ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS FOR NCAA AND NAIA Eligibility
Congratulations! You have been rewarded for your individual athletic ability with a sports scholarship offer from one of your desired colleges. The big question is do you meet the NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association) and NAIA (The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) academic requirements for eligibility to enroll after accepting your scholarship offer.
Both the NCAA and NAIA have certain academic requirements that students need to meet in order to both study and participate at their chosen college. From NCAA Core-Courses to calculating your GPA and meeting SAT standards are all important aspects one needs to consider when completing your college admissions application.
The NCAA does not use the GPA listed on your report cards; instead they calculate your GPA using only NCAA-approved core courses. Every year, student-athletes from around the world are declared academically ineligible, not because they didn’t have the grades to achieve the minimum GPA, but instead took the wrong high school courses and didn’t know it until it was too late.
What is a GPA?
GPA stands for your “Grade Point Average” and is calculated from your grade nine to grade 12 high school marks on a sliding scale of 4.0
To calculate quality points, letter grades are awarded the following point totals:
- A: 4 points (80%-100%)
- B: 3 points (60% – 79%)
- C: 2 points (50% – 59%)
- D: 1 point (40% – 49%)
- F: 0 point (0% – 39%)
What is the SAT?
The SAT stands for “Scholastic Assessment Test” and is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It consists of three multiple-choice sections which include; Reading, Writing, Math, and an optional essay section. The SAT is scored out of 1600 points, with 800 points for the Reading and Writing section and 800 for the Math section. Important to note that the essay section doesn’t impact your overall score.
NCAA Eligibility Basic Requirements:
Not only do you need to graduate from high school, but also make sure you have the correct core courses. The NCAA Core Courses differ between Division I and Division II, you must complete 16 core courses in order to earn NCAA academic eligibility and enroll at your chosen school. It’s important to note that 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed for NCAA academic eligibility before your senior year of high school.
NCAA Division I Core Courses
- 4 years of English.
- 3 years of Math (Algebra 1 or higher).
- 2 years of Natural or Physical Science.
- 1 extra year of English, Math, or Natural or Physical Science.
- 2 years of Social Science.
- 4 years of extra core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy).
NCAA Division II Core Courses
- 3 years of English.
- 2 years of Math (Algebra 1 or higher).
- 2 years Natural or Physical Science.
- 3 additional years of English, Math, or Natural or Physical Science.
- 2 years of Social Science.
- 4 years of extra core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy)
What GPA and SAT 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 score. You will need a 2.20 GPA and 840 SAT score to be eligible at the Division II level. Although there is a sliding scale these are the bare minimum requirements. N.B. These still do not guarantee you admissions into the university of your choice.
Maintaining NCAA eligibility during College
Once you are in college you will still be required to maintain your academic standards throughout your years of study. Below is a rough breakdown of the academic requirements once you are in college:
- Start of your sophomore year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 1.8 and completed 36 units.
- At the end of your sophomore year, you must declare a major.
- Start of your junior year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 1.9 and completed 72 units.
- Start of your senior year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and completed 108 units.
- Start of your fifth year, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and completed 144 units.
NAIA Eligibility Basic Requirements:
Making sure you graduate from high school and meeting two of the following requirements are some of the basic standards for the NAIA. However, if you fail to meet two of the three requirements, you will not be allowed to participate in athletics for the first full year of college attendance.
- Achieve a minimum of 860 on the SAT.
- Achieve a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0
- Graduate in the top half of your high school class.
Not sure if you on track to becoming eligible? Connect with BRUSA Sports and we will guide you in the right direction.