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NCAA Sports; An Introduction

Since everyone wants to play in an NCAA game; let's start with a game, a guessing game. First question, how many student-athletes, on average, attend Division I schools per institution? Second question, how about Division II, III? What about the overall number of student-athletes per institution? Take a look at the graph below; you'll find all the answers.

Remember those figures include ALL SPORTS; you are battling for a scholarship in just one sport; I have attached the most recent NCAA Participation Survey at the end of the Education. While the purpose of this Education is not to discourage your hopes or desires to play in college; the purpose is to give you the information so you can have a complete understanding of the competition to receive a full scholarship at each level.

Let's also not forget the most important statistic of all; your GPA. All of those student-athletes in the report had a high school minimum NCAA GPA of 2.3 for Division I, a high school minimum NCAA GPA of 2.2 or Division II. Calculate your high school eligible NCAA GPA.

The NCAA mandates a required minimum GPA to become a student-athlete. Each school you apply to, yes you still have to apply even if you're offered a scholarship, will also have their set of standards you MUST adhere to. In some instances, the school will have a limited number of exemptions for those students who do not qualify. But do you really want to ask a coach to not only recruit you, offer you a scholarship and then ask them to request an exemption into a school? The solution, do your homework!

Quick Note about grading scales..

The NCAA does not factor in weighted or unweighted honors classes or adjusted grade scales. Let's look at an example;

- Stan takes 5 total classes with all of them being honors classes with an adjusted grading scale (A: 93-100, B: 85-92, C: 75-84, D: 70-74, F: 69 below). Stan earns the following grades 92, 91, 84, 81. 74 in all 5 of his NCAA eligible honors classes (sorry this does not include gym classes - more on that in Part II) and receives a 2.0 NCAA GPA. Stan DOES NOT MEET the required NCAA qualifications to become a student-athlete at the Division I or II levels.

- Ali takes 5 NCAA approved classes with none of those classes being honors and the grading scale used is traditional (A: 90-100, B: 80-89, etc.). Ali earns the following grades a 92, 91, 84, 81, 74 in all 5 of her NCAA eligible classes and receives 3.2 NCAA GPA. Ali meets the required NCAA qualifications to become a student-athlete at the Division I or II levels.

While Stan may be the more intelligent student who pushes himself, studies more and received a higher weighted GPA at his school, the NCAA views Ali as the better and eligible student.

The first step in becoming a NCAA eligible participant is meeting the requirements. In our example we compare a realistic situation for potential student athletes. Understanding the process is just one aspect of becoming a student athlete. If you want to play the game, you have play their game.

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

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

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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