Athletic Eligibility Requirements

Students who hope to play sports in college need to be aware of the requirements for eligibility and we as school counselors can help set them up for success.


Students who hope to play sports in college need to be aware of the requirements for eligibility and we as school counselors can help set them up for success.


  • The IHSAA has clear rules and expectations for high school athletes. Visit their website here.
  • As requirements change from time to time, the best source of information is the NCAA Eligibility Center itself.  This is the site for students and families: and this is the site for school staff:
  • The NCAA will tell you it is entirely the student’s responsibility to make sure they stay eligible. Work with the student and the athletic department but make sure the student takes ownership.



  • Work with your athletic department to establish a code of conduct for athletes at your school.
  • Appoint one person at your school (usually a counselor) to be in charge of NCAA issues, including keeping your school’s list of core courses up to date (set a reminder in your calendar to do this at least twice a year); educating faculty/staff about requirements at least annually — most especially your counseling colleagues; educating students and families about requirements at least annually; and meeting individually with students and families who have questions that are beyond the knowledge of their assigned counselor or coach.
  • Speak directly to athletes in grades 9 – 12 and their coaches at least once per season about the importance of NCAA eligibility requirements.  This could mean holding NCAA information sessions in the evening at least once per sporting season, being sure to invite the families of the athletes as well.  Send them home with a handout about registering with the NCAA and the basic eligibility requirements.
  • I usually share information with students early and go over the test score/ gpa requirements for their desired division. I work with some coaches to help identify their athletic tier ( D1,D2, D3) . All of our students are core 40 so that covers most of the class requirements and I just make them and their families aware that they would have to take additional classes in some cases to remain eligible.
  • If in doubt about whether a course will count towards eligibility (for example, a new course at your school that has just been submitted to the NCAA for evaluation), don’t advise student-athletes to register for it.  You don’t want to be in a position later where it’s implied you “promised” a student/family that a course would be approved.
  • I used to work in the EC and one of the biggest problems came when students took resource classes which were not the same as the college prep. This will come up when the transcript is reviewed and the course title does not match with the courses they have on file for your school. The student needs to monitor their course credits which are used for eligibility. Each division (I, II, III) has different requirements.
  • While we are, of course, concerned when any student fails a core course, we must be especially diligent when student-athletes fail these courses starting in 9th grade.  Run a list of “F’s” each grading period and note the athletes.  When meeting with them about remediation, be sure to mention NCAA requirements.  It may be wise to meet or email with their parents as well, and to ask that they sign something acknowledging they’ve been made aware of eligibility requirements.
  • NCAA and NAIA websites have a wealth of information and I don’t generally trust other sources unless they are directly connected to those 2.


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email and let us know.