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Information For College Bound Athletes

Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 by Randy Rogers

Randy Rodgers
StudentSportsFootball.com Columnist

If you want to be a college athlete, then you must first be a college student. There is no other way. To be a college scholarship athlete, you must initially be eligible to play and long before that, college football staffs will make a determination on whether they should even pursue recruiting you, based on the academic credentials you have.

There are several things that every family needs to do to determine their academic status.

1. Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This is a form that every prospect and his parents needs to fill out as juniors and send in. This form can be obtained online from the NCAA at www.ncaa.org or picked up at your high school guidance office or registrar's office. The Clearinghouse exists as an independent agency to calculate prospects' grade point averages and is the instrument that colleges use to determine your eligibility. If you have ambitions to play college athletics, do this this spring.

2. Take an ACT and/or SAT test. The NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse will calculate your test score and your grade point average, but must first have the results of your SAT/ACT test. If you are a high school junior football player, take one or both of the tests this spring. When you fill out the form for the test, there will be a box to check to have your test score sent to the Clearinghouse. Ask your counselor for the code and make sure you do this. Don't wait until the fall of your senior year to take your first SAT or ACT test.

3. Make sure your counselor sends a copy of your six semester (after your junior year is completed) transcript to the Clearinghouse. There isn't a hurry-up need to do this before the completion of your junior year, since the Clearinghouse is currently spending their time calculating eligibility status for the current seniors. Simply hand address a stamped envelop to the Clearinghouse and give it to your counselor before the end of school, with instructions to have a copy of your six semester grades sent, once they are calculated and posted.

Once you have done these three things then all subsequent ACT/SAT tests will be sent to the Clearinghouse and you will need to have a copy of your seven semester and eight semester transcripts sent when they are available.

Your eligibility is calculated in the following way:

Each prospect must complete a total of fourteen core courses to be eligible to play as a freshman. Core courses are those in Math, English, Science, Social Science, Foreign Language and other college prep type courses. Go to the NCAA website and go to the Initial Eligibility section and download the core course requirements.

Your "core" gpa will be different from your "overall" gpa because the NCAA will not allow you to count your grades in physical education, computer science, wood shop, etc.

Your high school has a form on file in the principal's office called the 48-H form, which lists all the classes your high school offers that meets these core requirements. Depending on what your "core" GPA is will determine how high a score you must obtain on your SAT/ACT test.

Each prospect will receive a score on his ACT/SAT test. Your eligibility is determined on the basis of your standing on an initial eligibility "sliding scale," which can also be obtained on the NCAA website.

For instance if your core GPA is a 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), then you must score at least an 820 on your SAT. If your core GPA is a 2.0, then your SAT score must be a 1010. If you core gpa is a 3.0, then you need a minimum of 620 on your SAT.

The scale slides so that the higher your grade point average is, the lower your test score can be and vice versa. Currently the NCAA adds the scores on the math and critical reading sections of the SAT, not the writing portion.

Please keep in mind also that while the NCAA has determined minimum standards, that doesn't mean that some college institutions can't require higher standards. Some colleges also factor in your class rank. Colleges like Rice, Duke, Notre Dame as well as the U.S. Military Academies, and Ivy League universities have standards of their own and in many cases want to look at your transcripts before they even look at your football game tapes.

As you are investigating colleges that interest you, always make sure you ask what there academic standards are. One of your goals is to be as good a student as you can possibly be, to open up as many options for your as possible.

Everyone must take note that no matter how skilled you are there is always someone just as skilled (if not more skilled) with the grades to get into college. Every class counts, every class matters. Just as every play counts and every play matters

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