NCAA Academic Requirements for Freshman Eligibility

Congratulations! You have been rewarded for your athletic performance with a scholarship offer to the school of your dreams. But do you meet the NCAA academic requirements for eligibility to enroll after signing your National Letter of Intent? Athnet is here to answer all the questions you may have regarding your NCAA academic eligibility to ensure you do meet the NCAA academic requirements for college recruitment.

Quick Links

How to determine NCAA academic eligibility What are the Division 1 academic requirements?
What are the NCAA course requirements? What are the NCAA GPA requirements for D1, D2, D3?
How does the NCAA calculate core-course GPA? What SAT and ACT scores do you need?
How to use the NCAA sliding scale NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 Sliding Scales
NAIA academic eligibility Timeline for NCAA academic eligibility
How to maintain NCAA academic eligibility Division 1 NCAA academic eligibility
Division 2 NCAA academic eligibility Division 3 NCAA academic eligibility

How is NCAA academic eligibility determined?

You need to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center to compete at a Division 1 or Division 2 school. Create a Certification Account and the will guide you through the process of eligibility certification in accordance with the NCAA academic requirements listed above. You can also create a free Profile Page if you plan to compete at a Division 3 school or have yet to decide where you want to compete.

What are the NCAA Division 1 academic requirements?

The following NCAA academic requirements are in place for all prospective student-athletes who wish to receive an athletic scholarship to compete in NCAA Division 1 sports. Likewise, 99% of student-athletes who meet NCAA academic requirements for D1 athletics will meet NCAA academic eligibility standards at other division levels.

Below are the NCAA Division 1 academic requirements:

  • You must graduate high school.
  • You must complete 16 NCAA-approved core courses.
  • You must complete 10 core courses before your seventh semester (senior year), including seven in English, math or natural/physical science. Once you begin your seventh semester, you may not repeat or replace any of those 10 courses to improve your core-course GPA.
  • You must earn at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses that are outlined the NCAA academic requirements.
  • You must earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the NCAA sliding scale for Division 1, which balances your test score and core-course GPA.

What are the NCAA core course requirements?

While the specific NCAA course requirements vary slightly between Division 1 and Division 2, you must complete 16 core courses in order to earn NCAA academic eligibility and enroll at your school of choice. Be aware that 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed for NCAA academic eligibility before your seventh semester (senior year) of high school. There are no NCAA course requirements for Division 3 eligibility as you must simply meet the admissions standards for the institution you wish to attend to compete with full eligibility in accordance with the NCAA academic requirements.

NCAA Division 1 core course requirements:

  • Four years of English
  • Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it)
  • One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
  • Two years of social science
  • Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy

NCAA Division 2 core course requirements:

  • Three years of English
  • Two years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • Two years of natural or physical science (including one years of lab science if your high school offers it)
  • Three additional years of English, math or natural/physical science
  • Two years of social science
  • Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy

What are the NCAA GPA requirements for an athletic scholarship in each division?

In order to receive full NCAA academic eligibility to compete your freshman year, you must achieve at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses for Division 1 and a 2.2 GPA for Division 2 to fulfill the NCAA GPA requirements. There are no set NCAA GPA requirements for Division 3 as schools set their own admissions standards you must meet in order to compete. These GPA standards are outlined in the overall NCAA academic requirements.

The lowest GPA you can maintain and still receive an athletic scholarship as a partial qualifier at a Division 1 or Division 2 institution is a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, you would not be cleared to compete in your first year while receiving an academic redshirt.

GPA requirements to receive NCAA academic eligibility will vary based on the NCAA sliding scale that factors in your best SAT combined score or ACT sum score, according to the NCAA academic requirements. It’s important that you maintain the NCAA GPA requirements for NCAA academic eligibility to maximize your recruitment and earn an athletic scholarship.

How is your GPA calculated?

Your GPA used to determine NCAA academic eligibility will be calculated using only your 16 approved core courses outlined in the NCAA academic requirements. As stated on NCAA.org, your core-course GPA will be calculated on a 4.000 scale. One academic semester for a class counts for 0.5 of a core course credit, while one academic trimester of a class counts for 0.34 of a core course credit. You receive 1.0 course credit for any class taken for a period of one year or longer.

NCAA Division I and Division II Core-Course GPA Worksheet

In order to calculate your estimated core-course GPA to ensure you remain on track to meet NCAA GPA requirements for academic eligibility, divide the total number of quality points for all your core courses by the total number of core-course units you have completed. Multiply the points for each grade you have received by the amount of credit you have earned for each class to determine quality points.

To calculate quality points, letter grades are awarded the following point totals:

  • A: 4 points
  • B: 3 points
  • C: 2 points
  • D: 1 point

For core courses in which you earn an A, for example, you receive 4.00 quality points for a full-year course (4 points x 1.00 units). Additionally, you receive 2.00 quality points for a semester course in which you earn an A grade (4 points x 0.50 units), as well as 1.36 quality points for a trimester course in which you also earn an A grade (4 points x 0.34 units). You will use the same calculations to determine quality points earned for B, C and D grades, according to the NCAA academic requirements.

What SAT or ACT scores do you need? How are they calculated?

Use the NCAA sliding scale to determine the exact SAT combined score or ACT sum score you need to earn NCAA academic eligibility relative to your core-course GPA. The SAT combined score is calculated by simply adding the reading and math subscores. The ACT sum score is calculated by the English, math, reading and science subscores on the test.

You may take either the SAT or ACT as many times as you would like before enrolling at the college of your choice. According to the NCAA academic requirements, your best subscores from each test will be used to determine your combined score to meet NCAA SAT requirements or ACT sum score, no matter how many times you take the test.

The NCAA Sliding Scale: What is it? How do you use it to determine eligibility?

The NCAA sliding scale allows you to determine the necessary SAT combined score or ACT sum score you will need along with your core-course GPA to earn NCAA academic eligibility to a Division 1 or Division 2 school as a college freshman. The term “sliding scale” simply means that your required test score will vary depending on your core-course GPA, which must be at least a 2.300 to meet the NCAA Division 1 academic requirements or a 2.200 to meet the NCAA Division 2 academic requirements.

For example, if you graduate high school with exactly a 2.300 GPA in your core courses, you must have at least a 980 combined score to meet the NCAA SAT requirements or a 75 ACT sum score in order to meet the NCAA academic requirements for Division 1. Likewise, if you feature a stronger 3.000 core-course GPA, you can afford a lower test score and receive NCAA academic eligibility with a 720 SAT combined score or 52 ACT sum score. The NCAA sliding scale does vary slightly for Division 2 eligibility as you can see from the charts below.

NCAA Division I Sliding Scale

Use for Division I beginning August 1, 2016

GPA
for Aid and Practice
GPA
for Competition
SAT ACT
3.550 4.000 400 37
3.525 3.975 410 38
3.500 3.950 420 39
3.475 3.925 430 40
3.450 3.900 440 41
3.425 3.875 450 41
3.400 3.850 460 42
3.375 3.825 470 42
3.350 3.800 480 43
3.325 3.775 490 44
3.300 3.750 500 44
3.275 3.725 510 45
3.250 3.700 520 46
3.225 3.675 530 46
3.200 3.650 540 47
3.175 3.625 550 47
3.150 3.600 560 48
3.125 3.575 570 49
3.100 3.550 580 49
3.075 3.525 590 50
3.050 3.500 600 50
3.025 3.475 610 51
3.000 3.450 620 52
2.975 3.425 630 52
2.950 3.400 640 53
2.925 3.375 650 53
2.900 3.350 660 54
2.875 3.325 670 55
2.850 3.300 680 56
2.825 3.275 690 56
2.800 3.250 700 57
2.775 3.225 710 58
2.750 3.200 720 59
2.725 3.175 730 60
2.700 3.150 740 61
2.675 3.125 750 61
2.650 3.100 760 62
2.625 3.075 770 63
2.600 3.050 780 64
2.575 3.025 790 65
2.550 3.000 800 66
2.525 2.975 810 67
2.500 2.950 820 68
2.475 2.925 830 69
2.450 2.900 840 70
2.425 2.875 850 70
2.400 2.850 860 71
2.375 2.825 870 72
2.350 2.800 880 73
2.325 2.775 890 74
2.300 2.750 900 75
2.275 2.725 910 76
2.250 2.700 920 77
2.225 2.675 930 78
2.200 2.650 940 79
2.175 2.625 950 80
2.150 2.600 960 81
2.125 2.575 970 82
2.100 2.550 980 83
2.075 2.525 990 84
2.050 2.500 1000 85
2.025 2.475 1010 86
2.000 2.450 1020 86
2.425 1030 87
2.400 1040 88
2.375 1050 89
2.350 1060 90
2.325 1070 91
2.300 1080 93

NCAA Division 2 Sliding Scale

Core GPA SAT ACT
3.300+ 400 37
3.275 410 38
3.250 430 39
3.225 440 40
3.200 460 41
3.175 470 41
3.150 490 42
3.125 500 42
3.100 520 43
3.075 530 44
3.050 550 44
3.025 560 45
3.000 580 46
2.975 590 46
2.950 600 47
2.925 620 47
2.900 630 48
2.875 650 49
2.850 660 49
2.825 680 50
2.800 690 50
2.775 710 51
2.750 720 52
2.725 730 52
2.700 740 53
2.675 750 53
2.650 750 54
2.625 760 55
2.600 770 56
2.575 780 56
2.550 790 57
2.525 800 58
2.500 810 59
2.475 820 60
2.450 830 61
2.425 840 61
2.400 850 62
2.375 860 63
2.350 860 64
2.325 870 65
2.300 880 66
2.275 890 67
2.250 900 68
2.225 910 69
2.200 920 70 & above

NAIA Academic Eligibility

Prospective student-athletes looking to continue their athletic and academic pursuits at an NAIA school have different eligibility standards they must meet from those we’ve outlined in the NCAA academic requirements. Not only must you graduate from an accredited high school and be accepted as a regular student in good standing at an NAIA institution, but you must also meet two of the three requirements outlined below to earn NAIA academic eligibility.

NAIA freshman eligibility requires at least two of these three requirements:

  • You must meet the test score requirement, which is a minimum score of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT. Only critical reading and math sections are considered on the SAT.
  • You must graduate from high school with at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The accepts the GPA calculation your high school provides.
  • You must graduate in the top 50 percent of your high school class.

The NAIA now requires that you sign up with the NAIA Eligibility Center in order to certify your freshman eligibility at one of its member institutions. Sign up today and get started!

NCAA Academic Eligibility Timeline

NCAA.org suggests following the timeline below in order to fulfill the NCAA academic requirements and earn your academic eligibility at the school of your choice. This is a proposed timeline for prospective student-athletes for both Division 1 and Division 2 to ensure you remain on track to meet the NCAA academic requirements for freshman eligibility.

Grade 9

  • Meet with your guidance counselor and receive a list of your high school’s NCAA core courses to ensure you are set up to take the right classes for NCAA academic eligibility.

Grade 10

Grade 11

  • Meet with your guidance counselor again to make sure you will graduate on time and meet the NCAA course requirements.
  • Take the SAT or ACT for the first time and submit your official test scores to the NCAA using code 9999.
  • After completing your junior year of high school, ask your guidance counselor to upload your official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Grade 12

  • Complete your final core courses needed to meet the NCAA course requirements.
  • Take the SAT or ACT again, if needed, and submit your latest scores to the NCAA using code 9999.
  • Complete all academic and amateurism questions in your NCAA Eligibility Center profile.
  • Upon graduation from your high school, ask your counselor to once upload your final official transcript with proof of graduation to the NCA Eligibility Center.

Maintaining NCAA academic eligibility

As you might expect, there are also NCAA academic requirements in place once you are enrolled as a college athlete. The NCAA grants Division 1 student-athletes five years of eligibility and athletically-related financial aid and Division 2 student-athletes 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment to complete four competitive seasons.

NCAA Division 1 academic eligibility:

  • Remain on track to graduate from your institution while completing a minimum of 40 percent of your required coursework for a degree by the end of your second year, 60 percent by the end of your third year and 80 percent by the end of your fourth year.
  • Complete a minimum of six credit hours each academic term to remain academically eligible for the following term while meeting the minimum GPA requirements according to the school’s GPA standards for graduation.

NCAA Division 2 academic requirements:

  • Complete 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours of degree credit each academic year to meet the NCAA academic requirements for continued eligibility. This includes a minimum of 18 semester hours and 27 quarter hours between the start of fall classes and spring graduation. You can also complete a maximum of six semester hours and nine quarter hours during summer school. At least nine semester hours and eight quarter hours must be completed each full-time term to remain academically eligible for the following term.
  • Earn at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA each year to remain academically eligible.

NCAA Division 3 academic eligibility requirements:

  • Remain in good academic standing with your school and make adequate progress toward your degree.
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester or quarter hours at all times.
  • NCAA Division 3 academic eligibility requirements do not include a minimum national standard for maintaining competitive eligibility. These are the minimum NCAA academic requirements for Division 3 eligibility.

As outlined above, NCAA.org provides you with comprehensive guides to ensure you remain on track to meet the NCAA academic eligibility guidelines for the Division 1 and Division 2 school of your choice. In addition, Division 3 academic eligibility requirements are independent of the overall NCAA academic requirements as schools feature their own admission standards you will need to meet in order to maintain your eligibility.

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Sign up today with your FREE profile and start taking advantage of Athnet’s resources for your college recruitment as you work to meet the NCAA academic requirements. We are here to answer all the major recruiting questions you may have during this process. Contact Athnet directly by email, phone and using our social media networks on Facebook and Twitter. Now is the time to take advantage of the No. 1 recruiting network on the web and take control of your college recruitment.


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