Academic eligibility is the most important aspect of the college recruiting process. If you are not eligible to play, athletic recruitment is almost impossible. You should start planning your academic eligibility in your first year of high school, whether you plan on becoming a Division I athlete, or attending an NAIA school.
This article will help inform you of what requirements are needed to become eligible to compete at the NCAA, NAIA, and Junior College levels in college. We suggest you set academic goals based on the schools you have on your target list. Those standards, combined with NCAA Division I requirements, will ensure you are eligible for all other levels of college as well.
If you struggle academically, focus on meeting the requirements of a specific division level that includes your target schools.
Create NCAA Profile
Register for a certified NCAA profile and receive your NCAA identification. This profile will be examined by the NCAA to assess your eligibility. You will also receive important information about the NCAA on the platform. If you are considering competing at Division I or Division II colleges, creating this account is mandatory.
The fees associated with a certified account are $90 for Domestic/Canada, and $150 for International students. There are fee waiver options available, for those in need.
You will need to complete 16 core courses to become NCAA eligible. Only specific high school classes are considered NCAA core courses. Find out which core courses are offered at your High School. Remedial classes, and classes completed through credit-by-exam will not be considered NCAA courses. High school classes completed before entering high school are excluded.
NCAA CORE COURSES:
ENGLISH: English 1-4, American Literature, Creative Writing
MATH: Algebra 1-3, Geometry, Statistics
NATURAL/PHYSICAL SCIENCE: Biology, Chemistry, Physics
SOCIAL SCIENCE: American History, Civics, Government
ADDITIONAL: Comparative Religion, Foreign Language 1-4
Core Course GPA
Using the classes mentioned previously, your eligibility is determined by your core course GPA, not your cumulative High School GPA. Division I eligibility requires students to have a minimum of a 2.3 GPA, while Division II requires a 2.0. Speak with a guidance counselor or a Podyum Recruitment Coach to ensure your GPA meets these requirements. You can also use the NCAA Core Course Worksheet to calculate your GPA.
Division III Eligibility
Division III schools each have their own individual eligibility requirements. You do not need a certified NCAA profile to attend Division III schools, so creating the free profile will be sufficient. You can always upgrade later, if you decide to attend a Division I or Division II school.
NAIA eligibility is a much less complicated process. There are two main requirements for NAIA eligibility:
1) Graduate from an accredited High School
2) Be accepted into the NAIA school of your choice. You need to meet regular entrance requirements for your chosen college.
Additional NAIA requirements (Meet 2 of the 3 options)
Minimum score of 18 on ACT or 860 on SAT (only Critical reading & Math sections)
High School GPA of 2.0 on 4.0 scale
Rank in the top 50
Register with NAIA Eligibility Center
To confirm your eligibility, you must create a profile with the NAIA Eligibility Center. There is a one-time fee associated with an NAIA profile which is $80 for Domestic/Canada, $125 for college transfer students, and $135 for International students.
JUNIOR COLLEGE ELIGIBILITY
Junior College eligibility only requires a student to be a High School graduate from an accredited school. You can also be eligible if you have completed an approved high school equivalency test, like the GED. Visit the NJCAA website for more Junior College eligibility information. Athletes who don’t meet NCAA or NAIA eligibility requirements can gain eligibility by competing at a junior college for two years, before transferring to a 4 year college.