To succeed in college, student-athletes have to win in more places than just on the field. The NCAA provides opportunities to learn, compete and grow by setting standards that encourage student-athletes to be prepared for college coursework and make steady progress toward a degree once they’re on campus.

New Division I initial eligibility standards require athletes who enroll in August 2016 or later to meet three requirements to compete during their first year:

• Complete 16 core courses, including 10 before their senior year.
• A 2.3 grade-point average in those core courses in high school.
• An SAT or ACT score matched to GPA on a sliding scale.

The new requirements hold student-athletes to higher academic standards and are intended to better prepare them for success in college.

The Division I Academic Progress Rate is a standard the NCAA uses to hold schools accountable for the academic progress of student-athletes on athletics scholarships. Teams that don’t meet minimum standards can be denied access to championships and face penalties, such as scholarships reductions and cuts to playing and practice time, among others.

Student-athletes must be committed to academic achievement and the pursuit of a degree, and they are required to meet yearly standards to be able to compete. Athletes are tracked using three measures: grades; minimum credit hours per year; and progress toward earning a degree. Schools in all divisions must determine the academic eligibility of their athletes (Division I, Division II, Division III).

The NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate and Academic Success Rate measure the percentage of student-athletes who graduate within six years. While the GSR is similar to the federal grad rate, it accounts for transfer students, something the federal rate doesn't do. The GSR counts students who transfer into a school or enroll in the middle of the year and removes students who leave school in good academic standing. Both GSR and the federal rate indicate athletes graduate at a higher percentage than the overall student body.

In 2015, the Division I Committee on Academics recommended a proposal that further defines academic misconduct, impermissible assistance and other improprieties. In April 2016, the Division I Council will decide whether to adopt this proposal, which would be the first legislative change in the area of academic integrity since 1983.

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