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NCAA - NCAA Eligibility Requirements

By NCAA | Published on: 2014 | Source: NCAA


To play Division I sports, you need to qualify academically. To meet the minimum requirements for Division I student-athletes enrolling in college in August 2016 or later you must:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Complete 16 Core Courses, including 10 before your seventh semester
  • Earn a minimum 2.300 Grade-Point Average in core courses to compete in your first year of college
  • Earn a combined SAT or ACT score that matches your core-course GPA on the sliding scale.

NCAA member schools require incoming student-athletes to build a foundation of high school courses that will best prepare them for the academic expectations in college.

  • To play Division I sports, you must earn 16 core courses.
  • Ten of them must be completed prior to the seventh semester. 
  • Those ten courses are “locked in” and can’t be retaken to improve the grade-point average.
  • Seven of those 10 must be a combination of English, math or physical science that fulfills the overall distribution requirements listed below.
  • If you don’t earn 10 courses before your seventh semester, you are still eligible to practice and receive a scholarship, but you can’t compete.
  • For a complete list of your high school’s NCAA core courses, visit


  • 4 years of English.
  • 3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).
  • 1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.
  • 2 years of social science.
  • 4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy).


Incoming student-athletes must present a grade-point average that predicts academic success at the collegiate level.

  • Beginning August 1, 2016, you must earn at least a 2.300 GPA in NCAA core courses to be eligible to compete in your first year of college.
  • To get a scholarship and practice, you must earn at least a 2.000 GPA in NCAA core courses.
  • Only courses that appear on your high school’s list of NCAA courses will be used to calculate your GPA for NCAA eligibility purposes.
  • For a complete list of your school’s courses, visit
  • Once ten core courses are “locked in” prior to the start of your seventh semester, you can’t take those classes over again to improve your GPA.
  • Division I uses a sliding scale to match test scores and core GPAs.( To see sliding scale go to article link on bottom of page)


Data show that while GPA is a better predictor of collegiate success than test scores, using the two in combination is the best method. The NCAA continues to emphasize GPA over test scores when assessing college preparedness.

  • Division I uses a sliding scale to match test scores and core-course grade-point averages to determine eligibility.
  • The NCAA uses only the critical reading and math SAT scores to determine eligibility. The writing score is not used.
  • The NCAA uses only the sum of English, math, reading and science ACT scores to determine eligibility.

Link to Article: NCAA - NCAA Eligibility Requirements