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NCAA Eligibility Requirements for Student-Athletes

NCAA eligibility requirements

While eligibility requirements have been loosened for the class of 2021 and 2022, it is unknown what the requirements will be for the class of 2023 and beyond. Read on to see an example of typical requirements from previous years to better understand what we may expect again after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic subsides. 

The NCAA determines a student-athlete’s eligibility based on their academic preparedness and amateurism status. Academic eligibility is typically determined using a combination of their SAT/ACT test scores, high school coursework and their GPA as calculated using what are called the “NCAA Core Courses.”

Keep in mind that the NCAA loosened initial eligibility restrictions for student-athletes who intend to play D1 or D2 sports for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. Student-athletes graduating high school in 2021 or 2022 who intend to compete at a D1 or D2 college are no longer required to take the ACT or SAT. They are also allowed to use pass/fail grades for core courses. Your amateurism status is determined based on the answers to your amateurism certificate. In extreme cases, the NCAA will investigate your amateurism status.

NCAA academic requirements


For 75 percent of college student-athletes, they will have no issue meeting the academic minimums laid out by the NCAA. That said, just because you are a good student doesn’t mean you can assume you will meet the academic eligibility rules. Every year, student-athletes with 3.5+ GPAs and honors courses are declared academically ineligible due to not meeting one of the following NCAA eligibility requirements.

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NCAA amateurism requirements

The cornerstone of the amateurism rules is that student-athletes are not allowed to have received prize money (beyond the reimbursement for participation); they can’t have signed a contract with or receive benefits from an agent; they can’t receive money for promotion of products or services; and they are not allowed to make money by use of their athletic ability or fame. Additionally, student-athletes are prohibited from delaying their full-time collegiate enrollment to compete in organized sports.

Insider Tip: The NCAA does not answer questions about what you can and can’t do regarding amateurism. If you have questions about maintaining your amateurism status, you can get more information on our amateurism rules page.

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Division I eligibility requirements

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Division II eligibility requirements

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Division III eligibility requirements

Division III schools are responsible for setting their own academic eligibility rules. If you are going to be competing for a DIII institution, or if you are unsure what division level you’ll be competing at, you can start with a free NCAA Profile page. If you do decide to pursue a DI or DII program, you can always transition to a Certification Account later.

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Academic status: What your academic status with the NCAA means

The NCAA will only review an athlete’s eligibility status if their status has been requested by a DI or DII college. This process will begin once you graduate high school, complete a minimum of 16 core courses—with a minimum 2.3 GPA average in these courses—and earn a qualifying ACT or SAT test score. If you’re graduating high-school in 2021 or 2022, the NCAA is no longer requiring ACT or SAT test scores or a minimum GPA. However, you must still pass your core courses.

You also need to request your final amateurism certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center. Once the NCAA reviews your account, they will assign you an “Academic Status.” Here are the various statuses you could receive and what they mean:

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