The NCAA Manual is the “go to” resource for prospects and families as they begin to build their education base in the college search. Between the Division 1, 2 and 3 manuals there is well over 1,500 pages of helpful information!
The aim of this article is to direct you toward these resources, help you simplify your search and wrap your arms around recruiting terms, rules and procedures you will encounter as you navigate your personal college quest.
First, let’s search for a copy of the manual!
Go to www.ncaa.org.
Click the “resources” tab.
Under “Resources,” Click either the Division 1, 2 or 3 manual links.
From there you can either order a hard copy of the manual or download a free PDF version.
If you haven’t done so already, create a college folder on your computer. Add a subfolder and label it “NCAA.” Save the manuals to your folder for easy access in the future.
The manual is loaded with tremendous information, but to be very honest with you, there is only a fraction of information parents and athletes need to really study closely. When you break it down, only 3 chapters or “Articles” in the manual are the most vital to understand and utilize: (In the below I refer to the D-1 manual)
Article 13 Recruiting
This is a very important chapter that will provide you with the nuts and bolts of how recruiting works and the limitations and time-lines college coaches and families are bound. Below is a list of sub-articles I suggest you place your most attention:
- Definitions and Applications
- Contacts and Evaluations
- Recruiting Materials
- Campus Visits
- Letter of Intent
You will notice in some cases multiple “revisions” of a rule or definition. Simply look carefully to the most recent date of the revision and the effective date and you will be right on target!
This chapter is a great “first read” that will begin to help shape your personal recruiting picture in your mind. Remember, the recruiting process is like learning a new language -- sometimes you have to simply “jump in.” That being the case, the more you practice the more you will learn and understand.
Article 14 Eligibility: Academic and General Requirements
Boy, is this ever an important chapter! Can you imagine going through the entire recruiting process, showing up to your college campus in the fall of your freshmen year and getting the news from your new coach and compliance officer that you are ineligible to practice or play?
Academic eligibility is a necessary part of the college recruiting process and you want to be certain you are on track every step of the way. Whether it is scheduling the proper coursework during your high school years, registering for the NCAA Eligibility Center or taking the ACT’s you want to be sure you have your ducks in a row and are hitting tangible targets! Below are important sub-articles to research:
- General Eligibility Requirements
- Freshmen Academic Requirements
- Transfer Regulations
- Certification of Eligibility
This is a critical chapter that will provide you with a clearly spelled out list of academic requirements you will be expected to meet as well as recruiting pitfalls you want to avoid! Remember, you can’t play the game if you don’t know the rules!
Article 15 Financial Aid
This chapter is equally important and it will give you a very clear and informative analysis of both need based and athletic related financial aid (scholarships). It not only defines an athletic scholarship and how they are distributed, it also clarifies maximum limits of athletic aid (by sport).
This is a pretty short chapter and I suggest you focus on each sub-article:
- Maximum Limits of Aid (Individual)
- Terms and Conditions
- Elements of Aid
- Maximum Sports Limitations
About Tom Kovic:
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college gymnastics coach (Penn) and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom is the author of “Reaching for Excellence”, an educational guide for college athletics recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com
Editor's Note: Publication of this article is not an endorsement of any recruiting service. Always check with the NCAA or your school's compliance officer for any questions regarding recruiting rules, the latest timelines, or other issues.