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Case Study: National Collegiate Athletic Association

Ricoh Digital Imaging Services gets a win for speeding transcript processing with the NCAA eligibility center.

About The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulates athletes of college institutions, conferences, organizations, and individuals. Each year, high school athletes who want to take their talents to college send in their transcripts to the NCAA. The NCAA receives about 100,000 transcripts a year, the bulk of which arrive in summer. The process of receiving, reviewing and managing these transcripts must maintain the utmost integrity, as the association is handling sensitive student information.

It used to take up to a week for a transcript to become visible with the previous onsite solution. Now, it’s visible within 48 hours.


The NCAA receives about 100,000 transcripts a year, mostly in the summer months, and the staff wants to make sure the process maintains the utmost integrity. This information comes in many different forms — paper, fax, electronic — all of which needs to be entered, tracked and indexed into the NCAA’s back-end system on a timely basis.

Typically, it took five to seven days from receipt of transcripts to visibility within the NCAA’s public-facing system. That’s because once the document reached the center, the transcript had to be scanned and indexed and then manually matched with the correct student athletes.

The NCAA wanted to speed turnaround times on processing and maintain document integrity, as well as adequately staff up during summer spikes in their workload.


For improved document processing efficiency, increased turnaround time and reduced costs, off-site processing with Ricoh's Digital Imaging Services was the answer.

With both electronic and paper-based transcripts coming in at various volumes (20,000 in summer months and 4,000 in non-summer months), the NCAA challenged us to come up with a better way for them to process these transcripts.

In any given year, it is unknown how many students will register with the eligibility center and seek certification through the NCAA. Consequently, the NCAA estimates that nearly 65% of their volume costs are variable.

We recommended offsite processing with Ricoh's Digital Imaging Services, which could improve document processing efficiency, increase turnaround time and reduce costs by:

  • Aligning cost with volume of documents processed.

  • Reducing onsite mail staff and processing equipment.

  • Decreasing follow-up call volumes.

  • Aligning their paper-based workflow with their established e-transcript process.

The NCAA agreed to a six-month pilot program with us, where we were able to demonstrate the process and how we could better meet their document needs. We showed the NCAA that when we moved these documents to our offsite processing facility, our staff would follow rigorous chain-of-custody protocols to ensure the integrity of each transcript — from the time it leaves the eligibility center to the time it’s processed and delivered. We were able to demonstrate our secure and seamless automated processes for scanning, indexing and classifying each transcript. We even proved that this new process could accommodate the necessary file format and upload requirements as the eligibility center migrated to SharePoint® as the repository where all transcript information would live.

Four months into the six-month pilot program, the NCAA was pleased with the service. They selected us to take over transcript processing just before the busy summer months. Nearly all transcripts from that day forward were sent to our document processing center. 


Because of the NCAA's high variance in volume between summer and non-summer months, we did away with their onsite processing model, which required fixed costs for staff and technology. Instead, we suggested an offsite processing and price per consumption model. With this model in place, we were successfully able to align cost with demand. If demand drops, so does cost. If demand spikes, costs will go up.

We were also able to speed up the paperwork process and increase efficiency. It used to take up to a week for a transcript to become visible with the previous onsite solution. Now, it’s visible within 48 hours. And these transcripts are automatically matched to the student athletes — eliminating a highly manual process that added steps and time.

There’s no longer a division between processing paper and e-transcripts at the NCAA. We handle both forms, delivering digitized paper records to the NCAA in one batch and electronic records in another. Both batches are then seamlessly uploaded by the NCAA — along with their corresponding indexed CVS file — into their database to make the information quickly visible to students and school personnel.

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