Correction to original version*. The NCAA, as was pointed out by Aubrey Perry, president of Path2D1.org, recently rescinded implementation of the new sliding scale for 2016. The current sliding scale will remain in effect. Click here for more on the sliding scale change.
I overheard a couple of players talking recently about what the new requirements are going to be for admission at NCAA Division I and Division II institutions beginning with the fall of 2016.
I was happily surprised to know two players were even talking about it, let alone understanding it.
Beginning in 2016, the NCAA will require a minimum “core” Grade Point Average to be 2.3 or higher. The current standard is 2.0.
The GPA, of course, is not all it takes. Student/athletes also must attain an ACT or SAT score based on a sliding scale of requirements set up by the NCAA.
The confusion for many younger student/athletes, however, lies within the calculation of the GPA. Under Florida High School Athletics Association guidelines, a student need only accumulate an overall 2.0 GPA to participate in FHSAA-sanctioned extracurricular activities.
What might qualify as a 2.0 overall GPA for high school participation, however, will fall considerably shy of the “core courses” GPA required for admission to NCAA institutions.
Throw out grades for courses like PE and weightlifting and students often face the harsh reality of academic shortcomings. This realization usually comes too late and students are left scrambling with online summer classes leading up to their senior year.
Although high school guidance counselors have taken more active roles in educating athletes about NCAA requirements, more can be done. Student/athletes and parents also need to step up to the plate earlier in the process; after the junior year is too late.
It’s disturbing to see parents strapping their kids into shoulder pads for participation in 6-year-old tackle football leagues, but when it comes to strapping on some academic suspenders, everyone wants to claim ignorance, place blame on educators and tap-dance around any real conviction to the academic process.
The help is there, but how many parents or athletes actually seek it out before it’s time to scramble? Knowing what it takes to get into college is the first step, and here’s a hint: Carrying a football is not listed on the NCAA Eligibility website.
Most younger student/athletes do not know theymust pass 16 core academic courses to gain admission to higher-level NCAA institutions.
Prospective student/athletes must have four years (or four courses) of English, three years of math (Algebra I or higher), two years of natural/physical science, one year of an additional English/math/science course, two years of social science, and four years of additional courses from either of the aforementioned core subjects, or a foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy courses.
The core subject lists are not the same for every high school. Each school’s List of NCAA Courses can be found at the website EligibilityCenter.org (You must register for the website). Only these courses are used for the calculation of a prospective student athlete’s core GPA.
It’s becoming even more important to know the guidelines. The standards are getting more difficult.
This year, for example, the lowest level of admission requirements at an NCAA Division I institution is a 2.0 core GPA and at least a score of 1010 on the combined math and reading portions of the SAT or a combination sum of 86 on the ACT.
For the incoming freshman class of 2016, those numbers will change to a core GPA of 2.3, but the NCAA recently rescinded the original ruling that also would have changed the sliding scale. In May, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors determined that requiring prospects to meet a more stringent sliding scale starting in 2016 would have yielded a number of unintended consequences.*
What might be even more important to stress are other benchmarks included in the new guidelines. Students must complete 10 of the 16 core courses before the start of their senior year, and seven of those courses must be completed in English, math and science.
It is, however, always better finish as many of the core courses as possible prior to the senior year.
Something tells me enrollment in Florida Virtual School is about to increase dramatically.
As a helpful resource, Path2d1.org has a new smart phone app now available to help prospective student athletes, their parents and coaches, keep up with NCAA requirements. Click her for more info.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun