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NCAA Eligibility

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NCAA Eligibility

The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, serves as the athletics governing body for more than 1,280 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations in Division I, II and III. The NCAA is committed to the student-athlete and to governing competition in a fair, safe, inclusive and sportsmanlike manner.

NCAA regulations require all incoming student-athletes to meet a prescribed level of academic performance while maintaining their amateur status before entering college. Those who wish to compete at the Division I or II level must be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center (more info below), which looks at two main criteria:


Note: Due to the effects of the coronavirus, the NCAA will not require standardized test scores (ACT/SAT) for student-athletes entering college in the in Fall 2022.

NCAA student-athletes in Division I or II must meet minimum academic criteria that takes into account high school grades as well as scores on standardized tests (the SAT or ACT). Those scores are weighted on a sliding scale to determine initial eligibility.

The grade-point average considered by the NCAA only includes what are considered "core courses" - and all prospective students must have taken 16 of these core courses, including 10 prior to the seventh semester of high school. The NCAA Eligibility Center includes important details on those requirements, plus lists of approved core courses at specific high schools or in each Canadian province.

What You Need to Do

Register for the NCAA Eligibility Center (typically during Grade 11; more info on the Eligibility Center below).

For more information on academic eligibility requirements visit the links below or check out our FAQ.

Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete  (.pdf) – The Guide is a highly comprehensive tool that has been designed to help navigate the NCAA initial-eligibility process and to prepare student-athletes for transitioning from high school to becoming an NCAA Division I or II student-athlete.

Initial-Eligibility Brochure (.pdf) – A quick guide to the standards and steps that it takes to become an NCAA Division I or II student-athlete.

Eligibility Center Quick Reference Sheet – You can find the free .pdf download of the brochure here


NCAA student-athletes are amateurs and cannot have played for a professional sports team prior to enrollment. In hockey, specifically, this means that anyone who signs a contract with or plays for a team in the Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL or WHL) forfeits their NCAA eligibility.

The NCAA Eligibility Center will certify each prospective student-athlete's amateur status prior to clearing them for competition at the Division I level.

What You Need to Do

For more information on amateurism eligibility requirements, visit the links below or check out our FAQ.