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NCAA Eligibility Center
NCAA Eligibility Center

By Tom Kovic

The NCAA Eligibility Center is an organization that collaborates with the NCAA and is “charged” with the job to determine eligibility for all incoming Division I and Division II freshmen student-athletes. This is achieved through the evaluation of high school academic records and by calculating the core course GPA with standardized testing.

Each division has individual standards for entering freshmen and below is a brief description of how eligibility is determined:

In Division 1, freshmen athletes must meet minimum eligibility standards that are based on 3 factors: 1) core course grade point average, 2) standardized test score and 3) minimum academic requirement (16 core courses). The grade point average and standardized testing are calculated on a sliding scale. In addition, the grade point average must be determined by pre-approved core courses.

Division II eligibility standards work similarly to Division I, but utilize a simpler formula. All entering freshmen who wish to practice and compete must demonstrate 1) at least a 2.0 core course grade point average and 2) either a minimum SAT score of 820 (verbal and math), or a minimum score of 68 on the ACT. In addition, the grade point average must be determined by 14 pre-approved core courses.

Eligibility requirements to compete at the Division III level are determined differently and decided “internally.” Basically, once a student has been admitted to a Division III school he/she will be eligible to practice and compete.

The “core course requirement may seem a little confusing, but what the Eligibility Center is trying to accomplish is to be sure that prospects are taking the “meat and potato” high school academic coursework. Therefore, grades in courses such as art, music and physical education are NOT calculated in the core course GPA.

Registration with the Eligibility Center is a 2 step process and I encourage prospects and families to begin registration soon after junior year grades are in. The first step is painless and families can register online at www.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter. All you need is a credit card to pay the annual fee ($50.00) and it takes about 15 minutes to fill in your contact information. Final eligibility will be determined after the senior year grades are presented to the Eligibility Center.

Step 2 requires the prospect to work closely with the guidance counselor and/or college advisor in assisting the prospect through this process. The advisor will submit a form (Form 48H) to the NCAA Eligibility Center for the core course evaluation. (Only courses offered in the disciplines of English, math, social science and natural/physical science will be considered, along with additional academic courses. Final eligibility will be determined after the senior year grades are presented to the Eligibility Center.

Do not wait for your advisor to contact you to assist you with the Eligibility Center registration! Each student must complete and file an application to the NCAA EC. This application, along with current high school transcripts will be sent from the guidance office at the high school to the Eligibility Center. Show the advisor you are a willing team member and will assist in any way to facilitate the process.

Freshman eligibility is very important and should not be treated lightly. Considering the tremendous effort exerted by the prospect, family, college coach and high school administrators during this process, it would be in the best interest of the prospect to approach registration with the Eligibility Center with enthusiasm and care. The bottom line is that you cannot contribute to the team if you cannot practice and compete!

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting (www.victoryrecruiting.com), where he provides individual advisement for families on college recruiting. Tom recently launched www.collegerecruiting.tv which is an educational content website that will assist families and prospects in building their plans for the college quest.