Student Personnel Services
A Guide for College-Bound Student Athletes

NCAA Freshman – Eligibility Standards

All students must register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse

The NCAA initial-eligibility rules have changed.

For students entering any Division I college or university, the student’s NCAA initial eligibility will be evaluated under the 16 core-course rule as described below:

 DIVISION I : 16 Core Courses
  • 4 years of english
  • 3 years of mathematics (algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if it is offered by high school)
  • 1 year of additional english, mathematics, or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional courses (from any area above or foreign language, nondoctrinal religion/philosophy)

 DIVISION II : 14 Core Courses
  • 3 years of English
  • 2 years of mathematics (algebra I or higher)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if it is offered by high school)
  • 2 years of additional English, mathematics, or natural/physical science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 3 years of additional courses (from any area above or foreign language, nondoctrinal religion/philosophy)

Please Note:
  • Computer Science courses may only be used for initial-eligibility purposes if the course receives graduation credit in mathematics or natural/physical science and is listed as such on the high school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses. Math Models with Applications is not recognized as a Core Course by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

  • The NCAA Division I Board approved sweeping rule changes. Here are the highlights as they pertain to Division I only:
    • Minimum GPA Raised to 2.30: Beginning with the the high school graduating class of 2016, the minimum core GPA for incoming college freshmen has been raised from 2.00 to 2.30. Student-athletes who graduate with a core GPA between 2.00 and 2.29 can still receive an athletic scholarship and practice with their teams, but cannot participate in game action as freshmen. A higher SAT/ACT sliding scale is expected to be released soon.
    • 10 Core Courses by Junior Year: Beginning with the graduating class of 2015, student-athletes will need to complete at least 10 of the 16 core course requirements by the end of their junior year.
    • Multi-Year Scholarships: Division I schools now have the option to guarantee athletic scholarships for more than one year. The guarantee would protect student-athletes from the loss of a scholarship due to injury or performance. Colleges could still revoke guaranteed scholarships for poor academic performance or behavioral reasons.

Other Important Information

  • The 2011-2012 Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete published by the NCAA states that “Courses completed through credit-by-exam may not be used” to meet core-course requirements. Please refer to the NCAA website for further information at http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/CBSA.pdf.
  • Student athletes who take online coursework may not meet core course requirements for NCAA eligibility. An audit of the course modules and the amount of time spent on each module may be a subject for review by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • In Division II, there is no sliding scale. The minimum core grade point average is 2.000. The minimum SAT score is 820 (Verbal and Math sections only) and minimum ACT sum score is 68.
  • The SAT combined score is based on the Verbal and Math sections only. The writing section will not be used.  
If you have questions about NCAA eligibility, please call the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Center toll free at: 877-262-1492.

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