Academic Requirements in the Collegiate Track & Field Landscape

Searching for the right university, going through the recruitment process and managing the pressures of high school can be overwhelming, to say the least. Streamline Athletes helps high school track and field athletes make confident decisions about where to study and compete at the collegiate level.


There are a lot of university and college options to consider when looking at the North American collegiate track & field landscape, over 1,700 in fact. From U SPORTS to the CCAA, the NCAA’s three divisions and the NAIA, there is a lot to consider when deciding where to go to school to pursue both athletics and academics. But deciding where to go to college is only half the battle, student-athletes must be aware of what is required of them academically in order to compete at the collegiate level.

For some context, Canada is home to two governing bodies of university and college sport: U SPORTS and the CCAA. U SPORTS has 56 university members spread over four regional conferences nationwide, which include the OUA, AUS, Canada West and RSEQ. While the CCAA has 94 member institutions that include colleges, universities, technical institutions and cégeps which are located throughout five regional governed conferences: the OCAA, ACAC, RSEQ, ACAA and the PWAA.

Both U SPORTS and the CCAA foster an environment of development for their student-athletes through academics and high-level competition opportunities in intercollegiate sport!

On the other hand, the United States is home to NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA (with the expectation of UBC and SFU in British Columbia, Canada). Each association offers student-athletes different opportunities and experiences.

Curious to learn more about the collegiate track and field landscape? → Click here!

  

Academic Requirements

Now that you have some background information, let’s get into the good stuff!

University-bound student-athletes must meet certain academic requirements in order to be able to practice, receive athletic scholarships and compete during their first year at university/college. Once a student-athlete enters their second/sophomore year of university/college these academic requirements will change to reflect their respective school and associations’ academic credit requirements. But for now, let’s talk about the requirements needed coming out of high school.

 

U SPORTS

For students entering a U SPORTS school directly from high school, they must have achieved a minimum 60% academic average or equivalent on the courses they used to determine their university admission. If this average is met the student-athlete is eligible to participate immediately in U SPORTS. However, if a student-athlete has not achieved the 60% requirement but has in fact been accepted into a U SPORTS school, the student-athlete must successfully complete 9 credits of equivalent in a single semester before becoming eligible to participate in their sport.

In terms of scholarships, for a U SPORTS student-athlete entering their first year of university, they must maintain a minimum GPA of 80% out of high school to qualify for prize money. If a student is unable to do so, they may be able to gain an athletic scholarship at the end of their first year if they acquire a 65% average or higher. In Ontario this magic number is slightly higher at 70%.

Curious to learn more about scholarships? → Click here!

 

Moving onto the NCAA, there is something called a core-course requirement, which varies between divisions. These courses must be completed in order to be eligible for practice, athletic scholarship and competition. You will notice each course has a specific number of years attached to it, this is how many years of a specific course must be completed.

NCAA D-I

16 core-courses must be completed within the following areas:

  • English 4 years
  • Math (Algebra 1 or equivalent) – 3 years
  • Natural/Physical science (including one year of lab, if offered) – 2 years
  • Additional (English, math or natural/physical science) – 1 year
  • Social Science2 years
  • Additional courses (any area listed above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy) – 4 years

To fully qualify to be eligible within the NCAA D-I, student-athletes must complete all 16 core-courses, ten of which must be completed before their senior year of high school. Student-athletes must earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.3, earn an ACT/SAT score that matches their core-course GPA and graduate high school. 

NCAA D-II

16 core-courses must be completed within the following areas:

  • English3 years
  • Math (Algebra 1 or equivalent) – 2 years
  • Natural/Physical science (including one year of lab, if offered) – 2 years
  • Additional (English, math or natural/physical science) – 3 years
  • Social Science 2 years
  • Additional courses (any area listed above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy) – 4 years

To fully qualify to be eligible in the NCAA-DII, a student-athlete must complete 16 core-courses, earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.2, earn an ACT/SAT score that matches their core-course GPA and graduate high school.

To partially qualify to be eligible within the NCAA-DII, meaning students may receive an athletic scholarship and practice with the team but CAN’T compete during their first year, a student-athlete must complete 16 core courses, earn a core-course GPA of at least 2.0, earn an ACT/SAT score matching their core-course GPA and graduate high school.

NCAA D-III

For D-III, the NCAA has no academic requirements; each university sets its own academic standards for student-athletes. Do your research and contact the schools which you are interested in to see what academic standards you must meet.

 

NAIA

As for the NAIA, student-athletes must graduate from high school and meet two of the three following requirements:

  • Finish in the top half of their graduating class
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Score 860 on the SAT or 16 on the ACT

While this is a lot to take in be sure to do your own research too! Be active in your own recruitment journey and take initiative to find the perfect school for you and the requirements you will need to meet academically in order to make your dream school a reality.


How Streamline Athletes Can Help You

 As you can see there is a great deal of information to be aware of when looking to take that leap into university and college life! While it may seem confusing to you now, don’t worry, Streamline Athletes is here to help you along the way and answer any questions you may have.

Questions? Email them to info@streamlineathletes.com or click here for more info about creating a FREE recruitment profile with Streamline Athletes!

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