What is a PSA?

A PSA is a term used in the NCAA to describe a prospective student-athlete. You are considered a prospective student-athlete once you have entered the ninth grade.

When can a PSA contact an NCEA team?

A PSA can contact a coach at any time by phone. If you do not reach a coach and leave a message, the coach can only return the call if it is after July 1 of the PSA’s rising senior year of high school. Getting answers back through emails is broader, a coach may respond to a PSA through email after Sept. 1 of her junior year of high school.

What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center is a clearinghouse for all NCAA schools to certify your initial freshman eligibility both academically and athletically. It evaluates your academic record and your amateurism status.

If a PSA is thinking of joining an NCEA team, when should she register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?

A PSA should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center once their ACT/SAT tests are taken, even if the PSA has not contacted any colleges about their Equestrian programs. You can registrar at www.ncaaeligibilitycenter.org. Registration is required before any official visits can occur.

Is a PSA allowed to win prize money at horse shows?

Under NCAA rules, athletes must be certified as an NCAA amateur athlete. The NCAA’s amateur status is determined differently from USEF’s, AQHA’s, ApHA’s, and other equestrian competitive associations’ definitions. PSAs will be classified as amateurs if the prize money won any given year prior to college does not exceed the amount of expenses incurred that year. Examples of those expenses include: entry fees, meals, lodging, stall fees, feed, trainer expenses, and gasoline and hauling expenses. PSAs that compete in the lucrative jumper divisions (or the newly-formed USHJA Hunter Derbies and/or other high-level classics) are advised, from the 9th grade forward, to keep well-organized records and detailed receipts of their earnings and expenses. If a PSA is determined to seek a spot on an Equestrian team in college, she is urged to keep an ongoing close eye on the balance between those two columns. PSAs who compete at the higher levels might consider the viable option of requesting a reduced payout of prize money at any given show, an amount that does not exceed her expenses. (Horse show secretaries are becoming more aware of the NCAA rules that affect PSA Equestrian athletes).

LIFE OF AN ATHELETE

How many times do student athletes practice per week?

Typically, student-athletes practice on average three times per week, though each program has its own policies. Coaches build a practice schedule and assign student-athletes a different horse to ride at each practice. Because of the competition format, it is important for student-athletes to ride different horses for practice.

What type of horses do you ride?

Most equine athletes at NCAA Equestrian programs have previous extensive show careers. Western horses are predominately Quarter Horses and Paints. Hunter Seat horses consist of “A” Circuit quality Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods.

What other activities are mandatory for student-athletes?

Equestrian student-athletes have additional responsibilities in addition to riding. As with other sports, all athletes are required to participate in team strength and conditioning sessions. Each program has its own policies, but most programs work with strength and conditioning coaches three times per week. Academics is also an important component of being a student-athlete. Most programs require incoming freshmen to log study hours their first semester. Study hours are a way to ensure that student-athletes are setting aside time each week to study so that they academically remain eligible. Often, study hours are reduced for good grades and are reassessed and assigned based on the student-athlete’s GPA. Most athletic departments have team community service involvement requirements as well. In addition, Equestrian student-athletes can have other requirements that include team meetings, stable chores, competition preparation, and fund raising events.