By: A. Newhook
Increasingly, athletes are looking to use their athletic skills to open the door to academic opportunities. This is the story of the student-athlete who is looking to choose their college based on where they can play their sport. Student-athletes and their families need to know several things to make the transition from high school athletics to college athletics as smooth as possible. A key reference is the 2010-2011 Guide for College-bound student athlete promulgated by the NCAA available on the NCAA website.
First, eligibility for Division I and Division II schools requires certain academic achievements. Division I schools have a sliding scale regarding SAT and ACT scores. Division II schools have a specific minimum score that the student-athlete must achieve in order to be eligible. Certain schools provide athletic scholarships, which are set for one-year terms. With respect to the regulations of the specific institution, the school has the discretion to not renew the aid after the one-year term expires. Typically, grades are extremely important for maintaining scholarship aid. The student-athlete has to keep their grades above a certain specified grade point. Financial aid cannot be reduced or non-renewed because of poor athletic performance.
Second, athletes in high school who desire to go to college need to be aware of the different standards held by schools regarding letters of intent. Schools that participate in the National Letter of Intent program will not try to recruit an athlete once they have committed themselves to another school by signing a letter of intent. Student-athletes should sign letters of intent only when they are fully committed because if they follow through they may face certain penalties such as ineligibility.
Athletes and parents of athletes who are eager to play collegiate athletics should definitely review the materials provided by the NCAA on the NCAA website listed below.