The NCAA's Dramatic Changes to Initial-Eligibility Rules Affect All High School Student-Athletes

The dramatic increase in the NCAA's Division I (2016+) and Division II (2018+) minimum initial-eligibility standards has placed a new emphasis on early tracking of core coures, beginning freshman year. It has generated much conversation and concern within the college and high school athletic communities and has done extensive reporting on the issue.
"...there's no freshman free pass anymore in high school. It's no longer, 'I'm going to take a summer school class to get myself right.' It's gone. It's a huge, huge impact. I just hope the counselors know about it so they get these kids going right away."
Pat Fitzgerald,
Northwestern University Head Football Coach
"The key thing with all these core course [requirements] is they need to know in ninth grade. A lot of young people and parents don't understand. So when a young guy finds out in his junior year that he might be a Division I prospect, and he and his parents find out there's no way he can get the work done, that would be my concern. If we're adding to that list, boy, we need to get the word out sooner. That's a real challenge."
Kirk Ferentz,
University of Iowa Head Football Coach
"The NCAA is sending a loud and clear message to coaches and administrators alike. They want players that have a legitimate chance of being productive college student-athletes."
Dick Vitale,
ESPN College Basketball Analyst
"The new standards demand a sense of awareness as early as ninth grade. If you're just starting to look at your core-course GPA (entirely different from the cumulative figure) as a sophomore, you're way behind."
Mitch Sherman
"They are already sending ripples through the college community because they are so drastic -- a jump in the required minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.3 and, perhaps more challenging, a rule that requires high school athletes to complete 10 of their 16 required core courses before their senior year of high school."
Dana O'Neil
"The real shift is to academic preparation instead of just getting eligible. This is a philosophical difference than what's out there. There's this attitude now that I'll just do all these things late in my career just to get over the eligibility mark. Well, you're still not prepared. This is a focus that says you have to be prepared."
Kevin Lennon
NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs
"We've got to convince people to explain this to kids early. I don't want to be the person in 2016 saying, 'No, no, no.' We get enough bad phone calls already, and it's so hard. People are crushed. They are crushed, and they don't realize they've done anything wrong until it's too late."
Todd Leyden
President of the NCAA Eligibility Center is an independent site and not affiliated or associated with the NCAA. is endorsed by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and
the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
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