Homeschool Athletes and the NCAA

Over the past decade, homeschoolers have finally come into the recognition that they deserve. Individuals, colleges, universities, and even employers have begun to realize that homeschoolers are typically more mature, more confident, and score an average of 20 points above the regular schooler on standardized tests. In this past decade, we have also had many homeschoolers demonstrate this within the NCAA divisions. In fact, the NCAA has recently become very homeschool friendly, incorporating a homeschool waiver that opens the door to many students each year.

What is the NCAA?

The NCAA is an acrostic for The National Collegiate Athletic Association. This association was founded in 1906 and consists of 964 different schools in three separate divisions. Division I consists of the larger schools, division II the intermediate schools, and division III the smaller schools which typically don’t offer NCAA scholarships.

The participating schools pay the NCAA to establish standards used in determining students’ academic eligibility. In turn, the NCAA has partnered with ACT to operate a “clearinghouse” to explore and examine students’ academic achievements and ultimately their eligibility.

Can Homeschoolers Qualify for NCAA scholarships?

Yes! And we are so excited that homeschool athletes now have this opportunity to work toward recognition of their achievements in college. Yet, being on the ball isn’t just for the game, homeschoolers need to be vigilant when it comes to academics. Keeping good records, maintaining course descriptions and clear and precise homeschool transcripts is the best place to start.

When to Begin Pursuing an NCAA Scholarship?

It is advisable to begin the process of meeting NCAA eligibility requirements in the Junior year of high school. Once a student determines the colleges that they are interested in, they will need to contact them to get further information on requirements. Colleges differ widely on what they require from a homeschooler to finalize application and eligibility. It is also advisable to contact the financial aid office, get the necessary paperwork, and begin the process as soon as possible. The NCAA homeschool requirements themselves are pretty straight forward and typically require a solid transcript, completion of all state-required core courses, and detailed course descriptions.

What Determines NCAA Eligibility for Homeschoolers?

Typically schooled students wishing to apply for the NCAA athletic scholarship must register for a Certification Account with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  Then the homeschooler will begin the standard requirement process.

  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org.
  • Pay your registration fee.
  • Register to take the ACT or SAT and submit your scores directly to the NCAA with code 9999. Test scores on transcripts or Student Score Reports are not used by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Submit an official transcript for each high school or academic program you attended.
  • Submit proof of high school graduation with a specific graduation date.
  • Submit a signed statement of who managed the home school program (e.g., who taught and evaluated the coursework, awarded grades, and issued credit); and a signed statement that home schooling was conducted in accordance with state laws.
  • Submit core-course worksheets for English, math, natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy classes.

The NCAA has a wealth of resources for the homeschool athlete, just visit the NCAA Homeschool Student Information page.

If you’ve worked with the NCAA before or had the experience of obtaining an NCAA homeschool athlete scholarship we would love to hear all about it!