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Future Blue Devils

We are excited that you are considering becoming a student-athlete at Duke University. The transition from high school to collegiate athletics is both exciting and challenging. To ensure your success throughout this process it is important that you understand NCAA rule governing prospective student-athletes. 

Am I a prospective student-athlete?
You are a prospective student-athlete if you are a high school student who has begun the ninth grade, regardless of whether you participate in athletics. In addition, you are considered a prospective student-athlete if an institution provided you or your family financial assistance or any other benefit that is not offered to other prospective student-athletes.

A prospect remains a prospect until one of the following occur:
  • The individual registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution's regular academic year;
  • The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term; or
  • The individual officially registers and enrolls and attends classes during the summer prior to initial enrollment and receives institutional athletics aid.
I want to be a collegiate athlete, what next?
Students should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at the beginning of their junior year in high school. The NCAA Eligibility Center will certify the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes who wish to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics. You may register online at www.EligibilityCenter.org. At the end of the student's junior year, a transcript, including six semesters of grades, should be sent to the Eligibility Center from the high school. Additionally, students should have their SAT or ACT scores forwarded directly to the Eligibility Center (by using code "9999") whenever they take the exam.
A student may apply to Duke University early in their senior year. You can apply online at http://www.admissions.duke.edu/.

May I visit campus?
There are two types of campus visits allowed.

Unofficial Visit: A visit to a college campus at a prospect's expense. Colleges may only provide complimentary admissions to home athletics event. No lodging, meals or transportation to campus may be provided. There is no limit on the number of unofficial visits a prospect may take.

Official Visit: A visit to a college campus paid in whole or part by the college during a prospect's senior year in high school. Official visits can be no longer than 48 hours. A prospect is limited to 5 official visits (one per university).

To take an official visit you must do the following:
  • Provide test score taken on national testing date. State administered ACT may be used to meet requirement.
  • Provide high school or college transcript. 
  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Be placed on institution’s Institutional Request List (IRL)
May I talk to coaches?
Generally, phone calls to you from coaches (but not boosters) are permitted beginning July 1 (Sept. 1 for football) after completion of your junior year. A college coach or faculty member is limited to one telephone call per week to you (or your parents or legal guardians). Please note that coaches are NOT allowed to return your call until after July 1 (except football and basketball) prior to you senior year in high school. However, you may call the coach at your expense anytime.

A coach may not write or email you until September 1 of your junior year in high school, but you may write them at anytime.

It is important to note that a booster, former athlete or alumni may not solicit your enrollment in any manner (no phone calls, letters or in-person encounters).

I am ready to commit, what next?
The final step in becoming a student-athlete is to sign the National Letter of Intent and Athletics Grant-in-Aid that is offered by the coach that is recruiting you. The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospective student-athlete's agreement to attend the institution for one academic year. You (or your family) may not receive any benefit, inducement or arrangement such as cash, clothing, cars, improper expenses, transportation, gifts or loans to encourage you to sign a National Letter of Intent or to attend an NCAA school.

NLI Signing Dates for Prospective Student-Athletes Signing 2010-2011 and enrolling 2011-2012:


Initial Signing Date

Final Signing Date

Basketball and All Other Sports Not Listed (Early Period) 

November 10, 2010 

November 17, 2010 

Football (Midyear Junior College Transfer) 

December 15, 2010 

January 15, 2011 

Football (Regular Period) 

February 2, 2011 

April 1, 2011 

Field Hockey, Soccer, Track & Field, Cross Country, Men's Water Polo 

February 2, 2011 

August 1, 2011 

Basketball (Regular Period) 

April 13, 2011 

May 18, 2011 

All Other Sports Not Listed (Regular Period) 

April 13, 2011 

August 1, 2011 

Useful Links for Prospects








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