We help the next Student-Athletes from all around the world to get recruited by the educational institutions of the United States of America.
Traveling to a foreign country for studies may be a frightening experience and the application process itself may seem daunting and complicated, therefore our experienced personnel will be glad to provide you with all necessary assistance and information about studying and playing sports in the United States of America, the application process, as well as any other related matters. Below you can find the most essential information for prospective student-athletes and their parents about applying and studying in the United States of America.
NCAA (Divisions and levels)
NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the largest and most popular collegiate athletics system in the United States of America, which regulates athletic programs of more than 1200 educational institutions. There are three official levels of NCAA competition: Division I, II and III, based roughly on school size. Each division is made up of several conferences for regional league play.
- Division I: Nearly all of the recruited players are on full athletic scholarships in Division 1 institutions. Division I is made up of 32 Division I basketball conferences. However, at the Division I level there are really 3-4 unofficial levels – Low Major (limited athletic budgets), Mid-Major (good athletic budgets), Mid-Major+ (sizable athletic budgets) and High Major (significant athletic budgets, mostly due to large football programs).
- Division II: There are many different “types” of Division II schools. Most offer some scholarship money, but usually do not provide full scholarships for all of their players. In the more competitive conferences the better players are usually on full or nearly full scholarships. The higher level Division II conferences will recruit internationally to some degree.
- Division III: Offers no scholarships and typically recruits locally in the United States of America.
Besides NCAA there are also other athletic associations of educational institutions, such as NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), but this overview will concentrate solely on NCAA.
How schools recruit
Most of the NCAA Division 1 basketball programs have coaches and personnel, who scout for prospective student-athletes for their teams. It is not rare that independent scouting services, such as SportSmarts are used to find new players for the next seasons.
All NCAA schools also travel to see players in high school and American Athletic Union (AAU) events during the spring/summer. Since the college play their games during the same time period as high school, the trend in recent years is for most “in-person” recruiting to be done during the AAU season. Most of the institutions also attempt to attend at least one and in many cases multiple FIBA championships around the world.
Types of scholarships
All Division I scholarships are full scholarships. A full scholarship includes the following – tuition, books, food and lodging and some monetary amount per month for living expenses. Not every institution provides international health insurance plan. Within Division I some institutions provide an additional cost of attendance check. Some of the Division II schools provide full scholarships. Division III schools provide only need based or academic aid.
Every student-athlete who wants to play NCAA basketball must be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA Eligibility Center will determine the eligibility of the student-athlete based on academic credentials and amateurism. The expectations are different for Division I and Division II schools.
All student-athletes, including international students, are required to adhere to NCAA amateurism requirements to remain eligible for intercollegiate competition. It is very crucial not to conclude any contracts with professional teams, not to receive salary for participating in athletics or not to receive benefits from agents (among other requirements) in order to be certified as an amateur by NCAA. You can find more information about amateurism and eligibility here.
Academic requirements (tests and grades)
Basically, to play in Division I, a student-athlete must obtain 16 full academic credits:
- 4 years of English
- 3 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
- 2 years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if offered)
- 2 years of social science
- 1 additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
- 4 additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language
- 10 of the 16 credits (including 7 English, math, and science credits) must be achieved within the first 3 years of high school
- Possess a minimum 2.3 core GPA in the core courses
- Achieve an acceptable SAT or ACT score based on a sliding scale.
More detailed explanation of this system is available here.
All of these requirements are based on the American system. Student-athletes applying from another country must have their academic achievement “mapped” to the American system. For more detailed guide that helps understanding the mapping process please click here.
Traveling requirements (visas)
Most international students are required to obtain F1 Student Visa. The visa is obtained after the college issues an I20 document which demonstrates that the student has been accepted to the institution and how the costs will be covered.