This is a topic often brought up but can be confusing for prospective student-athletes. Let’s go over some of the details about the academic requirements it takes to become a NCAA student-athlete.
Register with the Eligibility Center – If you have not registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly the Clearinghouse) then you need to do so. Just go to their website and take care of that sooner than later. It is a requirement to play in the NCAA. I don’t think you can even take an official visit without it. Once you’ve been cleared you’ll get a reference number. Keep it handy on college visits since coaches may need it for paperwork.
Take the SAT & ACT – I recommend taking both tests. They are different types of tests. If you haven’t taken these tests I suggest heading to your guidance counselor and getting registered. If you’ve already taken them, I’d suggest taking them again. Odds are you’ll score higher each time you take them.
The NCAA using a sliding scale to set their standards on what your GPA and SAT/ACT scores need to be but that doesn’t matter because you must adhere to the college/university you’ll be attending which are usually higher than the minimum NCAA standards. Most school websites have that information on them.
The higher the test score typically means the more academic scholarship money you’ll receive. 1 point higher on the ACT could save your family thousands over 4 years.
Core Classes – Each NCAA Division has a requirement of core classes – no exceptions. Either you have the allotted amount or you don’t. Talk with your guidance counselor and make sure you are on the right path.
Applying to Schools – Having your test scores back early will allow you to start applying to schools that are interested in you. Understand that academic scholarship money is not unlimited.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you have some identity on the field before you start taking your academics seriously. Every class you take in high school goes with you to that coach’s office.