If all you need is an ID number, create a profile and wait for serious recruiting interest before upgrading to a certification account.
To play college sports for an NCAA school, your athletic and academic eligibility and your amateur status need to be certified. In the past, the NCAA required all student-athletes to pay a registration fee without knowing if they were being recruited. To help fix this problem, the NCAA Eligibility Center now offers certification accounts for DI and DII athletes and free profiles for DIII and undecided athletes.
What’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look to help you determine which one is right for you.
FIRST STEP: CREATE A PROFILE PAGE
A good place to start is simply to create your NCAA Profile Page. There’s no fee required to set it up. If you begin to receive serious recruiting interest from DI and DII schools, it’s easy to upgrade your Profile Page to an NCAA Certification Account. If you are getting more interest from DIII schools, you are ready to go with your Profile Page.
What you get: You will get an NCAA ID number needed for recruiting questionnaires
What you need to create a profile: Valid personal email address
When to create your profile page: Any time after 8th grade
WHEN TO GET CREATE A CERTIFICATION ACCOUNT
You will need a Certification Account to compete at a DI or DII school. You will need it in order to make official visits to DI and DII schools or to sign a National Letter of Intent. Every potential DI and DII college athlete is required to register with the NCAA and submit their transcripts, SAT/ACT test scores and answer questions pertaining to their amateur status.
What you get: In addition to an NCAA ID number, you will also be able to submit your official transcripts, SAT/ACT test scores and request final amateurism certification
What you need to create a certification account: A valid email and the ability to pay the registration fee — $90 for U.S./Canadian students and $150 for international students
When should I create an NCAA Certification Account? If you receive serious recruiting interest from an NCAA DI or DII coach.
Signs of serious interest include:
A coach asks you to submit your transcripts/test scores to the NCAA
You’ve been having phone/text conversations with a coach
You are a junior in high school and think you will be invited on a DI or DII official visit.
Remember, recent changes to the NCAA recruiting rules mean official visits can start as early as Sept. 1 of your junior year for most sports.
Four COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE NCAA ELIGIBILITY CENTER
You do not need to register with the NCAA before college coaches can contact you. There are only two scenarios when a college coach needs you registered with the NCAA.
They are offering you an official visit.
They are requesting your eligibility status (this requires you to submit your transcripts, ACT/SAT scores and the amateurism questionnaire).
A recruiting questionnaire isn’t the same thing as serious recruiting interest. If all you need is an ID number, create a profile and wait for serious recruiting interest before upgrading to a certification account.
The NCAA does not review your transcripts while you are in high school to determine if you are on track to be eligible. The only time the NCAA will determine the eligibility of student athletes is if they have graduated high school, completed all of the steps of the Certification Account AND a DI or DII university has requested their eligibility status.
College coaches don’t find athletes through the NCAA Eligibility Center. College coaches do not search the database for athletes. They work with the NCAA to track official visits and determine the eligibility status of their recruits.
Hoping to get discovered? Try initiating contact directly with the coach.