Your athletes definitely need to be physically qualified to be eligible to play on college and have a sports scholarship or athletic scholarship. But there is a big competition among athletes for scholarship, so academics is very important too. If you have low grades on your high school, you are cutting your chances in half right off the bat.
Learn here on what exactly the grades you need to qualify on a college sports scholarship by watching this video.
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We get the question all the time of, “What grades do I need to get a Division 1 scholarship? Or what grades do I need to be eligible to play in college?”
The NCAA does have restrictions there and now it is on a sliding scale, so it is not an exact answer. It used to be like around a 2.3 GPA and around an 800 Math Verbal SAT, which are very poor grades.
The myth out there is, “Hey you just need to be this level of a student to be able to play in college sports.”
If you are 6’8″ and 350 pounds and run a 4.540 and you are a freak athlete and you are ridiculously skilled in your sport and you are one of the top 10 kids in the nation in your sport, you probably do just need to be one step over eligible — right?
You just need to pass that test and get a 2.3 and get the 820 Math Verbal, or the sliding scale is now. Assuming you are not that level, which 99.9% of us are in that category, grades are so important. Because the next level, other than NCAA eligibility, is you actually have to be able to get into the school. Each individual school will have different levels of admission.
Fifty percent of the schools in the nation need at least a 3.0 to get into their school. Think about that for a second. There are roughly 1,800 schools that offer sports, different for every sport. If you have a 2.9 GPA in high school, you are cutting your chances in half right off the bat. That is just one level.
The second level is the level for you to get academic money from the school. So of course, if a 3.0 is the cut off to get in, then maybe a 3.5 is the cut off to get academic money.
Let’s take a scenario that is very common that I have a lot as a college coach. If I have a kid and I have one full scholarship to give and I am looking at two kids. Let’s say one of the kids is a really poor student, so I would have to use a full scholarship or a 100% scholarship for that athlete. I have another kid who is a good student and he is going to qualify for a 50% academic scholarship. So I only have to use a 50% scholarship on that kid. I could technically get two of those kids for the price of one. Even if that kid was a little bit worse of a player, in my opinion, I am more apt to take the good student because I am only using half the scholarship.
Now remember I only have a certain number of scholarships that I could use, so I would much rather give a half than a full. If I give the half scholarship, I get to keep the other half to use on somebody else.
Now add on to the fact that I would probably rather coach the good student because I don’t have to worry about study hall. I don’t have to worry about checking up with their teachers and making sure they don’t flunk out, because I don’t want to give a kid a scholarship, teach them and coach them for a year, then have them flunk out. Then I’ll end up in the same boat next year.
I also would probably make the assumption that the smarter the kid is in the classroom and the harder working they are in the classroom; the better they are going to be at picking up my offense, at picking up my defense, at being coachable, and so on at being hard working and doing what I want them to do. If they are not doing what their high school teachers want them to do, why are they going to do what I want them to do when they come to college?
So for all of those reasons, academics are so important. Another twist on that is sometimes being a good enough student can get you into a school that you otherwise would not have gotten into.
Let’s take the elite schools in the nation like the Ivy League and the Patriot League. What they will have, of course very hard to get into those schools, as a regular student. The athletics at those schools, being the Division 1, will have a waiver system where say the volleyball coach will be allotted say four kids that do not meet the criteria to get into that school on their own. They can pull four kids and get them into the school, but only four. If you are good enough to get into that school on your own, they don’t have to use one of those waivers on you.
So when somebody asks me, “What kind of grades do I need to play this sport in college or whatever,” my answer is always, the absolute best grades that you can get.
If you want to save money on college, your batting average or your points per game or your assists per game or your ERA, isn’t as important as your GPA, your SAT and your ACT. Those are your most important statistics when it comes to saving money on college.
Tim Ryerson is the President and Founder of STUDENTathleteWorld.com, a college athletic recruiting company that has helped hundreds of high school athletes with the college athletic recruiting process since 2009. Tim spent eight years as a College Coach in Men’s Basketball and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country.
During his college coaching career, Tim worked at five NCAA Universities in four States, including Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Carolina. He also spent time as a high school coach in Softball, Baseball, Basketball, and Football. Tim has a M.Ed in Sports Management and lives in Raleigh, NC.