New Eligibility Certification for the Class of 2016

This will be the first class to be certified using the new NCAA eligibility requirements. Therefore, prospective student-athletes must check their high school transcripts for accuracy BEFORE the end of this summer to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

List of Approved Core Courses

Remember the NCAA Eligibility Center does not interpret transcripts it just reads them. Make sure that the names of the courses on the transcript match the names of the courses on the high school’s list of approved core courses. Only courses on the list will count as NCAA core courses.

If you have completed an academic course that is not on the high school’s list of approved core courses, contact the NCAA Eligibility Center contact at the high school. Only high schools may submit core courses to the NCAA for review, the university compliance and admissions offices may not.

Ten out of 16 core courses

Ten of the required 16 core courses MUST be completed PRIOR to the beginning of the senior year of high school. Seven of those 10 core courses MUST be in English, math and natural/physical science.

2.3 Grade-Point Average

Prospective student-athletes must have a 2.3 grade-point average in core courses BEFORE the beginning of the senior year in high school in order to be eligible to compete as a college freshman. Additionally, core courses may not be repeated after the seventh semester of high school begins in order to increase the core course grade-point average.

Honors/Advanced Placement Courses

Many high schools provide increased academic credit for the completion of honors courses and advanced placement courses. However, some students have mistakenly believed that they could be certified by the NCAA because while the high school did award this extra credit, an adjusted grade-point average scale was not submitted to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Again, only the high school Eligibility Center contact may submit these additional grading scales to the NCAA.

Test your Understanding of the New Certification Requirements

 Caleb’s Case

Caleb is a high school soccer student-athlete and a junior. Caleb has completed three [3] courses in English, three [3] courses in math, and a Biology course with a grade-point average of 2.27. Caleb attends summer school and completes Driver’s Education and repeats Biology and receives a higher grade. At the end of the summer Caleb’s core course grade-point average is 2.31. Can Caleb be certified to compete in college in fall 2016?

Yes. Caleb has completed seven of 10 core courses with a grade-point average of 2.31. He may practice and compete in soccer as a freshman and he may receive an athletic scholarship.

Brittney’s Case

Brittney is a high school swimmer in the Class of 2016 and has completed three [3] courses of English, two [2] courses in math, Earth Science, Spanish I and Spanish II. Brittney has a 3.0 grade-point average. May Brittany be certified to compete in college in fall 2016?

No. While Brittney has s 3.0 grade-point average, she has only completed eight [8] core courses. Brittney will be eligible to practice with a collegiate swim team and receive an athletic scholarship in her freshman year of college, but she will not be able to compete.

NOTE: Most Olympic sport coaches do not have the budget to provide scholarships to students who are not eligible to compete.

Ashley’s Case

Ashley competes in women’s basketball at a public high school. She is transferring to a private high school next year and will repeat her junior year. Will she be certified based on the core courses she completes this year in 2015, or next year in 2016?

Ashley will be certified based on the grade-point average and the core courses completed at the end of this year –2015. The 10 core courses must be completed with a grade-point average of 2.3 before beginning the SEVEVNTH semester of high school. Even though Ashley has decided to attend high school for 10 semesters instead of eight [8], that does not change the NCAA time line. Ashley will only be able to compete as a freshman in college if she has a 2.3 grade-point average in 10 core courses, with seven [7] of those core courses in English, math and natural/physical science. In addition, the courses completed in semesters nine and ten will not count toward NCAA eligibility certification.

NOTE: Only core courses completed in the first eight [8] semesters of high school may be used to certify the eligibility of a prospective NCAA student-athlete. The only exceptions are:

  1. All students are allowed to complete one [1] core course after high school graduation, and prior to the enrolling in college; AND
  2. Students with documented learning-impacting disabilities are allowed to complete three [3] core courses after high school graduation, and prior to enrolling in college.

If you have any questions regarding the new NCAA eligibility certification requirements please visit the new NCAA web site


The Eligibility Coach is currently scheduling speaking engagements for summer and fall 2015. Call 919/408-7431 to reserve a date for your organization.

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