New NCAA Rules on Junior College Football Recruiting Explained

Not quite ready for a 4-year college? Consider enrolling in and playing for a junior college. STACK Expert Patrick Mendez makes you aware of new NCAA rules.

Junior College Football

If your grades or your athletic performance are not up to Division I standards, you might consider enrolling in a community college and play sports at the junior college level before transferring to a four-year program.

If that sounds like a viable option for you, keep in mind that the NCAA has new qualifications for junior college football recruiting, including rules for competition, practice, financial aid, and most important, practice-only.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to make the leap from junior college to Division I sports.

How to Prepare

  • You need at least a 2.5 GPA to transfer to a four-year college and be eligible to play sports there.
  • You must spend at least one full term in junior college and earn an average of 12 transferable credit hours per semester.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

  • Choose which D-I school you'd like to attend.
  • Learn more about the school's specific policies and the NCAA and conference rules that apply (
  • Determine if you are a qualifier, partial qualifier or non-qualifier for transfer at

The chairman of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance, Walter Harrison, believes college should be accessible to every student, regardless of his or her background, and it is the duty of the states and everyone involved to prepare students to succeed in a four-year college with remarkable performance.

The NCAA strongly believes its recruiting standards are significant, and that GPA at a two-year school is the strongest forecaster of student success at four-year institutions. However, many coaches, including Butler Community College coach Troy Morrel, are against the NCAA new rules and policies. Morrel mentioned there are incredible players among the current batch who are unfortunately not eligible under new rules. When the past five years of GPAs of football programs in the Jayhawk Conference were examined, athletics from about half the schools were under the 2.5 GPA threshold and ineligible under the new NCAA rules.

Not everyone is ready or qualified to become a D-I student-athlete straight out of high school. Enrolling in a community college your first year is a great option if you need to raise your GPA and improve your football skills. Just make sure you understand the NCAA rules for transferring so you will be eligible to apply to be a 2-to-4 transfer (two-year junior college to four-year college) athlete.

Resources &


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock