Being a college baseball player requires knowing the eligibility rules.
Playing National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III baseball involves more than just being able to throw a curve ball or hit a home run. Rules govern what you must do off the field to qualify to be an NCAA student-athlete. After being admitted to an NCAA school that is the right fit academically and athletically, you must then meet several eligibility standards set forth by the NCAA bylaws.
Division III Basics
The NCAA is organized into three divisions, each with its own governance standards voted upon by its membership. Division III makes up the NCAA's largest membership division with more than 175,000 student-athletes and 439 member schools. Each school makes the decision as to which division it will join according to enrollment, finances and fan support.
The biggest difference between divisions is that student-athletes competing in Division III are not able to receive athletics-based financial aid, unlike their peers in Division I and II. Division III focuses on a more comprehensive educational approach and shorter practice times and playing seasons to encourage a well-rounded student-athlete experience.
All NCAA student-athletes first must be certified academically. Division I and II schools do have academic eligibility standards such as minimum grade point averages and SAT or ACT scores that student-athletes must meet. However, in Division III, the individual institutions set their own academic eligibility standards, so they vary from school to school. One standard that all student-athletes must meet in any of the divisions involves the requirements for admission. In Division III, a student must be admitted in agreement with a school's published admissions policies as a regularly enrolled, degree-seeking student.
Amateur Status and Enrollment
Another step in the process of playing Division III baseball is being certified as an amateur. All NCAA student-athletes, regardless of division, must be amateurs, meaning that they must not have participated in any activities considered to be professional, such as signing a contract with a professional team, being awarded prize money or agreeing to be represented by an agent.
Additionally, a student-athlete in Division III must be, at a minimum, enrolled in a full-time program of studies leading to a bachelor's degree. Student-athletes must be enrolled in no less than 12 semester or quarter hours, regardless of the school's minimum requirements.
Warnings and Considerations
Once you become an NCAA Division III student-athlete, you also must continue to meet the academic standards set by the individual school or athletic conference to play athletics, and you must follow the ethical code of conduct outlined in the NCAA bylaws. Unethical activities such as sports gambling, academic fraud, receiving extra benefits and use of banned substances can result in disciplinary actions, including loss of eligibility.