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Student Athlete FAQ's

Click  here  for NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete

What is the NCAA?
The NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletic Association.  It was established in 1906 and is the athletic governing body for colleges and universities.  There are three divisions and they evaluate the rules and guidelines for eligibility for each.  NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes.  
Click here for a quick reference sheet.

Can I get a scholarship to play sports in college?
If this is your goal, please visit the websites posted on the Student Athlete webpage.  Know all the rules.  In order to be certified eligible for a scholarship, the student-athlete must follow approved coursework and maintain the minimally allowed GPA in these courses.  The courses that are allowed are posted here.  Practice your sport!  Be respectful of your coach at all times, the college coach will ask.

What is the difference between NCAA, I, II, III, NJCAA, AND NAIA schools?
College athletes are governed by one of these three organizations:

NCAA Division I universities are the largest universities.  There are many scholarship opportunities and the competition is cut-throat.  This division is seen as the first step towards professional sports.

Division II school tend to be smaller universities and colleges.  There is no age limit at DII schools.  There are also scholarship opportunities at these colleges.

Division III member colleges are required to sponsor a minimum of five sports for women and five for men.  There are no athletic scholarships offered by DIII institutions.  Student athletes receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability; however, 75 percent of Division III student-athletes receive some form of merit or need-based financial aid.  The benefit of these institutions is the conference and regional competitions.

NJACC is the National Junior College Athletic Association.  An athletic grand-in-aid may be awarded to any student athlete in recognition of his/her ability provided the student athlete is admitted to the institution.  It shall be limited to a maximum of tuition, fees, room, board, books and course related material.  Additionally, transportation costs are offered one time per academic year to and from the college by direct route.  It is best to speak directly with each institution regarding eligibility.  The student athlete must have graduated or obtained a GED. The continuing eligibility is contingent upon academic performance while enrolled at that junior college.

NAIA student athletes must register with the NAIA eligibility center.  The athlete must achieve a minimum score of 16 on the ACT, finish in the top half of his/her graduating class, and maintain a GPA of 2.0.  The NAIA governs over more than 60,000 athletes in 23 sports with many scholarships available.

How do I register?  Is there a fee?
To register, the student athlete and parent/guardian must go to the eligibility website of each.  There is a fee associated with registering once requirements have been met through the high school.  The fee is typically $60 to $75.   There are exceptions to the fee.  If a student athlete has received a waiver for the ACT or if the student athlete meets requirements for free or reduced school lunch program.

How do coaches find out about my talent?
Scouts are looking for athleticism, intelligence, and attitude.  It will be necessary to contact the coach of the school the student athlete is interested in attending. It may require a highlight reel and submitting a transcripts with a coach's letter of recommendation.  It is important to show the dedication to both school and the sport to encourage interest in YOU.  Do not wait; be ambitious.

How do I know if I am in the right classes to be eligible?
The NCAA is very specific in the core classes allowed to be factored in to compute the GPA.  Each of the courses offered by Alton High School has been submitted to the clearinghouse for review.  Based upon college readiness through each class, a list of classes deemed "core" have been selected and allowed.  

 Division I Division II Division III
  1. Graduate from High School
  2. Earn a 2.3 GPA in core classes
  3. Earn a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches your core course grade point average and test score on a sliding scale
  4. Complete the 16 core courses within four consecutive academic years
  • 4 years English
  • 2 years math (Algebra 1 or higher)
  • 2 years natural or physical science
  • 1 extra year of English, math, or science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of extra core classes
  1.  Graduate from high school
  • 3 year English (4 are needed for graduation from AHS)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science
  • 3 additional years of English, math, or science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 4 years of additional courses
        2. Complete the 16 core courses within four              consecutive academic years

        3. Earn a 2.0 GPA in core classes

Division III schools set their own admissions and eligibility standards. Contact the Division III school you are planning to attend.  
  •  Finish in the top half of your graduating class
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Score 860 on the SAT or 16 on the ACT
  •  Graduate from high school or GED
  • All other eligibility requirements are met while attending the junior college.

If I am recruited, do I still have to apply to the college?
YES.  A potential student athlete must meet all requirements of the college or university he/she would like to attend.  It is imperative the student know the requirements for admittance. Most colleges require 3 years of social science, whereas NCAA and Alton High School only require 2.  It is the students responsibility to know all requirements.

Do I have to take the ACT?  How do I send my ACT scores to the university?
Scores must be sent directly from ACT to the NCAA Clearinghouse.  The student should enter code 9999 on the ACT when taking the test or go to to have the scores sent. The ACT scores are on the high school transcript and are accepted by colleges and universities directly from Alton High School.

What are my academic goals?
While athletic scholarship offerings are a powerful justification for college selection, student's aspirations of careers must also be considered.  The goal of education at the collegiate level is to prepare the student for his or her chosen career.  Most athletes are not recruited to professional sports teams.  The ultimate goal of academia is to ascertain a degree in a field the student athlete has chosen.

What is the difference between a qualifier and a non-qualifier for DI schools?
Division I
  • Qualifier may receive athletic aid (scholarship), practice and compete in the first year of enrollment at the college or university, must complete 16 core courses, ten of which must be completed before the start of the seventh semester of high school, have a minimum GPA of 2.30 (in core courses), and meet the sliding scale of GPA and ACT score.
  • Academic Redshirt may receive athletic aid (scholarship), and may practice the first regular academic term at the college or university, but may not compete in the first year of enrollment, must complete 16 core courses, ten of which must be completed before the start of the seventh semester of high school, have a minimum GPA of 2.30 (in core courses), and meet the sliding scale of GPA and ACT score.
Division II
  • Qualifier must meet all criteria for correct core classes (found in NCAA approved courses), have a combined ACT score of 68, and have a core course GPA of 2.0.
What is an amateur student athlete and what are the amateurism rules?
If a student athlete desires to be a part of Division I or II athletics, he/she must also be certified as an amateur student athlete.  This certification is completed by the NCAA Clearinghouse.  Division III schools will complete certification process.  Amateur athlete means an athlete who meets the eligibility standards established by the national governing body or Paralympic sports organization for the sport in which the athlete competes.

When the student athlete registers with the NCAA Eligibility Center, he/she will be asked questions about athletic participation.  This will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether your amateurism status should be certified or if a penalty should be assessed before certification.  Information will be gathered concerning whether the student athlete has had contacts with a professional team, been contacted by an agent, have ascertained prize money for the sport, along with other information.  Please see the website for further information.