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.

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Academic Standards

To be successful in college, students need to be prepared for college coursework. In Division I and Division II, the NCAA sets academic initial-eligibility standards that take into account GPA, standardized test scores, core courses taken in high school and the grades earned in those core courses. Division III schools hold student-athletes to the same overall standards for the institution in which they’re enrolling.

All student-athletes also must meet the unique acceptance requirements of the college or university they plan to attend (which may exceed NCAA standards).

Rewarding Team Success

Schools are held accountable for the academic progress of student-athletes. Only those teams that make the grade can participate in championships, and Division I schools' share of NCAA revenue will be tied to academic achievement.

Continuing Academic Success

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

Tracking Graduation Rates

The ultimate goal of the college experience is graduation. The NCAA closely tracks student-athlete graduation rates and the rates are higher than ever. In fact, research demonstrates that athletes are graduating at a higher percentage than the overall student body.

Focusing on Academic Integrity

In April 2016, the Division I Council adopted a proposal that establishes the appropriate balance between a school’s role in deciding academic integrity issues on campus and the NCAA’s role in reinforcing and upholding the Association’s core academic principles. This is the first legislative change to the division’s approach to academic integrity issues since 1983.