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The Road to Eligibility

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[Written by SWFLNole]

With Willie Downs and C.J. Mizell not making it to campus this year FSU again doesn't complete a recruiting class through enrollment. This is a hot button issue with FSU fans, because the team South and East of us seem to always make sure they get their players eligible. A 90% enrollment rate is still pretty good, however.  I want to talk a little bit about the eligibility process and how it works for the students.  Because there is only so much that is important for the average fan, I will focus solely on Public/Private school and disregard the home school students (Insert Tebow SAT joke). Also it will focus on D1 only; D2 has a whole different set of standards that are lower.

First of all a student must have completed 16 core classes:

"4 years of English.
3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).
2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).
1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.
2 years of social science.
4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or non-doctrinal religion/philosophy)."

The grades in these courses  are what determines a students core GPA, which is the GPA that matters to the NCAA clearinghouse. These GPA scores team with a student's test score to establish if they are eligible or not. The SAT is only math and verbal, not writing. While the ACT is the sum of the four parts of the test. As many people know there is a sliding scale for the GPA-Test Score average. The higher the GPA the student athlete has, the lower the test score has to be to get in. (I have cleaned this up to the tenth, there are slight differences to the .025)

NCAA DIVISION I SLIDING SCALE

CORE GRADE-POINT AVERAGE/

TEST-SCORE

New Core GPA / Test Score Index

Core GPA SAT ACT

Verbal and Math ONLY

3.55 & above 400 37

3.5    420   39

3.4    460   42

3.3    500   44

3.2    540   47

3.1    580   49

3.0    620   52

2.9    660   54

2.8    700   57

2.7    730   60

2.6    780   64

2.5    820   68

2.4    860   71

2.3    900   75

2.2    940  79

2.1    970   82

2.0    1010   86

This table gives us a good idea what it is like to try and become eligible. A 2.0 GPA is the lowest allowed, and the student must then get over 1000 cumulative on the verbal and math sections of the SAT. If a student starts early in school and can knock out some B's in his sophomore or junior year he is well on his way because something like a 2.6 makes the SAT highly achievable. However you can see how it becomes harder and harder as the grades get lower. Speaking of starting early the NCAA lays out a plan for student athletes. As a freshman and sophomore it is just to focus on grades in core classes and making sure the guidance counselor sets up a plan to complete all the core classes. As a junior they suggest registering in the eligibility center, and sending in a transcript. Because students have to establish amateur status, they should also begin their amateurism questionnaire. As a senior they have to send in their test scores, and finish their amateurism certification. Finally a copy of their final transcript and proof of graduation must be sent by the guidance counselor.

These are the main guidelines, however the student must make sure of a few other things. Their ACT or SAT scores must come directly from the testing services and not off of their transcript. Also all of their courses have to be approved as legitimate core courses by the NCAA.

We all know that students take online courses once they have received their test score and may need one or two extra A's on the transcript. This is popular at almost every school in the country. The fact of the matter is that almost any student should be able to get qualified if they put in a little bit of effort. With all of the special services for any learning disability, real or perceived, it just adds to the fact that there is little excuse for a player to not qualify with the current standards. I hope this helped for you all to become a little more eligibility savvy when discussing next year's borderline athlete. If you would like to go even more in depth than I have here, visit this link:

https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/hs/faq.pdf

All information courtesy of NCAA clearinghouse 2008-2009