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September 1, 2001
Academic Eligibility
NCAA Mandatory Standards
By Howard Hobbs Ph.D., President
Bulldog Newspaper Foundation

FRESNO STATE -- Sometimes, our readers ask us about the NCAA rules that cover university athletic eligibility. NCAA eligibility rules are sometimes complex as they apply to certain students. We provide this guide and advise readers to contact the NCAA office or appropriate conference office for proper interpretations in specific cases. Inquiries should be addressed to the NCAA membership services staff. Here is a brief outline of the eligibility requirements for the Fresno State University Academic Year beginning of Sept. 1, 2001:.

Division I Academic Eligibility Requirements

If you're first entering a Division I college in order to be classified a "qualifier," the student must haev :

  • Graduated from high school, with

  • Successfully complete a core curriculum of at least 13 academic course units as follows:

    English ... 4 years

    Mathematics (two years of mathematics courses at the level of Algebra I or above) ... 2 years

    Natural or physical science (including at least one laboratory course, if offered by the high school) ... 2 years

    Additional courses in English, mathematics, or natural or physical science ... 1 year

    Social science ... 2 years

    Additional academic courses [in any of the above areas or foreign language, computer science, philosophy or nondoctrinal religion (e.g., comparative religion) courses] ... 2 years

  • Have a core-course grade-point average (based on a maximum of 4.000) and a combined score on the SAT verbal and math sections or a sum score on the ACT based on the qualifier index scale.

A "partial qualifier" is eligible to practice only with a team at its home facility and receive an athletics scholarship during his or her first year at a Division I school and then has three seasons of competition remaining.

A partial qualifier may earn a fourth year of competition, provided that at the beginning of the fifth academic year following the student-athlete's initial, full-time collegiate enrollment, the student-athlete has received a baccalaureate degree.

In order to be classified a "partial qualifier," you have not met the requirements for a qualifier but you're required to:

  • Graduate from high school;

  • Successfully complete a core curriculum of at least 13 academic courses in the appropriate core areas.

  • Present a core-course grade-point average (based on a maximum of 4.000) and a combined score on the SAT verbal and math sections or a sum score on the ACT based on the partial qualifier index scale.

Division I Qualifier Index
Core GPA ACT*
sum of scores
SAT**
on or after 4/1/95
2.500 & above 68 820
2.475 69 830
2.450 70 840-850
2.425 70 860
2.400 71 860
2.375 72 870
2.350 73 880
2.325 74 890
2.300 75 900
2.275 76 910
2.250 77 920
2.225 78 930
2.200 79 940
2.175 80 950
2.150 80 960
2.125 81 960
2.100 82 970
2.075 83 980
2.050 84 990
2.025 85 1000
2.000 86 1010
Partial Qualifier Index
Core GPA ACT*
sum of scores
SAT**
on or after 4/1/95
2.750 & above 59 720
2.725 59 730
2.700 60 730
2.675 61 740-750
2.650 62 760
2.625 63 770
2.600 64 780
2.575 65 790
2.550 66 800
2.525 67 810
* Previously, ACT score was calculated by averaging four scores. New standards are based on sum of scores.

** For SAT tests taken on or after April 1, 1995.

A "nonqualifier" is a student who has not graduated from high school or who has presented neither the core-curriculum grade-point average and SAT/ACT scores required for a qualifier.

A nonqualifier shall not be eligible for regular-season competition or practice during the first academic year in residence and then has three seasons of competition remaining. A nonqualifier during the first academic year in residence shall be eligible for nonathletics institutional financial aid that is not from an athletics source and is based on financial need only.

A nonqualifier may earn a fourth year of competition, provided that at the beginning of the fifth academic year following the student-athlete's initial, full-time collegiate enrollment, the student-athlete has received a baccalaureate degree.

A student with a diagnosed disability who was not a qualifier may earn a fourth season of competition, provided the student-athlete has satisfied specified procedures and has completed at least 75 percent of his or her degree program at the beginning of the fifth academic year after the student-athlete's full-time collegiate enrollment.

Division II Academic Eligibility Requirements

If you're first entering a Division II college on or after August 1, 1996, in order to be classified a "qualifier," you're required to:

  • Graduate from high school

  • Have a GPA of 2.000 (based on a maximum of 4.000) in a successfully completed core curriculum of at least 13 academic course units as follows:

    English ... 3 years

    Mathematics ... 2 years

    Natural or physical science (including at least one laboratory course, if offered by the high school) ... 2 years

    Additional courses in English, mathematics, or natural or physical science ... 2 years

    Social science ... 2 years

    Additional academic courses [in any of the above areas or foreign language, computer science, philosophy or nondoctrinal religion (e.g., comparative religion) courses] ... 2 years

  • Have a combined score on the SAT verbal and math sections of 820 (if taken on or after April 1, 1995) or a 68 sum score on the ACT.

A "partial qualifier" is eligible to practice with a team at its home facility and receive an athletics scholarship during his or her first year at a Division II school, and then has four seasons of competition remaining.

In order to be classified a "partial qualifier," you have not met the requirements for a qualifier, but you're required to graduate from high school and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Specified minimum SAT or ACT score; or

  • Successful completion of a required core curriculum consisting of 13 core courses and a 2.000 grade-point average in the core curriculum.

A "nonqualifier" is a student who has not graduated from high school or who has presented neither the core-curriculum grade-point average and SAT/ACT score required for a qualifier.

A nonqualifier is not eligible for regular-season competition and practice during the first academic year in residence and then has four seasons of competition. A nonqualifier may not receive athletics-related aid as a freshman, but may receive regular need-based financial aid if the school certifies that aid was granted without regard to athletics ability.

Details of these general requirements are contained in the other sections of this guide.

 

Division III

These requirements currently do not apply to Division III colleges, where eligibility for financial aid, practice and competition is governed by institutional, conference and other NCAA regulations.

 

Waiver of Bylaw 14.3 Requirements

Waivers of the initial-eligibility requirements may be granted based on evidence that demonstrates circumstances in which your overall academic record warrants a waiver. All requests for such a waiver must be initiated through an NCAA school that officially has accepted you for enrollment as a regular student or if acceptance is contingent on a favorable subcommittee decision. You should contact the school recruiting you for more information about this waiver process.

Students with disabilities may initiate the initial-eligibility waiver process on their own without the help of a member institution. Please contact the NCAA national office for more information.

 

Additional Information

Several additional points about the NCAA's initial-eligibility requirements should be emphasized:

  • This rule sets a minimum standard only for athletics eligibility. It's not a guide to your qualifications for admission to college. Under NCAA rules, your admission is governed by the entrance requirements of each member school.

  • The General Education Development (GED) test may be used under certain conditions to satisfy the graduation requirement of Bylaw 14.3 but not the core-course or test-score requirements. Contact the NCAA national office for information about these conditions.

FAQ - With Typical Eligibility Violations

May a correspondence or independent study course be used to meet the 13 core-course requirements?
Yes. Independent study, Internet or correspondence courses may be used to satisfy core-course requirements, provided the following conditions are met: They meet all requirements for a core course; The instructor and student have access to one another during the direction of the course for the purpose of teaching, evaluating and providing assistance to the student; Evaluation of the student's work is conducted by the appropriate academic authorities in accordance with the high-school's established academic policies; and The course is acceptable for any student and is placed on the high-school transcript.

May courses taken in the Eighth Grade that are high-school core courses (e.g., Algebra I, Spanish 1, Freshman Composition) be used to meet the 13 core-course requirements?
Courses taken in the eighth grade may not be used to satisfy the core-curriculum requirements regardless of the course content or level. However, in the rare event that students need to have courses taken in the eighth grade considered for eligibility purposes, the initial-eligibility waiver process is available (see question No. 5). How is the NCAA core grade-point average different from a student's overall grade-point average? The NCAA core-course grade-point average is calculated using only NCAA approved core courses in the required 13 core units. High-school grade-point averages generally include the grades from most or all courses attempted in grades nine through 12.

Can weighted grades for honors or advanced placement courses be factored into the calculation of the student's core grade-point average?
A school's normal practice of weighting honors or advanced courses may be used as long as the weighting is used for computing grade-point averages. Weighting cannot be used if the high school weights grades for the purpose of determining class rank. Additionally, in no instance may the student receive greater than 1.000 additional quality points for purposes of calculating the grade-point average for initial-eligibility.

What options are available to students who do not meet the NCAA initial-eligibility standards?
Students who do not meet the initial-eligibility standards may be granted a waiver of their deficiency through an NCAA initial-eligibility waiver. NCAA academic committees are vested with the authority to authorize waivers of the initial-eligibility requirements based on objective evidence that demonstrates circumstances in which a student's overall academic record warrants the waiver of the normal application of the legislation. The waiver must be filed by an NCAA institution (college or university) on behalf of the student. However, students with a diagnosed disability may file a waiver on their own behalf.

May students use courses taken after high-school graduation?
Generally, students who enroll in a Division I institution may not use courses taken after high-school graduation to meet the NCAA core-curriculum requirements. Students who return after graduation to the high school from which they graduated may take courses to meet the core-course requirements. These students cannot enroll in college and participate in intercollegiate athletics until the subsequent fall. Students enrolling in Division II institutions and students with disabilities (enrolling in either Division I or II) may use core courses taken after high-school graduation to meet the NCAA core-curriculum requirements, provided the courses are completed prior to full-time enrollment in a college or university.

May a student who has graduated repeat a course taken in grades nine through 12 and use the repeated course for purposes of meeting NCAA initial-eligibility requirements?
Courses taken in grades nine through 12 may be repeated postgraduation to meet NCAA Division I initial-eligibility core-course requirements, provided the courses are repeated at the high school from which the student graduated. If core courses are completed beyond the eighth semester, a student's initial full-time college enrollment cannot occur until the next academic year. For Division II student-athletes, courses completed in grades nine through 12 may be repeated to meet initial-eligibility core-course requirements, provided the courses are repeated prior to initial full-time collegiate enrollment.

When should a student register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse?
Students should register with the clearinghouse after the completion of their junior year in high school. At this time, a transcript, which includes six semesters of grades, should be sent to the clearinghouse from the high school. Additionally, students should have their SAT or ACT test scores forwarded directly to the clearinghouse whenever they take the exam.

May courses taken by a high-school student at Fresno State be used to meet the 13 core-course requirements?
College courses may be used to satisfy core-curriculum requirements if the courses are accepted and awarded credit by the high school for any student and, meet all other requirements for core courses. For NCAA Division I only, such courses must be placed on the student's high-school transcript. Courses taken at a college will NOT appear on the high school's list of Approved Core Courses (formerly Form 48-H). The high school's list of NCAA Approved Core Courses will include only those courses taught/offered by the high school.

What documents does the NCAA require to enable a student with a disability to use a nonstandard ACT/SAT and/or courses designated for students with disabilities?
The following documentation is required: (a) a signed copy of a professional evaluation report that states the diagnosis of the student's disability; and (b) a copy of the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Individual Transition Plan (ITP) or Section 504 Plan or statement that relates to accommodations received by the student with the disability. The NCAA national office, not the clearinghouse, processes the information.

Can students with a diagnosed disability use courses that are designated for students with a disability to meet NCAA core-course requirements?
Students with appropriately diagnosed disabilities may use courses for students with disabilities for the purpose of meeting NCAA core-course requirements. Courses for students with disabilities must appear on the high school's list of NCAA Approved Core Courses (formerly Form 48-H) in order for a student to receive NCAA credit for the course. In order to use such courses toward a student's core-course requirements, students must document their disability with the NCAA by submitting the required documentation (see question No. 10).

Can a nonstandard ACT/SAT be used for initial eligibility?
Only students with a diagnosed disability may use nonstandard test scores. Please note that students with disabilities must have required documentation (see question No. 10) sent to the NCAA for review.

Does the prohibition against special education, remedial or compensatory courses apply to students with disabilities?
No. In order for courses designated for students with disabilities to be approved, the course must be substantially comparable, qualitatively and quantitatively, as a regular core course offered in that academic area.

Are vocational courses acceptable?
Traditional vocational courses are not acceptable. These include courses such as agriculture, auto mechanics, accounting, and health. However, courses taught using applied approaches to teaching may very well meet the NCAA standard for a core course. The core-course requirements for each discipline explain in detail the NCAA's requirements for a core course.

What if a student's final high-school transcript contains an error or the student has grade changes that are not included on the first final transcript mailed to the clearinghouse?
Once the clearinghouse has received all required documentation including a final high-school transcript for a student, they are able to produce a final certification report. If a high school forwards the clearinghouse a revised final transcript, the clearinghouse will not be able to use the changes to issue a revised final certification report. Instead, any changes to a student's final high-school transcript must be approved through the initial-eligibility waiver process (see question No. 5 for more information about the waiver process).

May courses taken at high school "A" be accepted if they appear on high school "B's" transcript?
No. High school "A" may provide the clearinghouse with an official copy of high school "B's" transcript, but grades from one high school cannot be accepted on another high school's transcript.

How are students prioritized for processing at the clearinghouse?
Students who have their status requested by an NCAA institution are prioritized by the clearinghouse for processing. If a student's eligibility status is never requested by a member institution, the clearinghouse may not process such a student's status.

    [Editor's Note: This is not a complete list of NCAA regulations regarding initial eligibility. Please call or write the NCAA or access the NCAA Web site if you have specific questions.] NCAA Membership Services P.O. Box 6222 Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222 317/917-6222 (phone) 317/917-6622 (fax) 800/638-3731 (NCAA Hotline) www.ncaa.org ]

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