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College Athletic Eligibility

NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)

The NCAA is the athletic governing body for more than 1000 colleges and universities. The member colleges and universities develop the rules and guidelines for athletic eligibility and competition for each of the three NCAA divisions: Division I, II and III. One of the differences between the divisions is that Division I colleges and universities may offer athletic scholarships, while Division III colleges and universities do not. For more information about the NCAA and its members, please visit www.ncaa.org

The NCAA Eligibility Center www.eligibilitycenter.org certifies whether prospective student-athletes are eligible to play sports at Division I or II institutions by reviewing the student’s academic record, SAT or ACT scores and amateur status.

 

How to Register with the NCAA to begin eligibility process

The NCAA recommends that student-athletes register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at the beginning of their junior year in high school, but many students register after their junior year. There is not a registration deadline, but students must be cleared by the NCAA before they receive scholarships or compete at a Division I or II institution.

To register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, go to www.eligibilitycenter.org and create an account by clicking on the link to enter as an NCAA College-Bound Student-Athlete, then “New Account”. You will need to provide an email address, information about yourself, your coursework, your transcript, your test scores, and the sport you plan to participate in and payment. The fee is $70 for domestic students and $120 for international students. You are eligible for a fee waiver if you have already received a waiver for the SAT or ACT fee.


To send your SAT and/or ACT test scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center, use the NCAA Eligibility Center code “9999” as a score recipient when you register to take the SAT and/or ACT. This is important because the NCAA only accepts test scores sent from the testing agencies.

The NCAA Eligibility Center will also need your final transcript after you graduate.

Eligibility Requirements and Sliding Scale

Division I
If you want to receive a scholarship, practice and compete during your first year, you must:

  • Graduate from high school 
  • Complete these 16 core courses:
    4 years of English
    3 years of Math (Algebra I or higher)
    2 years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if offered by your high school)
    1 additional year of English, math or natural or physical science
    2 years of social science
    4 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy)
  • Earn a minimum required grade point average of 2.3 in your core classes; and
  • Earn a combined SAT (Critical Reading and Math sections only) or ACT sum score that matches your core course grade point average and test score on the sliding scale.

Students enrolling on or after August 1, 2016 will be required to complete 16 core courses (same distribution as in the past). Ten of the 16 core courses must be completed before the start of the seventh semester (senior year) of high school. Seven of the ten core courses must be English, Math or natural or physical science.

 

Division II
If you want to receive a scholarship, practice and compete during your first year, you must:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Complete these 16 core courses:
    3 years of English
    2 years of Math (Algebra I or higher)
    2 years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if offered by your high school)
    3 additional years of English, Math or natural or physical science
    2 years of social science
    4 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy)
  • Earn a 2.000 grade point average or better in your core courses; and
  • Earn a combined SAT score of 820 (Critical Reading and Math sections only) or an ACT sum score of 68

Division III
Division III college-bound student athletes are not certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Contact your Division III college or university admissions office regarding policies on admission, financial aid and athletics eligibility.

 

 

NAIA(National Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics)

The NAIA is the athletic governing body for nearly 300 colleges and universities who award more than $450 million in financial aid and compete in 23 national champtionships.

 

The NAIA Eligibility Center is responsible for determining the NAIA eligibility of first-time student-athletes. Every student interested in playing sports at NAIA colleges needs to register online at www.playnaia.org. The cost to register is $70 for students in the US and Canada and $120 for international students. Your eligibility will be determined based on your academic record and SAT or ACT scores. When you register for the SAT or ACT, included the NAIA Eligibility Center (9876) as a score recipient.

Even if you are already registered with the NCAA, you will also need to register with the NAIA if you are interested in playing sports at a NAIA college. The NCAA and NAIA are two separate associations, with different rules and certification processes.

Academic Eligibility Requirements

If you will graduate from high school this spring and enroll in college this coming fall, the requirements are high school graduation and two of the three following requirements:

  • Achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT (Critical Reading and Math only)
  • Achieve a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Graduate in the top half of your high school class