Playing a collegiate sport has many benefits for students, including the availability of scholarships at NCAA member schools, access to the best trainers and training facilitiesand, at Division I and II schools, unlimited free meals on campus.
The perks that come with being an NCAA athlete are appealing to many high school students, but the NCAA wants to make sure that its student athletes are equally dedicated to academic pursuits. That’s why the NCAA has strict eligibility guidelines, and in fall 2016, those guidelines will demand even more from graduating high school seniors.
If you want to play an NCAA sport, check out the following tips:
Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
- The NCAA recommends student athletes register in Grade 10
Determine if your college of choice is Division I, II or III
- Division I schools tend to be larger than Division II or III schools, and offer a greater number of competitive sports, along with financial aid based on athletic ability. They also have the most stringent eligibility requirements
- Division II schools have lower eligibility requirements but offer very few full scholarships to athletes
- Division III schools do not offer athletics scholarships, and the individual school, not the NCAA, sets eligibility standards for athletes (students who wish to play Division III sports need not register with the NCAA Eligibility Center)
Review the SAT and ACT sliding scales
- A student with a high GPA and low SAT or ACT score may still meet NCAA guidelines, as may a student who performs well on those tests, yet has a low GPA
- Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, the Division I revised sliding scale increases the required test score for some students with GPAs between 2.000 and 2.675
- Sliding scales for Division II schools are set to change Aug. 1, 2018, relaxing GPA and test score requirements
Review core course requirements
- Division I schools require 16 core courses, including a minimum of four English courses and three math courses at th
e Algebra 1 level or higher
- If you do not graduate on time, only those courses you completed in your first eight semesters (four years) of high school apply toward your eligibility; however, if you graduate on time and you completed 10 of your core courses before your seventh semester, you may retake a course after graduation and use that grade to replace one of the six core-course grades received in semester 7 or 8.
If the steps involved in meeting eligibility requirements are difficult to understand, as your guidance counselor to help you plan which classes to take.