The NCAA carefully evaluates student-athletes’ academic eligibility, and approval from the NCAA Eligibility Center is required for all Division I and Division II athletes. Prospective DI and DII players don’t have to contact the Eligibility Center until the fall of their senior year. As a sophomore or junior, however, you, your parents, and your guidance counselor should sit down and assess your high school curriculum to make sure that you will satisfy the Eligibility Center’s core course requirements. It all sounds very complicated, but the good news is that the graduation requirements of most high schools usually satisfy the requirements of the Eligibility Center. To be sure, however, you should discuss this with your guidance counselor.
NCAA ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
The NCAA Eligibility Center bases academic eligibility on your high school coursework, grades, and standardized test scores. The general requirements for Division I are outlined below. Division II requirements are slightly different. Consult official Eligibility Center literature for more specifics.
Official NCAA Eligibility Requirements Links:
Division I – http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/play-division-i-sports
Division II – http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/play-division-ii-sports
Division III – http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/play-division-iii-sports
NCAA ELIGIBILITY TIMING
Early in your high school career make sure that you will fulfill the core course requirements. Before the fall of your senior year, about the time you begin working on your college applications, you must submit an Initial Eligibility form to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Submit the designated documents from the form to your high school, which must send your transcript directly to the Eligibility Center. After your senior year, submit a Final Eligibility form, which proves to the NCAA that you graduated.
DIVISION III ELIGIBILITY
NCAA Division III athletes do not have to register with the Eligibility Center. This does not mean that Division III schools are lenient about academics. All NCAA student-athletes, regardless of division, are required to meet a set of academic requirements. The difference with Division III is that the eligibility standards are not universal. Division III conferences and colleges set their own academic standards. In many cases, these standards are actually higher than those of the Eligibility Center. Check with individual schools for more details.
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