Start Early: What It Takes To Be Eligible To Play College Football

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If you have a son or daughter is interested in becoming an NCAA athlete, the first thing they will have to do is to become eligible.

They can do that by taking the ACT or the SAT. All schools on any NCAA level require all athletes to make a certain score on either the ACT or SAT in order to become eligible.

Here are a few more things the NCAA requires in order for an athlete to become eligible:

Student-Athletes must enroll BEFORE August 1

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

Earn at least a 2.0 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.

If you enroll AFTER August 1

If you enroll full-time at a Division I school after Aug. 1st and 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. The academic redshirt qualification is only for students who enroll full-time in college after Aug. 1st.

To qualify as an academic redshirt, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following academic 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

Earn at least a 2.0 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

If you are concerned you may not meet the Division I academic requirements, consider taking the following actions:

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.

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