Keeping Your Amateur Status
When trying to figure out what you need to do to be eligible to play for a D1 or D2 school you need to take a lot of your past and present into consideration. Of course you have academics and your grades but another thing that you need to be aware of is your amateur status.
Stay Out of Hot Water
Receiving money, goods or services while an athlete can get you into a lot of hot water with the NCAA. All student-athletes playing in the NCAA need to be certified as an amateur athlete. Whether you are a domestic or international athlete you still need to abide by the NCAA amateur requirements.
Your Athletic History
In order to check your amateur status you will have to fill out an online questionnaire that asks questions about your past athletic history. The questionnaire will cover topics like:
· Contracts with professional teams
· Salary for participating in athletics
· Prize money
· Playing with professionals
· Tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team
· Benefits from an agent or prospective agent
· Agreement to be represented by an agent
· Any delay in initial full-time collegiate enrollment to participate in organized sports competition
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
These may seem like very simple things to stay away from but most athletes don’t get in trouble as a high-school player–it is most often when they are being recruited or already in college when these rules come to bite them. Many student-athletes let their guard down since they are already in college and playing for a school, but the NCAA rules apply to you during your entire tenure there, not just before you get there.
A Common Trap
Becoming a college athlete will bring some notoriety, especially if you play a revenue sport for a big school. Some local business will want to give you discounts or perks if you are an athlete–they think they are doing you a favor or being nice.
Even though it is done out of kindness, the NCAA won’t look at it that way so make sure you stay clear of any perks you receive for your “athlete status”. There have been many business, athletic programs and athletes that have been penalized for special treatment.
It’s hard to keep track of your athletic performance, grades and all the social obstacles out there. Keep your head on straight, ask for guidance from a trusted adult, and you should be just fine.