By Will Rosson
Staff reporter

The NAIA Eligibility Center doesn’t take away from recruiting process. Both coaches and admissions still play their roles with student athletes. Since the NAIA now handles all eligibility determinations, it seems that it would change the roles of coaches and admissions.

The NAIA Eligibility Center has been established to determine the eligibility of all future athletes in the NAIA. No longer does the institution handle that process. John Leavens, executive vice president of NAIA, said that the whole purpose of the change was to provide equal opportunities for all NAIA athletes.

“The NAIA Eligibility Center was created by the NAIA membership by legislation adopted at the NAIA Convention in 2009.  Its primary purposes were to put in place a fair and accurate process to determine students’ eligibility for NAIA competition and to ensure greater consistency in eligibility determinations throughout the NAIA, making sure that a student’s eligibility is the same at every NAIA institution,” said Leavens.

It doesn’t mean that a coach has less to do now that eligibility is determined by the NAIA. The duties remain the same. Recruiting athletes to play requires a strong communication between the coach and the athlete. A key part of that communication now is explaining the process of registering with the NAIA Eligibility Center as part of becoming a future athlete said Joe Wood, head women’s soccer coach. But, Wood said there have been no complications so far with the switch.

“We have experienced no major problems. It is simply an additional service that the NAIA is providing to help provide consistency through its membership institutions regarding first time NAIA student-athletes. The only effect this has had on our recruiting is additional communication.  The NAIA Eligibility Center is one more item on our recruiting checklist that must be completed prior to our recruits being ready next fall,” said Wood.

Marla Sexson, director of admissions sees no change in her duties either. She said communication between the coaches and their prospective athletes includes the new NAIA Eligibility center.

“I do not see myself being affected by the eligibility center at all. The coaches visit with the prospect about eligibility, physicals, practice, the athletic program itself. Admissions provided athletic, performing arts and service learning information while on the road in the fall.  The info cards for each of these activities has the web link, and so for athletics, admissions’ hope is that the athletic prospect will take the athletic info, go to the athletic website, fill out a athletic player profile and learn about the NAIA as well.  It will be the responsibility of the coach to make sure their student athletes have worked their way through the center,” said Sexson.

Will Rosson is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at will.rosson@sckans.edu.

Edited by Paige Carswell