Tip

All SAT and ACT scores must be reported to the Eligibility Center directly from the testing agency and can be done so by inputting the Eligibility Center code, 9999, to make sure the score is reported directly to the center.

College athlete must adhere to strict academic NCAA eligibility requirements and standards. Many of the academic standards for college freshmen revolve around such tests as the SAT and ACT combined with the grade-point average (GPA). Colleges cannot judge eligibility solely on grades for incoming freshmen, so they combine the grade-point averages from high school with the ACT or SAT scores and grade them on a sliding scale. The NCAA Division I uses the NCAA sliding scale for test scores and grade-point average, while NCAA Division II does not use the sliding scale but requires a minimum SAT and ACT score.

NCAA Sliding Scale Requirements

Graduates from high school having completed four years of English, three years of math, two years of natural or physical science, one extra year of English, two years of social science and four years of extra core courses are eligible. One of the NCAA eligibility requirements is to earn a minimum required grade-point average in core courses. Core courses are classes that are in one or a combination of English, social sciences, mathematics, foreign language, or non-doctrinal philosophy or religion. To meet the NCAA eligibility requirement, these courses must be from a four-year college preparatory. You also need to have courses at or above the high school regulator academic level and are completed before the date of high school graduation. The NCAA combines your ACT or SAT scores to get your highest scores. Those scores determine a new score based on the NCAA sliding scale.

GPA and ACT Score Calculations

Convert letter grades to their corresponding points. An A equals four points, B equals three points, C equals two points and a D is equivalent to one point. Letter grades that are minuses such as A-, B- , C- and D- earn 0.3 points less than 4.0, 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 points. Letter grades that are pluses such as B+, C+ and D+ also earn 0.3 points more than 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 scores. Multiply the grade-point average with the amount of credit earned. Next, calculate this using 0.34 units for a trimester course, 0.50 units for a semester course and 1.00 units for a year-long course. For example, an A grade (4) for a trimester course (.35) equals 1.4 course units. Calculate the estimated core-course grade-point average by dividing the total number of points for all core courses with the total number of core-course units completed. Then, compare core-course grade-point average with the ACT score on the sliding scale. The scale shows the necessary ACT score combined with the grade-point average that makes an athlete eligible in the NCAA. For example, an ACT score of 52 requires a GPA of 3.000 to be eligible. If the SAT or ACT is taken more than once, a combination of the best scores from both tests can be added to meet the minimum NCAA eligibility requirements.

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NCAA Sliding Score Promising Outlook

Whether you had low GPA scores and high test scores or vice versa, you can still make the division. You have to keep in mind that the NCAA compiles all your scores for eligibility. So, if you dream of college scores to soar to new heights, you still have to put effort academically. Improving your college scores to continue playing after admission entails dedication and commitment. Much like the 4.0 GPA scale in high school, college scores follow the same pattern. In turn, take time to dedicate to your athletic skills as much as your brain power in school.

About the Author

Based in the Inland Northwest, Stephanie Rowe started writing professionally in 2007 for newsletters "Pathways 2 Progress" and "Global Currents." In 2009 she started technical writing at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a minor in writing from the University of Idaho.