NCAA GPA Requirements
The NCAA does not use the GPA listed on your transcripts; instead, it calculates your GPA using only NCAA-approved core courses. Every year, student-athletes are declared academically ineligible, not because they didn’t have the grades to achieve the minimum GPA, but instead took the wrong courses and didn’t know it until it was too late.
We strongly suggest you meet with your high school counselor and go through the NCAA GPA Worksheet. Below we break down all the information you need to know to be prepared for that meeting.
Common scenarios to watch out for
- Assuming that because you have the GPA to be eligible in high school that you’re automatically NCAA eligible. Often times, recruits will take a few easier courses to pad their GPA, but those won’t be used to determine their core course GPA.
- Not passing a class early in high school and assuming you can make it up later – The NCAA “locks in” your first 10 core courses after your junior year of high school. 7 of these core courses must be in English, math or natural/physical science. If you failed or got a low grade in an important class early in high school, make sure you retake that class before the end of your junior year. This core course progression is required for D1 programs.
- Assuming that because you have good grades, you will be eligible – Many honors students will take advanced classes that might not be on the NCAA approved list for their school. Always double check with your high school counselor to make sure you are on track to be eligible.
- Your high school doesn’t have a list of NCAA-approved courses – If you are going to a nontraditional high school, your school might not have a list of NCAA-approved core courses. In this scenario, the NCAA will do a full academic review of your courses and conduct a high school account review.
- You’re an international student-athlete – other than Canadian providences, few schools outside of the U.S. have core-course lists. International student-athletes should review the NCAA’s Guide to International Academic Standards for Athletics Eligibility to make sure they remain eligible.
What GPA do you need to be eligible for the NCAA?
The minimum GPA you can have and still be NCAA eligible for DI is a 2.3 GPA and a 900 SAT or 75 ACT sum score. You will need a 2.20 GPA and a 840 SAT or 70 ACT sum score to be eligible at the Division II level. Ultimately, the minimum GPA you will need is dependent on where you fall on the NCAA sliding scale.Back to Top ^
How does the NCAA calculate GPA?
Only your core courses will be used when determining your GPA with the NCAA. There are 16 core courses, covering the subjects of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy. Each high school has its own list of NCAA approved core courses. Meet with your high school counselor to confirm your classes will meet the NCAA GPA requirements.
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Insider Tip: Use the core course calculator to determine your core course GPA.
Maintaining NCAA eligibility
There is another element to NCAA academic eligibility, and that is maintaining your eligibility once you are in college. While you should have the full support of your college's compliance office to ensure you maintain eligibility, here is a rough breakdown of the academic requirements once you are in college:
- have a cumulative GPA of 1.8
- have completed 36 units
- declare a major
- have a cumulative GPA of 1.9
- have completed 72 units (40 percent of your total degree requirements)
- have a cumulative GPA of 2.0
- have completed 108 units (60 percent of your degree requirements)
- have a cumulative GPA of 2.0
- have completed 144 units (80 percent of your degree requirements)