Step One to Becoming a Collegiate Athlete: NCAA Eligibility Center

January 25, 2011

Must See College Recruiting Videos

You want to be a collegiate athlete, but to accomplish that goal, where do you start? Simple: enroll in the NCAA Eligibility Center, an organization that collaborates with the NCAA and is “charged” with determining the eligibility of all incoming Division I and Division II freshmen student-athletes. This is achieved through the evaluation of high school academic records and by calculating core course grade point averages [GPAs] and standardized test scores.

Each division has its own standards for entering freshmen. Below is a brief description of how eligibility is determined:

Division I
Division I freshmen athletes must meet minimum eligibility standards based on three factors: core course GPA, standardized test scores and minimum academic requirements. The GPA and standardized test scores are measured on a sliding scale. In addition, the GPA must be determined from grades in 16 pre-approved core courses.

Division II
Division II eligibility standards are similar to those for Division I, but they use a simple formula. All entering freshmen who wish to practice and compete in college must demonstrate at least a 2.0 core course GPA and either a minimum SAT score of 820 [verbal and math combined] or a minimum sum ACT score of 68. In addition, the GPA must be determined from grades in 14 pre-approved core courses.

Division III
Eligibility requirements to compete at the D-III level are determined differently and decided internally at each school. However, many schools have minimum GPA, test score and core course requirements. Basically, once a student has been admitted to a Division III school, he/she will be eligible to practice and compete.

Core course requirement may seem a little confusing, but the Eligibility Center wants to be sure prospects are taking the “meat and potato” high school academic coursework. Therefore, grades in courses such as art, music and physical education are NOT calculated in the core course GPA.

Registration with the Eligibility Center is a two-step process. I encourage prospects and families to begin the process as soon as junior year grades are available. The first step is painless: families can register online at All you need is a credit card to pay the annual fee [$60]. It takes about 25 minutes to fill in your contact information and answer several questions. Final eligibility is determined after senior year grades are presented to the Eligibility Center.

Tom Kovic is the founder and president of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises families and prospective student-athletes in developing and executing personal plans for the college search. Kovic has delivered nearly 300 presentations and seminars to more than 3,500 participants. He is the author of Reaching for Excellence, an educational guide to college athletics recruiting, and he is a regular contributor to numerous educational and sports publications.

Prior to founding his own company, Kovic coached gymnastics at The University of Pennsylvania. He has coached 34 individual Ivy League Champions, three ECAC athletes of the year and more than 160 NCAA Academic All-Americans. He was named ECAC Coach of the Year twice.

Tom Kovic
- Tom Kovic is the founder and president of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises families and prospective student-athletes in developing and executing personal plans for...
Tom Kovic
- Tom Kovic is the founder and president of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises families and prospective student-athletes in developing and executing personal plans for...
Must See
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 6,431,795
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 36,871,831
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 9,261,291

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 66,647
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 5,931
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 124,090
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,206
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

New NCAA Rules on Junior College Football Recruiting Explained

So you're not playing D1 football right out of High School?? Go to a JUCO! Here is everything you need to know about the junior College football...

The 50 Best Colleges for Male Athletes

STACK Recruiting Guide 2014: Victor Cruz and the 'It' Factor

What the New SAT Means for Student-Athletes

3 Tips for Writing a Strong College Recruiting Mission Statement

Demystifying the College Athletic Recruiting Process

Recruiting: You Need to Score, But Your Coach Won't Let You?

Combatting the Early Commitment Epidemic in Women

The 50 Best Colleges for Athletes

Do Athletes Make Better Students?

7 Bad Behaviors That Will Help You Play College Sports

Basketball Recruits: What You Should Do in November

College Football Recruits: 5 Strategies to Get Noticed

The Best Women's College Basketball Programs

The Best Men's College Basketball Programs

The Best College Football Programs

Volleyball Recruiting: Why Hasn't the Coach Called Me?

Meet the A to Z Basketball Insiders

3 Ways to Trust Your Gut During the College Recruiting Process

Basketball Recruiting: It's Never Too Late

The Best (and Worst) Part of Choosing a School

5 Essential Steps for College Recruits

Why You Should Consider Post-Grad Prep School for Football

College Recruiting FAQ: Early Action vs. Early Decision

Tennis Recruiting: Making a Decision

Prepare Early for the College Recruiting Process

4 Key Steps When Contacting College Coaches

3 Ways to Climb the Recruiting Ladder

5 Things to Know About Football Recruiting

The 50 Best D-II and D-III Colleges for Athletes

Volleyball Recruiting: Searching for More Than Talent

College Recruiting Evaluations: A Different Perspective

14-Year-Old Quarterback Verbally Commits to LSU

How a Bad Game Affects Your Recruiting Status

Featured STACKlete: Reagan Rogers

Why You Should Play Small-School Sports

The 50 Best Colleges for Female Athletes

College Baseball Recruiting: How to Control Your Own Destiny

What is a Parent's Role in Recruiting?

How to Create a Recruiting Video That Coaches Will Watch

The Tennis College Recruiting Summer Checklist

College Recruiting FAQ: How Does National Signing Day Work?