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F-1 Student Athletes: Learn about the NCAA

January 10, 2017

If you are an F-1 international student who wants to participate in varsity athletics at a Division I or II Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified college or university, you must follow the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules for eligibility in addition to maintaining your student status.

What is the NCAA?

The NCAA is a nonprofit organization that oversees eligibility requirements for two categories of varsity intercollegiate athletics: Division I and Division II.

Before competing in Division I or II athletics, all prospective student athletes must meet minimum academic standards. They must also register with and be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA strongly urges all student athletes to register with them as early as possible.

Each spring, the NCAA begins its certification process for high school student athletes who wish to participate in Division I or II athletics and who have registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

How do I register with the NCAA?

To register with the NCAA and begin the certification process, you need to create an account with the online NCAA Eligibility Center and follow their instructions.

Please note that required documentation for international student athletes may vary by country. To see a specific list of documents for each country, use the NCAA’s International Map tool.

What are my responsibilities after I register with the NCAA?

Once international student athletes successfully register with the NCAA and begin competing, they must maintain both their F-1 student status and their eligibility with the NCAA.

To continue competing in intercollegiate athletics, international student athletes must:

Do you have questions about the eligibility requirements for international student athletes? Refer to the NCAA’s Frequently Asked Questions for International College-Bound Student-Athletes and the NCAA Guide to International Academic Standards for Athletics Eligibility.

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