"Many prospective student-athletes will sign a National Letter of Intent in November of this year, which is prior to the implementation of the clearinghouse," said Kevin Lennon, vice president for Membership Services. "Providing amateurism decisions for these students so many months after they sign would be troublesome for institutions and the student-athletes themselves."
Lennon, Dave Schnase, managing director of membership services,and Bill Saum, director of membership services, are leading the clearinghouse effort, which received initial approval from both Management Councils in July.
Planning for the clearinghouse is underway in anticipation of final approval by the two divisions. The clearinghouse is expected to make certification decisions on approximately 140,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students each year.
NCAA President Myles Brand authorized the Amateurism Clearinghouse in response to growing concerns in the membership about amateurism issues related to domestic and international prospective student-athletes.
It has been increasingly difficult for institutions to determine the amateur status of international prospects because of the complexities of defining what constitutes professional competition in other countries. Likewise, certifying domestic prospects is made more difficult by the growing number of club leagues, particularly in basketball and soccer, and the fact that those teams travel across the country more than in the past.
The clearinghouse will help maintain equity in recruiting by providing consistent information about prospective and transfer student-athletes hoping to compete at Division I and II institutions. Currently, some institutions are at a disadvantage because they lack the financial and staffing resources to investigate a student-athlete's background.
The clearinghouse legislation does not create new amateurism bylaws. It assists institutions in administering existing rules.
A 20-member advisory group comprising representatives from Division I and II institutions and the National Federation of State High School Associations is providing feedback and guidance as the clearinghouse is developed.
The clearinghouse will be operated through online filing. Prospects and transfers will be required to complete an online questionnaire about their athletics history as it relates to contracts, salaries and other benefits that could affect their amateur status. The questionnaire will be part of the existing process that certifies academic eligibility for all prospects.
The information supplied by the prospect will be reviewed and a determination will be made as to whether the prospect should be certified or if a penalty should be assessed prior to certification. There will also be an appellate process.