The lines between what exactly an amateur skater is and what exactly a professional figure skater is have changed.
Amateur figure skaters are really eligible figure skaters. Eligible means these skaters qualify to participate fully in the activities of U.S. Figure Skating and in the activities of the International Skating Union.
Eligible figure skaters may receive pay for coaching and compete in sanctioned competitions which offer prize money. An eligible skater is really what once was an amateur figure skater.
An ineligible figure skater is an ice skater who has lost eligibility. He or she may have performed in an event that was not permitted under the rules. Ineligible skaters cannot compete in most sanctioned competitions or in the Olympics. Ineligible skaters may compete in professional events and in some competitions and exhibitions.