A commitment to academics and student-athlete success in the classroom is a vital part of the NCAA’s mission to integrate athletics into the fabric of higher education. The NCAA pledges to help student-athletes achieve their academic goals as well as their athletics goals.
Prospective student-athletes who achieve the current minimum initial-eligibility standard on the test score-GPA sliding scale with at least a minimum 2.3 core-course GPA would continue to be eligible for athletically related financial aid during the first year of enrollment and practice during the first regular academic term of enrollment. Student-athletes serving this academic redshirt year would have to successfully complete nine semester or eight quarter hours during their first academic term to be eligible for practice during their second term. For immediate access to competition, prospective student-athletes will be required to present at least a 2.0 GPA and an increased sliding-scale credential. Specifically, prospects need to earn about a half-point higher GPA for a given test score compared to the standard for aid and practice. For example, an SAT score of 820 would require a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice. Incoming student-athletes will be required to successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their seventh semester in high school. Seven of those 10 courses must be in English, math and science.
The Division I membership has implemented a series of policies to strengthen the preparedness of Division I student-athletes for college work and ensure they make steady progress toward a degree.
To that end, college and university presidents decided that institutions should be held accountable for the academic performance of student-athletes. The NCAA developed the Academic Progress Rate, a system that provides a snapshot in time for each academic term, allowing schools to intercede and help academically challenged student-athletes. The rate is team-based and accompanied by a penalty system that includes sanctions for teams falling below a prescribed benchmark.
The NCAA’s ultimate goal is for student-athletes to graduate. Having a college degree gives student-athletes more options later in life.