The COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting ramifications until at least 2021-22, as the NCAA Eligibility Center has temporarily waived standardized test requirements for incoming student-athletes.
The NCAA announced Monday that “students who initially enroll full time during the 2021-22 academic year and intend to play NCAA Division I or II athletics will not be required to take a standardized test to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.”
A similar announcement was made in April for student-athletes entering college in 2020-21. The change comes as part of an NCAA effort to offer flexibility after the pandemic impacted all levels of education, including canceling some ACT and SAT tests while online versions were under development. Prospective college student-athletes are also dealing with different guidelines and education requirements during the 2020-21 school year.
”Given the continuing impact of COVID-19, the NCAA membership made this decision with the health and well-being of incoming students top of mind,” NCAA Eligibility Center vice president Felicia Martin said. “We understand the uncertainty in the educational environment and believe these changes will help ensure students have a fair opportunity to meet the initial-eligibility standard.”
The waiver means that student-athletes enrolling in a Division I school during the 2021-22 academic year will need a 2.3 grade-point average and 16 NCAA-approved core courses to be academically eligible. Ten core courses, including seven in English, math and science, must be completed by the start of a student-athlete’s seventh high school semester.
Student-athletes enrolling in a Division II school need a 2.2 GPA in 16 NCAA-approved core courses. If an athlete meets those criteria, they will immediately be academically eligible to receive a scholarship, practice and compete.
“The standardized test conversation isn’t a new point of discussion for our membership. Throughout the years, the requirement for initial eligibility has been examined quite frequently and discussed with our NCAA membership,” Martin said. “We remain committed to continuing to monitor and evaluate what is in the best interest of the college-bound student-athlete. We do anticipate some additional discussions with our membership.”
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