NCAA: NCAA Increases Academic Standards for Division I Play Coming 2015

Seth Walder’s piece at, New NCAA rules will require incoming athletes to meet higher academic standards to play a Division I sport in college, sheds light on the positive step the NCAA is making toward increasing eligibility requirements for 2015 incoming freshmen who want to play Division I sports.

The current standards require a graduating senior to carry a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher, coupled with an SAT score of 1010 and an ACT sum score of 86. Walder reports that the NCAA sliding scale also reports a graduating student with a GPA of 2.5 would need an SAT of 820 or higher and ACT of 68 or higher. As the GPA goes up, the needed score for either test (SAT or ACT) goes down, thus, the term “sliding scale.”

The 2015 guidelines increase that expectation to an SAT score of 1000 or higher for the same 2.5 GPA. ACT scores were not reported in the NY Daily News piece; however, I think it is safe to assume that this will increase proportionately.

With all the publicity given to college athletes being just that, (rather than the preferred student-athlete), the “basket-weaving” course loads they are accused of taking, and poor student-athlete graduation rates at too many universities, it is very good to see the NCAA moving in this direction. In this case, change is good, really good.

I have one more suggestion.

One that will take a concerted effort and change in philosophy by all involved. If we could get high schools, and even junior high schools to increase their academic standards for athletes so as to enhance the chances the student athletes under their direction will be able to meet college Division I standards, get elementary schools to use this as a means to help motivate their pupils to higher levels of classroom performance, and, lastly, get ALL professional sports to adopt a policy where playing professionally is contingent on successful college completion, then we might actually make a difference.

High academic expectations need to start at a time when youth can be influenced, when behavior can be molded, when the importance of doing well in school is implanted at a young enough age so that it becomes a foundation, a choice by the student themselves.

It is possible. It is just extremely difficult because of all who would have to jump on board the “school is important” train rather than the “money” train young adult athletes seem to grab onto as they all see themselves going “pro.”

However…nothing truly worthwhile was ever easy, now was it?


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  • They supposedly did this several years ago, but all it will do is result in more stories about people having their grades raised and others taking their SATs.

    Since nothing seems to can be done about "one year and out" for basketball players, I'm sure the stress is not on academic excellence.

  • Hey Jack,

    Thanks for the response. Yes there will always be those who try to skirt the rules, however, the approach I discussed is a comprehensive one that starts when kids are very young and finishes with all professional sports making it a pre-requisite to have successfully completed a college degree.

    The pro thing is certainly a hard sell, and one that I am not sure would be fair. However, it might not even be necessary if we instill the right values at a young enough age. Kids need to get the message, at an age when it matters, that school is essential to their success.

    Just brainstorming thoughts that might be of benefit.

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