What is initial eligibility and why is it so important? Initial eligibility certifies prospective student-athletes meet NCAA academic and amateurism guidelines. Prospective student-athletes cannot participate in any Division I or II sport without this certification.
Who must complete the initial eligibility process? College-bound student-athletes who want to practice, compete and receive athletically-related financial aid during their first year at a Division I or II school must be certified as eligible. The NCAA also has guidelines for certifying two-year college student-athletes.
What are the test score requirements? Division I uses a sliding scale combining the core-course grade-point average (GPA) and SAT/ACT test scores. Lower core-course GPAs must be balanced by higher test scores and vice versa. After August 15, 2016, prospective Division I student-athletes must meet increased standards. For example, an SAT score of 1000 will have to be balanced with a 2.5 GPA instead of the current 2.025 GPA. Division II requires a minimum SAT score of 820 for the critical reading and math sections only or a minimum ACT sum score of 68.
If an eligible student-athlete is offered a scholarship, does this guarantee he or she will be admitted to the college? Being certified as eligible does not mean a student-athlete is automatically accepted to a certain school, even if the school’s athletics department is offering a scholarship. Every school has unique admission requirements.
Does the NCAA require a minimum high school GPA? Yes. Student-athletes must have at least a 2.0 GPA for core courses to be eligible in Divisions I and II. After August 15, 2016, prospective Division I student-athletes must earn at least a 2.3 GPA in core courses to be certified eligible.
What does it take to be certified as eligible? Divisions I and II student-athletes must be high school graduates who complete a required number of core courses with a minimum GPA and achieve a qualifying SAT or ACT test score. College-bound student-athletes must also meet NCAA amateurism regulations.
What is a core course and how many must student-athletes complete? High school core courses are primarily English, math, foreign language, social studies and science classes with an emphasis on college preparation. To play in Division I, high school graduates must complete 16 core courses. To play in Division II, high school graduates must currently complete 14 core courses, but that will increase to 16 core courses in 2013.
What are the amateurism requirements? College-bound student-athletes who would like to compete at Divisions I and II schools need to preserve their eligibility by adhering to NCAA amateurism requirements. During the online registration process at eligibilitycenter.org, prospective student-athletes must answer several questions about their sports participation history.