One of the first things that all potential student-athletes (and their parents) should do as they prepare for the college application and athletic recruiting journey is understand the NCAA Eligibility Center rules as they pertain to every student athlete.  Beginning with the Class of 2016, the NCAA Eligibility Center has instituted a new set on rules for potential Division I student-athletes and they will do the same in 2018 for potential Division II student-athletes.  Below, we have outlined the key rules and terms to know and understand as you embark on this process:

Division I

Student-athletes must complete 16-core course in grades 9-12 (and must do so in 8 semesters)

Ten of these core courses must be completed before the beginning of senior year

Seven of these ten courses must be in English, Math or Science

Core GPA must be at least a 2.3

SAT/ACT score must fall in line with the core GPA on the sliding scale

Potential Outcomes   Athletic Scholarship      Ability to Practice      Ability to Play

Full Qualifier                         Yes                                  Yes                            Yes

Academic Redshirt              Yes                                   Yes                            No

Partial Qualifier                     No                                    No                             No

Division II 

Currently require 16-core courses and that will remain the same post-2018

After 2018 Division II will move to a sliding scale rather than the current SAT/ACT marks of 820/68

Will continue distinction between a full qualifier, partial qualifier and non-qualifier

Division III 

Division III universities and colleges set their own standards and thus DIII student-athletes need not be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center

Let’s also take a quick look at the recruiting calendar most specifically for potential college soccer players:

Sophomore Year:

Can receive brochures for Camps, Questionnaires, Student-athlete can call coaches but coaches cannot call prospective student-athletes, no off-campus contact, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Junior Year:

Can start to receive recruiting information and phone calls beginning on September 1st, Off-campus contact allowed starting July 1st of junior year, yes to unofficial visits, no to official visits

Senior Year:

Off-campus contacts allowed, official visits allowed (up to 5 for DI, no limit for DII) 

The most important thing to keep in mind as you move through the process is that this is your responsibility to know and understand the rules that will affect you as a potential student-athlete.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek answers.  A great place to start is at