NCAA Academic Eligibility

A Quick Guide: College Baseball Academic Eligibility

The academic decisions student-athletes make throughout high school will ultimately determine their eligibility to play college baseball. One of the most disappointing things we see with the recruiting process is a player that finds their perfect school, only to find out that they have to sit out their first year due to academic eligibility issues. It’s important that players are aware of the academic requirements early in their high school career, so they can plan a clear path towards full eligibility.

Academic eligibility is governed by the NCAA for both Division I and Division II sports. Each division has a different set of requirements for core curriculum, GPA, and SAT/ACT scores.

To get started, it makes sense to provide the NCAA’s general requirements for eligibility, before getting into the specifics for each division. A player’s eligibility to compete in games, practice with the team, or receive athletic financial aid is evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Graduated from high school
  • Successfully completed the required core curriculum. Players must also have completed a minimum number of required courses in certain subjects.
  • Achieved a specified minimum GPA in the core academic curriculum
  • Obtained a specified minimum SAT or ACT score.

Division I College Baseball Academic Eligibility

For a student-athlete to be eligible to compete their first year at an NCAA DI institution, they must have graduated high school and have met all of the following requirements:

Full Qualifier

A full qualifier is a student-athlete that has met all of the academic eligibility components and, therefore, has full eligibility to play their first year in college.

  • Complete 16 core courses in the areas shown above.
  • 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed prior to the student’s senior year of high school.
  • 7 of the 10 core courses must be in English, math or natural/physical science.
  • Earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.3
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching the core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale (see below). The sliding scale allows students who perform poorly on standardized testing to offset that with a higher core-course GPA.

Academic Redshirt Eligibility

If you haven’t met all of the requirements to be a full qualifier, you will not be able to compete (in games) your first year at the Division I level. If this is the case, you should take a look at the following requirements to see if you are eligible to get an academic redshirt. If you meet the requirements you would still be able to practice with the team and maintain your athletic scholarship.

To be eligible for an academic redshirt, you must graduate high school and meet ALL of the following academic requirements:

  • Complete 16 core courses in the areas shown above.
  • Earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.0
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching the core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale (see below).

Non qualifier

Players that don’t meet the academic requirements to be a full qualifier or academic redshirt eligible are considered to be a non qualifier. As a non qualifier, a player is not allowed to compete, practice, or receive an athletic scholarship during their first year of full-time enrollment. Additionally, the player would only have three years of eligibility, with the potential of earning back the fourth year of eligibility if 80 percent of the undergraduate degree is completed prior to the start of the fifth year at the university.

Division I Sliding Scale

To calculate your SAT score, combine your critical reading and math sub scores. For the ACT, add up the scores from the science, reading, English, and math sections of the test. Students are allowed to take these tests as many times as they please. Another benefit is that they can use the best sub scores from different tests for their academic certification process.

Division II College Baseball Academic Eligibility

To be eligible to compete at the Division II level during your first year, a player must have graduated high school and have met ALL of the following requirements:

Full Qualifier

  • Complete 16 core courses in the areas shown above.
  • Earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.2
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching the core-course GPA on the Division II sliding scale (see below).

Partial Qualifier

A partial qualifier is unique to the Division II level but is comparable to the academic redshirt eligibility for Division I athletes. As a partial qualifier, a player can still practice on campus and receive their athletic financial aid. The player would not be able to compete in games their first year. A student-athlete who has not fulfilled the academic requirements to be considered a full qualifier, can be recognized as a partial qualifier if they graduated from high school and have met all of the requirements below:

  • Complete 16 core courses in the areas shown above.
  • Earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.0
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching the core-course GPA on the Division II sliding scale (see below).

Nonqualifier

A non qualifier at the Divison II level has a similar meaning as that of Division I. The player has not met the requirements to be a full or partial qualifier and will therefore have to sit out their first year. At the Division II level, this won’t use a year of the student-athletes eligibility.

DIvision II Sliding Scale

The sliding scale is calculated the same way as the Division I scale.

To calculate your SAT score, you combine your critical reading and math sub scores. For the ACT, add up the scores from the science, reading, English, and math sections of the test. Similar to that of DI, students are allowed to take these tests as many times as they please. Another benefit is that they can use the best sub scores from different tests for their academic certification process.

DIII College Baseball Academic Eligibility

If you plan on attending a Division III school, determining your academic eligibility isn’t as straightforward. Division III schools set their own admissions and academic standards, so players will need to coordinate directly with the institutions to find out about the eligibility requirements.

Tips to help student-athletes meet academic requirements

  • Reach out to your high school counselor for support. They should be familiar with the requirements and will be able to assist with course selection.
  • Get support from the admissions or compliance office at the institution you are considering.
  • Get tutoring for courses you are struggling with as well as for SAT/ACT test prep.
  • Graduate on time. This allows college-bound players to take one course the year after they graduate.
  • Keep your coursework, in case the NCAA eligibility center needs to see records
  • Follow your high school’s policies. The best thing to do is work within the rules.

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