The NCAA has changed its standards for college-bound athletes to receive initial eligibility as a freshman, effective with the incoming class for the fall of 2016. Specifically, the NCAA has established two separate sets of admission requirements: one that allows athletes to practice and receive a scholarship under an academic redshirt, and one that allows an athlete to compete.
Notably, these new requirements to compete are significantly more challenging. Specifically, in the 16 required “core courses” on the high school schedule, an athlete will need a 2.3 GPA to compete as a freshman, whereas the previous standard of 2.0 will allow an athlete just to practice and receive a scholarship. The 16 core classes for Division I are below (Division II is similar, except that it allows for some flexibility in taking extra math or science courses):
- 4 years English,
- 3 years math at Algebra I level or higher,
- 2 years natural or physical science (one lab if offered by any school attended);
- 1 year additional English, math or natural/physical science;
- 2 years social science; and
- 4 years additional from areas above or foreign language, philosophy or comparative religion.
Previously, an athlete with a high enough SAT or ACT score could be eligible to compete immediately with as-low-as a 2.0 GPA in the above core courses. The sliding scale, outlined below with both the old and new standards, offers the minimum test scores required dependent on an athlete’s GPA in high school to compete and receive a scholarship as a freshman. As the charts show, the test scores needed to receive a scholarship beginning in 2016 are largely the same as what is required to compete today. However, the test scores needed to compete immediately has gotten drastically more difficult.
For example, an athlete with a 2.75 GPA in the core classes (mostly B’s with a few C’s) used to be able to compete immediately with a 720 GPA. Now that same athlete will need a 900 on the SAT (on the math and reading sections only) to be on a competitive roster right away, or they will have to sit out their first year.
Further, under the new rules, athletes must complete 10 of these 16 courses prior to their senior year of high school, and at least 7 in math, science, or English. These 10 courses become locked in, meaning that athletes can not retake them as seniors in an attempt to improve their grade point average.
These standards are being announced very early to allow this year’s incoming freshmen to adapt, so this is an opportunity for parents , administrators and athletes in this coming year’s high school freshman class to prepare early.
Learn more from the NCAA Eligibility Center.
|Sliding Scale Prior to 8/1/2016||New Standards 8/1/2016|
|Core GPA||SAT||ACT||GPA for Aid||GPA for Comp.||SAT||ACT|
|3.55 & above||400||37||3.55||4||400||37|