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NCAA Sports; Playing DI Sports

Ready to compete at the Division I level? Currently there are 356 schools competing with 173,500 student-athletes! Now, guess how many are receiving a level of athletic aid for their abilities? The answer may surprise you, just 51% of those student-athletes receive either partial or complete financial aid to participate in NCAA sports. Another lesser known fact about scholarships: THEY ARE YEAR BY YEAR!! Yes, a school can take away your scholarship; as a student-athlete you are not able to sign a 4 year contract.

Last question; What's the best way to ensure you will keep your scholarship for its duration? YOUR GRADES! Check out NCAA Sports; Part I to learn more about eligibility and probability of competing.

Okay, so you think you have the abilities to play a NCAA Sport at the the Division I Level; here is a timeline for a high school athlete to follow to help keep them on track to become eligible.

Freshman Year: Speak with your high school counselors to make sure you are taking NCAA Core Courses. Most likely you are taking approved English, Math, & Science approved courses. Your other classes I would recommend checking; Hint not all classes are approved.

Sophomore Year: Continue to take your NCAA approved core courses; you should have an understanding of what the importance of your GPA with those courses as well. During this school year is also the time to Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center Speak with your school counselor as they will help guide you through this process. This is something I would do even if there is only a 0.01% chance of playing a NCAA Sport; it is an easy process that can only hurt by not doing it. Continue to monitor your NCAA GPA.

Junior Year: Speak with your school counselor to make sure you will graduate on time with the NCAA Core Classes. You should completely understand your NCAA GPA as well as be able to predict what test scores you need to be eligible to play. There is a direct relationship with your NCAA GPA (not your high school overall GPA) and the test scores you need. At this time I would also take time to research potential schools that interest you and/or review the qualifications of the schools that are recruiting you. Yes, you must apply to the school that is recruiting you. Some schools will offer exemptions if you do not meet the requirements however this is not a recommended approach especially if you want to receive financial aid of any kind.

Senior Year: Complete your NCAA Core Classes. Take the ACT or SAT again, if necessary, and submit your scores to the NCAA using code 9999. Complete all academic and amateurism questions in your NCAA Eligibility Center account. After you graduate, ask your counselor to submit your final OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS with proof of graduation to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Not so fun fact: If you have to retake a class to improve your NCAA GPA; speak to your counselor to ensure the Summer School class is approved. Many high school's summer classes are not approved as NCAA Core eligible.

Division One Facts

  • Schools - 346

  • Student-Athletes - 173,500

  • Athletic Scholarships: Roughly 51% receive some level of aid

  • Average percentage of student-body participating in NCAA Sports: 6%

  • Academics: 2012 Graduation Success Rate: 81%

In Part III we will take a deeper dive into the process of becoming a Division II NCAA athlete. If you want to learn more, reach out to us.


At Sports Education Movement we also provide Workshops surrounding NCAA Eligibility as well as a service to help you calculate your NCAA Core GPA

Download PDF • 1.12MB

Statistical information was provided by The complete survey of NCAA student-athlete participation is attached below.

NCAA Survey
Download PDF • 10.80MB


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