Today is the NCAA National Letter of Intent Signing Day. Thousands of young student-athletes today officially signed their contract for scholarship aid to their NCAA institution of choice. And yet, along with those thousands, there will be possibly thousands more very good players that did not have that opportunity today because they did not meet NCAA initial eligibility standards; they did not take care of business.
There are two things that will determine your initial NCAA eligibility coming out of high school. The first, as was discussed in my previous post on College Entrance Exams, is your score on your ACT or SAT test. The second factor that I will detail today is your GPA in what are classified as your Core Courses.
Neither your high school, nor the college you are entering determines your eligibility; an independent body called the NCAA Eligibility Center determines it. The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes who wish to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics. The NCAA Eligibility Center also determines what courses from your high school are classified as Core Courses. The Core Courses are very specific, essentially college prep courses, in Math, English, Science, and Social Studies.
As discussed in a previous post, NCAA Division I schools use a sliding scale to determine eligibility. The minimum in either a NCAA DI or DII school is a 2.0 GPA in 16 Core units. In the NCAA requirements for both the college entrance exam and the GPA in 16 Core units must be met. The NCAA initial eligibility guideline brochure can be downloaded here: NCAA Eligibility Requirements
- As mentioned previously, a minimum test score of 18 on the ACT or 860 SAT
- Overall high school GPA of 2.0 and
- Graduate in the top ½ of your high school class.
If an incoming student-athlete meets 2 out of the 3 requirements, they are eligible their freshman year at an NAIA institution.
The NAIA also has an NAIA Eligibility Center that you will need to register with prior to being certified for competition your freshman year.
In order to put yourself in a situation insuring you will meet either (or both) the NCAA or NAIA initial eligibility requirements, it is important that you make good progress through your high school career. Typically, student-athletes who find they have not met these requirements have not done the necessary work through the entirety of their high school years. Typically, they wait until it is too late to start planning. Here are some suggested steps from the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Freshmen and Sophomores
- Start planning now!
- Work hard to get the best grades possible.
- Take classes that match your high school’s List of NCAA Courses.
- The NCAA Eligibility Center will use only approved core courses to certify your initial eligibility.
- You can access and print your high school’s List of NCAA Courses at www.eligibilitycenter.org. Click the NCAA College- Bound Student-Athlete link to enter and then navigate to the “Resources” tab and select “U.S. Students” where you will find the link for the List of NCAA Courses.
- At the beginning of your sophomore year, complete your online registration at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
- If you fall behind, do not take short cuts. Classes you take must be four-year college preparatory and must meet NCAA requirements.
- Register to take the ACT, SAT or both and use the NCAA Eligibility Center code“9999”as a score recipient. Doing this sends your official score directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- Continue to take college prepratory courses. Double check to make sure the courses you have taken match your school’s List of NCAA Courses.
- Ask your high school counselor to send an official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center after completing your junior year.
- If you have attended more than one high school, the NCAA Eligibility Center will need official transcripts from all high schools attended. (The NCAA Eligibility Center does NOT accept faxed or emailed transcripts/test scores.) The NCAA Eligibility Center does accept transcripts electronically through Docufide/Parchment, e-Scrip Safe, ConnectEdu, National Transcript Center and Xap.
- Before registering for classes for your senior year, check with your high school counselor to determine the number of core courses that you need to complete your senior year.
- Take the ACT and/or SAT again, if necessary. The NCAA Eligibility Center will use the best scores from each section of the ACT or SAT to determine your best cumulative score.
- Continue to take college-preparatory courses.
- Check the courses you have taken to match your school’s List of NCAA Courses.
- Review your amateurism responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 (for fall enrollees) or October 1 (for spring enrollees).
- Continue to work hard to get the best grades possible.
- Graduate on time (in eight academic semesters).
- After graduation, ask your high school counselor to send your final transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center with proof of graduation. The NCAA Eligibility Center accepts transcripts electronically through Docufide/Parchment, e-Scrip Safe, ConnectEdu, National Transcript Center and Xap 6 COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT-ATHLETE
A very helpful document with all of this stuff can be downloaded here: Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete
Another source of information, especially to athletes in grades 8-11 is my recently launched YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process. The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.
Questions or Comments are always welcomed… I will answer! Just shoot me an email or leave a comment.
Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org