College Athletics & Scholarships

Parent Q&A

  • Has anyone had to problems dealing with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)?
    Can one hire an advocate or lawyer to deal with the NCAA?   

    Here's what's going on....  Last spring my daughter was accepted as a freshman to a Div 1 University to play sports.  She hated high school, graduated a year early, attended a community college as she applied to different colleges.  Upon being accepted she was told she had to apply to the NCAA.  She did, and for the past six months she and the high district have been sending sending transcripts to the NCAA.

    This is where things get crazy.  From what I'm being told the High School district which has five high schools had only registered four of the five with the NCAA.  Even though the school district has been around for 50 years or so and hundreds of students from the other schools have played in NCAA sports my daughter is the first from the fifth high school to play NCAA sports.  The NCAA is telling us since the high school was never registered with the NCAA so it's a problem.   To complicate matters since she graduated a year early the NCAA doesn't understand how she has college credits already since they think she just graduated from high school.

    Dealing with the NCAA is worse than than the IRS.  You can only call them, and the can't call you back.   (And they don't use email either.)  When you call you are placed on hold for 3-4 hours before some picks up the phone.  Then the people you speak with don't seem to know what's going on.  Each person we talk to tells us the NCAA needs something different.  They are driving the administration at the school district my daughter attended crazy with all of their requests for documentation.  The school administration has spent 40 hours in sending them documentation and letters of explanation.  Several times the NCAA asks for the same documentation over and over.  (They have had it with the NCAA.)

    As of this week my daughter was told she does not meet the academic requirements to play Div 1 sports.  NCAA is telling us the school district has not provided the required transcripts and documentation.  They are also rejecting the transferable classes she took at the community college saying she could not have taken college classes if she just graduated.

    She's enrolled at the university, taking classes and has been practicing with the team.  She's been told if she can't get the paperwork straightened out with the NCAA she will be kicked off the team and kicked out of the university.

    My daughter has worked so hard to get to this point.  Seems crazy the NCAA has the power to destroy an person's future.

    We've asked several times if we could talk to a supervisor and how to file an appeal.  NCAA told use we can't do either.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    I don't know if he would help but Joe Nocera at New York Times has written a number of columns on bad behavior by the NCA A you might at least try emailing him?

    Good luck --these totally non-responsive bureaucracies are frustrating

    Wow, sounds awful! I wonder if the university has someone with an in at the NCAA to get it straightened out? I had a problem with my son's transcript from a high school outside the US and that school had a contact at the NCAA they were able to call and get it fixed. Also I wonder if a sports advisor type would be able to help. They deal with the NCAA all the time and might have suggestions? All the best to you and your daughter.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

College scholarships for high school athlete

Aug 2012

As a single, working parent, what are the steps my son and I must take to help him get recruited with scholarships by four year colleges, as an excellent football player with at least a 2.0 four year GPA and all requirements except three years of different math courses? He is working on that one. Thanks.

search for ''ncaa clearinghouse'' or ''ncaa eligibility center'' --Don

The folks who pointed you to the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete are right and this will give you basic information; your son should also look at NAIA schools as well and the NAIA just recently established their own eligibility center. I don't know what year your son is, but you should go to the NCAA Eligibility Center and he and you should review that and begin to register at least by junior year. Pat

How to find athletic scholarships?

October 2002

I am a single Mom of a soccer player on the varsity team at BHS, My son is quite good at soccer. How do I start looking for contacts with coaches at college level and researching sports scholarships? I'd appreciate knowing how to get started looking into this? Thanks! ......Anon

I'd like to point you first to the NCAA's website for student-athletes in high school:

The NCAA Student Eligibility and Recruiting main website address:

The NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete:

Also, the BHS college counselor, Rory, will have an initial registration form to fill out, pay a fee, and send to the NCAA Clearinghouse. If your son is a junior, there's a college handbook which has been mailed to every BHS junior just this week, and read carefully the section on Sports. The Handbook advises that it's important to create a CV of his career as an athlete and soccer player which should include his birthdate, physical stats, any special athletics awards, GPA (to show he can keep up his grades and be an excellent athlete), tournaments his team has won, current and past coaches as reference, if he's left-footed or right-footed or both, positions he's played. The resume should include a photo of him, if possible, and once he's decided what colleges interest him, he should send out a cover letter with his resume and let the Athletics Dept. in each of the colleges know of his interest. Check out the colleges athletics' websites, see who the coaches are, etc. There's one important caution: if you get seriously injured during the junior and senior year, it can hurt your chances of being recruited, so you should look at colleges that will meet his lifestyle and academic needs as much as his sporting needs (as an example, my friend's son went to a college with a nationally top-5 ranked Div. I soccer program, but had a miserable experience because he was out in the midwest in the middle of nowhere in a Jesuit school, but finally he was able to transfer back to California and now plays soccer, not in a Div. I school, but Div. II, is a starter with more more playing time, and is much happier).

There are college reference books written for specific sports, and you can look at Cody's on Telegraph, or Barnes & Noble for a copy, or check the library. Once you find colleges that have good programs, call them and ask your questions: do you need defense, do you need mid-fielders, how many players on the roster. I know of two really good programs in California -- UC Davis is a Div. II school, moved up from Div. III, has a great soccer program, and may move to Div. I within a couple of years; then there's UCSD which is in the same league with Davis.

Good luck to you and your son. --jahlee

I have spent the last couple of years researching basketball scholarships for my son. The web is a great resource--not only the NCAA site but some other sites as well--including some put up by other parents who have been through the process. (A highschool basketball coach told my son to always remember that 1 in 100 high school players are able to play at the college level in any division.)

At any rate, I have also learned that attaining a scholarship is not impossible--but you need to do a lot of (probably most of) the footwork yourself--highschool coaches don't always have the time to promote their athletes as much as they'd like to (and in some cases as much as they might say they are). In addition to a CV, a videotape of your child playing (especially senior year) is crucial. Also--I don't know if this is true of all sports, but college basketball coaches request the tape of an entire game (in addition to highlights) as anyone can usually cut and paste together a great highlight tape. There is also a private college counselor over in Marin who specializes in helping seek out athletic scholarships, although I don't know much about her. Please let me know if you'd like me to dig up her name and number.

And finally, it took me two years to figure out how the relationship between a college athletic coach and a college admissions department works. And it really varies tremendously depending on the school. In some cases they have a lot of pull (even in Division II schools) and in other cases (particularly Division III schools)my experience was that they had very little. If a Cal coach (Division I) wants an athlete badly enough, they prestamp the college application so that it goes into ''it's own pile''.They do this for potential scholarship recruits as well as for any walk-ons they might want at Cal. I'm sure this varies from college to college though, depending on their sports emphasis. And Division I schools like Cal obviously handle things pretty differently.

My best advice? Find parents whose kids are already in college on an athletic scholarship and pick their brains. Also--talk to parents whose kids have ''walked on'' to a college team. And be realistic about what division your kid has a chance of playing in--if you're targeting the right schools you'll obviously have a much better chance of success. College play really is at a whole different level.

It's very confusing--even more than it seems at first. And if you're like me you'll just begin to understand the whole thing when your first child goes off to college!