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March 14: Playing at the Next Level

March 14: Playing at the Next Level

Courtesy of the NCAA Eligibility Center

High school coaches, right now your student-athletes are probably focused on the next drill, passing, shooting and preparing for your next opponent. Are you preparing them to take their game to the next level: college? If your athletes want to play NCAA Division I or II sports, they need to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. That means they need to be more than a great athlete. They need to be a great student, also.

Starting in 2016, high school graduates (your current junior class) will need a 2.3 GPA instead of a 2.0 to compete in Division I sports. As coaches, you are an integral part in helping spread the word about these rule changes. We need your help in emphasizing academics and the fact that, from the beginning of ninth grade, courses and grades are more important than ever.

Share this information – including the available downloads at 2point3.org – with players, fellow coaches, parents and high school administrators. Together we can make sure students have the information they need to become successful both on and off the court.

NCAA Division I requires 16 core courses. But students starting college after August 1, 2016, will need to complete 10 of those courses before the start of their seventh high school semester. For most students, that’s the start of their senior year. Seven of the 10 core courses need to be completed in the disciplines of English, math or science.

Also, beginning August 1, 2016, students planning to compete in Division I must graduate high school with a minimum 2.3 GPA in those core courses.

Academic achievement has always been important, but now more than ever, students must pay attention to their high school courses and grades. This starts in the ninth grade. Because of the changes in rules, students will no longer be able to make up for early academic missteps by

loading up on courses late in their high school career. Tell students who plan to compete in Division I to visit 2point3.org for the full list of eligibility requirements. Coaches, here is a handy checklist to assist your athletes and parents with the NCAA initial-eligibility process.

CHECKLIST

How You Can Help

• Visit NFHSLearn.com and join the more than 6,000 other coaches who have completed the free online NCAA Initial Eligibility course.

• Make sure your athletes who want to play sports in college have registered at eligibilitycenter.org.

• Talk to the parents of your athletes about the upcoming increase in academic standards.

• Spread the word to your colleagues in the high school coaching community, including athletic directors.

• High school counselors should have received a letter from the NCAA Eligibility Center. When requesting transcripts or on visits to high schools, take a moment to talk with the counselors to make sure they are familiar with the rules.

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