Finding Your College Fit!

Navigating Your Recruiting Process Today

Advice for Students and Families

June Update

Let us take a moment and celebrate a milestone. The NCAA Covid-19 “Dead Period” officially comes to an end June 1st. That is right! The NCAA returns to “regular recruiting calendars” and live, in person, recruiting and evaluation is back. Regardless, if you are a 2022 graduate, your admissions cycle is still heavily “covid impacted.” Here is the comprehensive guide to NCAA (and NAIA) initial eligibility in 2022 and beyond.

Some critical reminders:

  1. All “covid waiver” policies, like approvals of online courses, pass/fail GPA calculation changes and flexibility for asynchronous learning, will apply for ALL students impacted by covid regardless of when they graduate.
  2. The ultimate status of “test optional” initial eligibility remains to be determined. Legislation is likely to be discussed and adopted before the 2023 graduation cycle. We expect standardized testing to be dropped as a universal requirement, but what comes next is still subject to discussion and implementation.
  3. It is still important to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center (you can get a free account) and get an NCAA ID number if you are considering the possibility of competing in Division 1 or 2 at some point in the future.
  4. NCAA standards are intended to be a minimum. Each college sets its own admissions standards. For instance, Florida and Georgia public colleges still require standardized tests for 2022 applicants. High school graduation standards also require the completion of more than just the NCAA’s academic core. The NCAA requirements are NOT an academic plan.

NCAA Eligibility:

  • Standardized testing requirements are waived for 2022 graduates. The status of required standardized tests beyond this cycle are still to be determined.
  • NCAA core course requirements apply. You need to successfully complete 16 academic core courses with a 2.3 GPA (2.2 GPA for Division 2) in order to compete immediately in NCAA scholarship divisions. Our helpful graphic can be your guide as well!
  • Remember, in NCAA Division 3, admitted students are automatically initially eligible. No NCAA determination necessary.
  • If you took courses on a pass/fail basis, those classes will be counted as a 2.3 for the purposes of calculating your core course GPA. The intention is those grades will not hurt your chance to be eligible.
  • If you are a 2022 graduate and you have completed 14 core course units prior to the beginning of your senior year with a 3.0 GPA (2.5 GPA in Division 2) you can submit your transcript NOW and be declared an “early qualifier.” No worries, no waiting, no test score needed! You WILL still need to log in and update your amateurism declaration after you graduate though.
  • The NCAA’s covid waivers also apply to homeschool students.

The NCAA published an executive summary of its covid related waivers here:

NAIA Eligibility:

  • Standardized testing requirements are waived for 2022 graduates. The status of required standardized tests beyond this cycle are still to be determined.
  • 2022 graduates are able to meet initial eligibility requirements by having a 2.0 final high school GPA.
  • However, student-athletes who use this waiver to compete as freshman, must have at least a 2.0 GPA after their first academic year in order to remain eligible.
  • The NAIA regulations for homeschoolers are more complicated (there are THREE DISTINCT eligibility pathways for them). Of course, we have the definitive guide on our site:

The NAIA summary of covid waivers is here: although it does not clearly address issues for homeschoolers at this time.

The future of standardized testing in initial eligibility:

Legislation is coming from both the NCAA and NAIA on codifying initial eligibility without requiring every student to submit a standardized test score. Given the widespread and enduring adoption of test optional and test blind admissions it is difficult to envision the NCAA re-instituting standardized testing as a pre-requisite to intercollegiate competition. The adoption of additional standards, higher GPAs for students not submitting scores or other trade offs remain a possibility. College Athletic Advisor will keep you informed as the situation evolves!

As always, if you are looking for the individualized or institutional consulting help that puts you ahead in our new post-pandemic world, check out our services here! You can make an initial appointment through the link on our homepage! School administrators and counselors access our free resources, appointments and programs for school collaboration here.

For more information, contact Dave Morris, College Counselor & CEO, College Athletic Advisor, or phone: (719) 248-7994

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May Update

As we head to the June 1st ending of the NCAA Division 1 “Dead Period” and a shotgun start at returning to in person recruiting at the national level, this month is about keeping YOU at the center of your college search!

The first college to call or offer you deserves your appreciation, but NOT your commitment. Honestly, it is difficult to develop empathy on this one. You would never buy a car or a computer just because that company called you… and that is not a 4-year residential commitment! Keep in mind the recruiting process is about YOU being recruited by colleges. It is NOT just chasing the biggest name you knew of when you began your search or falling in love with the first person who calls you. Take the time, explore your options, and respect that there are 2,000 colleges in the United States sponsoring athletic programs – there are world class options you have not yet learned about!

Academics matter!

  • SHOT: Every year, NCAA schools “give” over $200 million in athletic scholarship grants-in-aid (scholarships). That is a lot of money.
  • GOAL! the same schools give out over $2.5 BILLION in scholarships based on academics. These are SCHOOLS! They are focused on education as their core business.
  • Implication: Wherever you are in terms of your grades right now, the simple truth is every .1 you add to your GPA makes college less expensive and expands your options!

It is the perfect time to raise your academic game! Right now. Going from 2.1 to 2.2 has the same benefit as going from 3.8 to 3.9… it is not about where you start, it is where you finish.

Know your level?

If you are restricting yourself to “I want to go D1” or “I think D1 will be too much of a commitment,” listen to coaches and look at programs individually. So many students miss out on opportunities because they restrict themselves based on labels that are not as descriptive as they might seem. Did you know that ALL NCAA divisions have the same 20-hour limitation on athletically related activities each week during the academic year? Did you know that many D3 athletes have “voluntary” training and competition run by the students themselves in their “off-season?”

Look at how the different “levels” overlap in our attached graphic; most sports would look roughly similar to this women’s soccer data. The bigger picture is that your academic and environmental preferences should be driving your search just as much as interactions with college coaches. Make sure you understand your options and have a plan to identify colleges beyond the small number of elite and regional options that first come to mind (both for you, and often school counselors and club coaches).