit athletes, how the division III colleges act is not provided by the NCAA. NCAA has made provisions for these guidelines to protect the athletes from the distractions these recruitment rumors and news can come along with. This does not mean that the player will not on his own be looking out for colleges that would be the right fit for him before the NCAA approved time for recruitment has reached. Most recruitments happen in an athlete’s senior year. In the athlete’s senior year, provisions will be made for him/her to come to pay visits to the college. This is a good opportunity for the athlete to know if the college will be the right fit for him/her even from the peripheral 


It is always recommended that an athlete registers with the NCAA while in high school, right before it is time for college recruitment. Indeed, non-registration will not render the athlete ineligible for recruitment but it costs the athlete nothing to register at the recommended time. The athlete can seek the guidance of his/her high school coaches in doing this registration to avoid any mistakes.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Can NCAA veto an athlete’s recruitment?

The NCAA does not veto an athlete’s recruitment even if there were rules violations in the recruitment process. The NCAA mostly resorts to hitting the defaulting college or coach with fines and other restrictive sanctions. This is because vetoing the athlete’s recruitment can affect the athlete majorly for something he had nothing to do with.  

  1. Can a college be restricted from athlete recruitment? 

Yes, this can happen when a college is sanctioned for violating some NCAA rules. These restrictions can come in various forms, it could be partial or restrictions on recruiting college athletes. 

  1. Are there sanctions for the illegal recruitment of college athletes?

Yes, the issue of illegal recruitment is taken very seriously by the NCAA, and attached with weighty sanctions. “The Death Penalty” is a term used by the NCAA to stress the gravity of punishment. When there is money changing hands in the recruitment of college athletes, more often than not results in illegal recruitment and this can attract the almighty “Death Penalty”.