AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) – The AAU was established in 1888. It is the largest non-profit volunteer organization in the United States and it is dedicated to the promotion and development of amateur athletics.
ACT/SAT – Standardized tests used by many colleges for admissions purposes.
All-American – A term used to describe the top athlete(s) in a particular sport. There are two types of All-Americans. They are academic and athletic.
Amateurism – To be eligible to play college sports, students must maintain their amateur status.
Blue Chip Athlete – A student-athlete who is considered one of the top prospects in any given sport and is also highly recruited.
Bump – This is an unscheduled and ILLEGAL contact between a college coach and a prospective student-athlete. This contact may happen outside of the authorized “contact period” mandated by the NCAA. A bump is supposed to be reported to the NCAA although it is considered a minor infraction.
Booster – An individual who supports a particular college’s athletics program by donating money to the college or by promoting the college’s athletics programs.
Clearinghouse (Now called the NCAA Eligibility Center) – The organization responsible for certifying the academic eligibility for practice, competition and financial aid of all prospective student-athletes for division I and II.
Combines – A combine is a camp or clinic where players perform various physical exercises to rate their physical fitness. Scores from combine tests are sent to athletic programs for evaluating the player as a prospective recruit. Combines as a measuring tool are growing in popularity and effectiveness in the recruiting process.
Commitment -An oral or verbal commit is a non-binding agreement between a student-athlete and prospective school. While it is tentatively understood that the student-athlete will accept the scholarship offer and attend the school, he/she is free to explore offers with other institutions until a letter of commitment has been signed.
Contact – A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with a student or the student’s parents away from the college campus, including the student’s high school or competition locations.
Contact Period – During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with a student and/or the student’s parents away from the college campus, including the student’s high school or competition locations.
Core Courses – Course that are academic, four-year college preparatory and that meet high-school graduation requirements in one of the following areas: English, mathematics, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy.
Dead Period – A period of time when a college coach may not have any in-person contact with a student or his or her family. The coach may write or call the student or the student’s parents during this time.
Early Signing Period – This is a one-week period in the beginning of November during which student-athletes can sign a National Letter of Intent. Signing this letter commits them to that particular school for one year.
Evaluation – An evaluation is when a coach reviews a student’s academic and athletics ability. This can include visiting the student’s high school or watching him or her practice or compete.
Evaluation Day – In Division I basketball, an evaluation day is defined as one coach engaged in the evaluation of any prospect on 1 day (12:01 AM to midnight); 2 coaches making evaluations on the same day use 2 evaluation days. The combined total of such days for all staff members cannot exceed 40.
Evaluation Period – A period of time when a college coach may watch a student play or visit the school’s high school. The coach cannot have any in-person contact with the student or the student’s parents away from the college campus. The coach may write or call the student or the student’s parents during this time for education expenses.
Financial Aid – Money received from a college or from another source, such as outside loans or grants. Financial aid may be athletically related or based on something else, such as academic achievement or financial need. Also referred to as scholarship.
Full Scholarship – When an institution pays a student-athlete’s tuition, room an board, and course-related books and supplies.
Grade-Point Average – The NCAA grade-point average is calculated by using grades in core courses only.
Greyshirt – A student who is recruited out of high school, but who delays full time enrollment in college for a term or terms.
HomeSchool – A student who does not attend a traditional high school. A student who has been educated at home must register with the clearinghouse like any other student.
Initial Eligibility – Initial Eligibility refers to the academic eligibility status of an incoming freshman. Under NCAA rules, incoming freshman must be certified as eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center before they can be involved in college sports.
Junior College – This refers to a two-year institution that offers three different levels of completion: Associates Degree (one that enables the student-athlete to continue in a four-year institution and one that does not) and a vocational certification. Most of these schools are members of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).
List of approved core courses – The list of all NCAA-approved core courses taught at a high school. For the clearinghouse to use courses from a transcript, the course must be on the high school’s list of approved core courses.
Medical Redshirt – If a student-athlete is injured during a season and cannot return to competition, he or she may qualify for another opportunity to utilize that season of competitive eligibility. To receive a medical hardship waiver – in any sport – the injury must limit the student-athlete’s participation to no more than 20 percent of the team’s contests (rounded to the next whole number), with all participation occurring in the first half of the season.
NAIA – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics administers programs and championships similar to the NCAA but for smaller schools.
National Signing Day – The first Wednesday in February is the official signing day for high school football. Following this date, student-athletes may sign letters of intent with prospective schools to attend that institution for one academic year in exchange for athletics aid.
NCAA -National Collegiate Athletic Association. The national athletics governing body for more than 1,200 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations.
NCAA Clearinghouse – See NCAA Eligibility Center
NCAA Eligibility Center – This part of the NCAA (formerly known as the Clearinghouse) is established to verify academic eligibility. Student athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if they want to participate in college athletics at the NCAA Division I or II levels.
NJCAA – The National Junior College Athletic Association is the governing body for junior college athletics.
NLI – National Letter of Intent. A legal, binding contract in which the student agrees to attend a college for one academic year. In return, the college agrees to provide the student with athletics financial aid for one academic year.
Nonqualifier– A student who hasn’t met the academic requirements for entry into a division I or II member institution. A nonqualifier can’t practice, compete or receive institutional financial aid for one academic year in Division I and II, and has three seasons of competition in Division I.
Official Visit -Any visit to a college campus by a student and his or her parents paid for by the college.
Partial Qualifier – A term used in Division II only. A student who has met part of the academic requirements. A partial qualifier may practice on campus and receive institutional financial aid, but can’t compete for one academic year.
PIN – Personal Identification Number. When a student registers with the clearinghouse, he or she picks a four-digit PIN. This PIN will allow the student to check his or her eligibility online or by phone. For high schools, each school selects a five-digit PIN that allows high-school personnel to access specific information through the NCAA Eligibility Center site.
Prep School/Military Academy – If a prospect does not graduate from high school in four years he can enroll in a fifth year of high school at a preparatory school or military academy. The prospect’s high school GPA is locked and can only be improved by retaking courses. A prospect does not lose college eligibility while competing for a prep school or military academy but will be considered a non- or partial-qualifier when enrolling at an NCAA institution.
Prospective Student-Athlete – An individual who has started classes for the ninth grade. This is a person who would like to participate in college sports. Also known as a “recruit” or “prospect.”
Qualifier – A student who has met the academic requirements outlined for the particular level of play. A qualifier may practice, compete and receive institutional financial aid in his or her first year of enrollment at a Division I or II college.
Quiet Period – The college coach may not have an in-person contact with a student or the student’s parents off the college campus. The coach may not watch the student play or visit the student’s high school during this time. The student and his or her parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone a student or his or her parents during this time.
Recruited – A student who is recruited by a college is someone who has been called by a coach more than once, someone who has been contacted by a coach off campus, or someone who has taken an official visit to a college.
Recruiting – When a college coach calls a student, sends written materials, watches the student practice or play, or makes in-person contact, that is called recruiting. Coaches must follow certain NCAA recruiting rules.
Redshirt – A student who does not play in ANY college game or scrimmage in a given academic year. If a student plays even one second of one game as a college athlete, he or she can’t be a redshirt.
Scholarship –Money received from a college or from another source, such as outside loans or grants. Financial aid may be athletically related or based on something else, such as academic achievement or financial need. Also referred to as financial aid.
Scholarship offer – A four-year institution can offer financial aid to a prospective student-athlete. These offers can be either verbal or written, however, only prospects receiving written offers can sign a National Letter of Intent or commit to an institution. An institution can offer an unlimited amount of scholarships but can provide only 85 full scholarships during a given academic year.
Student-Athlete– A student who is recruited to attend a particular college to play on one of its athletics teams or a student who reports for practice at a college.
Unofficial Visit – Any visit to a college campus by a student or his or her parents, paid for by the student or the student’s parents. The only expense a student may receive is three complimentary admissions to a home contest.
Verbal Commitment – When a student verbally indicates that he or she plans to attend a college or university and play college sports there. A verbal commitment is not binding for the college or the student.
Waiver – A process to set aside NCAA rules because of specific, extraordinary circumstances that prevented a student from meeting the rules. A waiver must be filed by a college on behalf of the student.
Walk-on – A student who does not receive athletics institutional financial aid (scholarship), but who is a member of a college athletics team.