Division I academic eligibility
To be eligible to compete in NCAA sports during your first year at a Division I school, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following requirements:
- Complete 16 core courses:
- Four years of English
- Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
- Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it)
- One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
- Two years of social science
- Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
- Complete 10 core courses, including seven in English, math or natural/physical science, before your seventh semester. Once you begin your seventh semester, you may not repeat or replace any of those 10 courses to improve your core-course GPA.
- Earn at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses.
Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible. If you have a low core-course GPA, you need a higher test score to be eligible.
What if I don’t meet the requirements?
If you have not met all the Division I academic requirements, you may not compete in your first year at college. However, if you qualify as an academic redshirt you may practice during your first term in college and receive an athletics scholarship for the entire year.
To qualify as an academic redshirt, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following academic requirements:
- Ask for advice and accountability from your high school counselor. Check in with the admissions or compliance office at the college you hope to attend.
- Get tutoring or other study help.
- Graduate on time. Division I schools allow college-bound student-athletes who graduate on-time to take one core course during the year after they graduate high school.
- Avoid quick fixes through credit recovery programs. These courses may not be accepted by the NCAA.
- Keep your coursework. If the NCAA Eligibility Center needs to review your record due to irregularities, you may be asked to provide your coursework.
- Follow your high school's policies. The best thing to do is work within the rules.
What are core courses?
Not all high school classes count as NCAA core courses. Only classes in English, math (Algebra 1 or higher), natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy may be approved as NCAA core courses. Remedial classes and classes completed through credit-by-exam are not considered NCAA core courses.
Classes that are NCAA core courses include:
- English: English 1-4, American Literature, creative writing
- Math: Algebra 1-3, Geometry, statistics
- Natural of physical science: biology, chemistry, physics
- Social science: American History, civics, government
- Additional: comparative religion, Spanish 1-4
Classes that are not NCAA core courses include:
- Classes in non-core areas, fine arts or vocations such as driver education, typing, art, music, physical education or welding.
- Personal skill classes such as personal finance or consumer education.
- Classes taught below grade level, at a slower pace or with less rigor or depth. These classes are often titled basic, essential, fundamental or foundational.
- Classes that are not academic in nature such as film appreciation, video editing or greenhouse management.
If you take a high school class such as Algebra 1 or Spanish 1 before you start ninth grade, the class may count for your 16 core courses if it is on your high school’s list of approved core courses and is shown on your high school transcript with a grade and a credit.
You can earn credit for a core course only once. If you take a course that repeats the content of another core course, you earn credit for only one of these courses and the higher grade counts toward your core-course GPA.
Generally, you receive the same number of credits from the NCAA for a core course that you receive from your high school for the class. One academic semester of a class counts for .5 of a core course credit. One academic trimester of a class counts for .34 of a core-course credit. One academic quarter of a class counts for .25 of a core-course credit. A one-year class taken over a longer period of time is considered one core course and is not awarded more than one credit.
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