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Tips to stay academically eligible while competing in the NCAA

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What is Class Credit?

How many credits should you take?

Class credit is what you receive for taking a course in college. Credit is used to measure if enough hours have been completed for you to be eligible for graduation.

  • 3 credits = 1 course → 15 credits = 5 courses
Before you enroll in classes, you should know that on average, for every one credit hour you will spend two to three hours outside of class studying for that class. To help you determine the most appropriate class load for you, try using this formula below and use the chart:

3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week = 6-9 hours study time per week.

Click on  this link to calculate how many credit hours you're willing to take each semester before you enroll in classes.

Tips from former college athletes who have already done it: 

  • Most coaches and athletes suggest you take 15 credits a semester instead of the minimum 12 credits.
    • Why? If you fail one class in a 12 credit semester than you will end up only completing 9 out of the required 12 credits and will therefore be ineligible to compete immediately. If you take 15 credits you allow yourself some space in case you mess up on your grades. 

  • When to schedule hard classes:
    • Always schedule your hardest classes on the offseason. This doesn't mean you should take more classes during the offseason. You should consistently take the same number of credits each semester, but consider scheduling those that are hardest for you during the offseason. 
    • Hire a tutor if necessary to help you get through your classes more quickly and easily.

NCAA  DI, II & III Academic Requirements

Division I Eligibility Requirements direct from the NCAA handbook:

  • 40 percent of required coursework for a degree must be complete by the end of the second year, 60 percent by the end of the third year and 80 percent by the end of their fourth year.
  • Student-athletes are allowed five years of eligibility and athletically related financial aid.
  • All Division I student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each term to be eligible for the following term and must meet minimum grade-point average requirements related to the school’s GPA standards for graduation.



Division II Eligibility Requirements right from the NCAA handbook:

  • 24 hours of degree credit must be completed each academic year to remain eligible. At least 18 of those hours must be earned between the start of fall classes and spring commencement, and up to six hours can be earned in the summer.
  • All Division II student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each full-time term to be eligible for the following term.
  • Student-athletes must earn a 1.8 cumulative grade-point average after earning 24 hours, a 1.9 cumulative grade-point average after earning 48 hours and a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average after earning 72 hours to remain eligible.
  • Division II student-athletes must complete their four seasons of competition within the first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment.



Understanding DI & DII Academic Requirements

Note for athletes interested in DI - 

​You only have 5 years to complete 4 years of eligiblity. The percentages of overall credit completion in the chart to the left are the bare minimum to stay eligible to compete.

All student athletes should strive to complete their degree in four years. If they wish to compete for all 5 years in college, it is recommended you graduate in 4 years and puruse a masters degree or a second major in your 5th year to continue to play.  ​​
Note for athletes interested in DII -
 
All Division II student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each full-time term to be eligible for the following term. Division II student-athletes must complete their four seasons of competition within the first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment.


Division III Eligibility Requirements right from the NCAA handbook:

  • While there are no minimum national standards for establishing or maintaining eligibility in Division III, student-athletes must be in "good academic standing" and make satisfactory progress toward a degree as determined by the institution.
  • Division III student-athletes must be enrolled in at least 12 semester or quarter hours, regardless of an institution’s own definition of “full time”.
  • Waivers are available for many of these rules, including progress-toward-degree standards.



Progress Toward Degree

Progress Toward Degree requirements are mandatory for all DI athletes as they begin freshman year of college. These are designed to help you reach graduation on time. DII athletes are sometimes required to follow Progress Toward Degree Requirements, and typically DII athletes are not required to do so. 

There are standards within the requirements that students have to meet in order to remain eligible to play.
The requirements can be:​
  • a minimum GPA 
  • term by term credit hour requirements
  • annual credit hour requirements 
  • and percentage of degree requirements 


Students who do not complete these requirements lose their eligibility, so stay on top of it! 

If you become ineligible to compete, a Progress Toward Degree Waiver may be filed to possibly regain eligibility - this goes for DI, DII and DIII athletes. 

Tips on How to Stay Academically Eligible in the NCAA and Continue to Play Your Sport  

What is Class Credit?

How many credits should you take?

Class credit is what you receive for taking a course in college. Credit is used to measure if enough hours have been completed for you to be eligible for graduation.

  • 3 credits = 1 course → 15 credits = 5 courses
Before you enroll in classes, you should know that on average, for every one credit hour you will spend two to three hours outside of class studying for that class. To help you determine the most appropriate class load for you, try using this formula below and use the chart:

3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week = 6-9 hours study time per week.

Click on  this link to calculate how many credit hours you're willing to take each semester before you enroll in classes.

Tips from college athletes who have done it already: 

  • Most coaches and athletes suggest you take 15 credits a semester instead of the minimum 12 credits.
    • Why? If you fail one class in a 12 credit semester than you will end up only completing 9 out of the required 12 credits and will therefore be ineligible to compete immediately. If you take 15 credits you allow yourself some space in case you mess up on your grades. 

  • When to schedule hard classes:
    • Always schedule your hardest classes on the offseason. This doesn't mean you should take more classes during the offseason. You should consistently take the same number of credits each semester, but consider scheduling those that are hardest for you during the offseason. 
    • Hire a tutor if necessary to help you get through your classes more quickly and easily.

NCAA Academic Requirements

Progress Toward Degree