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The NCAA wants to make sure that incoming student-athletes, who come from all over the country and attend colleges that have different academic standards, meet certain academic requirements when they start college. That’s why the NCAA Eligibility Center has identified core courses that every student-athlete must complete. Normally, the core course GPA is combined with ACT/SAT test scores on a sliding scale to determine eligibility but changes due to COVID-19 have loosened standards. Reference this section to learn more about the new NCAA Eligibility Center standards.
Outside of graduating high school, prospective student-athletes need to meet certain NCAA eligibility requirements in order to be able to compete at the college level. Usually, this means taking certain required core courses and meeting minimum standards for a student’s GPA and ACT/SAT score.
The NCAA Eligibility Center extended its COVID-19 initial eligibility policies for student-athletes who initially enroll full-time during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. The NCAA is no longer requiring the SAT or the ACT for students who intend to compete at the Division 1 or Division 2 level. Eligibility will only be calculated based on NCAA core course GPA and the core course requirements. However, most student-athletes should still strongly consider taking the SAT or ACT as many—but not all—colleges will still require it for admissions into the college.
According to the NCAA, it has extended the loosened NCAA eligibility requirements due to the effects of COVID-19 and the “uncertainty in the educational environment.” This includes continued disruption in secondary education, health and safety concerns and potential standardized test cancellations.
For student-athletes enrolling in a Division 1 college in the 2021–22 or 2022-23 school year, NCAA eligibility rules require a 2.3 grade-point average in 16 NCAA core courses. Ten of those courses (seven in math, science and English) have to be completed by the seventh semester of high school.
For student-athletes enrolling in a Division 2 college in the 2021–22 or 2022-23 school year, NCAA eligibility rules require a 2.2 grade-point average in 16 NCAA core courses.
For international student-athletes enrolling in a Division 1 or Division 2 college in the 2021–22 or 2022-23 school year, NCAA eligibility rules require a 2.3 (D1) or 2.2 (D2) grade-point average in 16 NCAA core courses.
Students looking to check their core source GPA can use the core course worksheet to see where they stand.
Between NCAA eligibility center requirements, core courses and rules updates, there’s a lot to keep track of for athletes and families looking to compete at the college level. Fortunately, student-athletes can follow this helpful NCAA eligibility checklist that will help them stay organized and on-track for obtaining eligibility. It’s downloadable and breaks down steps that should be completed each year. For more help, reference these resources: