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Understanding the NCAA Eligibility Center Rules for the Class of 2016 and Beyond

One of the first things that all potential student-athletes (and their parents) should do as they prepare for the college application and athletic recruiting journey is understand the NCAA Eligibility Center rules as they pertain to every student athlete. Beginning with the Class of 2016, the NCAA Eligibility Center has instituted a new set on rules for potential Division I student-athletes and they will do the same in 2018 for potential Division II student-athletes.

Below, we have outlined the key rules and terms to know and understand as you embark on this process:

NCAA Division I

Student-athletes must complete 16-core course in grades 9-12 (and must do so in 8 semesters)
Ten of these core courses must be completed before the beginning of senior year
Seven of these ten courses must be in English, Math or Science
Core GPA must be at least a 2.3
SAT/ACT score must fall in line with the core GPA on the sliding scale

Potential Outcomes Athletic Scholarship Ability to Practice Ability to Play
Full Qualifier Yes Yes Yes
Academic Redshirt Yes Yes No
Partial Qualifier No No No

NCAA Division II

Currently require 16-core courses and that will remain the same post-2018
After 2018 Division II will move to a sliding scale rather than the current SAT/ACT marks of 820/68
Will continue distinction between a full qualifier, partial qualifier and non-qualifier

NCAA Division III

Division III universities and colleges set their own standards and thus DIII student-athletes need not be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center

Recruiting Calendar

Let’s also take a quick look at the recruiting calendar most specifically for potential college soccer players:

Sophomore Year:
Can receive brochures for Camps, Questionnaires, Student-athlete can call coaches but coaches cannot call prospective student-athletes, no off-campus contact, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Junior Year:
Can start to receive recruiting information and phone calls beginning on September 1st, Off-campus contact allowed starting July 1st of junior year, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Senior Year:
Off-campus contacts allowed, official visits allowed (up to 5 for DI, no limit for DII)

The most important thing to keep in mind as you move through the process is that this is your responsibility to know and understand the rules that will affect you as a potential student-athlete. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek answers. A great place to start is at www.eligibilitycenter.org.

Tony Carnahan
President, Coastal College Counseling

About the Partnership:

Future 500 ID Camp has partnered with Tony Carnahan, President of Coastal College Counseling. He combines his vast knowledge of the college landscape and nearly 20 years of experience, with a personal and systematic process to help families choose the right college for their sons and daughters. Tony is recognized as a trusted resource by both families and top soccer organizations throughout the United States.

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