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Best Practices for Certifying Division II Progress-Toward-Degree (PTD)

Step 1

Determine if the student-athlete is in good academic standing.

1.       Good academic standing is determined by each institution for all students (must use the more stringent of institutional, conference or NCAA rules).

2.       If the student-athlete is NOT in good academic standing, the student-athlete is ineligible and no further analysis necessary.

3.       If the student-athlete is in good academic standing, move to Step 2.

Step 2

Determine if the student-athlete triggered meeting the six-hour rule.

Six-Hour Rule:

1.       Must earn a minimum of six hours in the previous full-time term of attendance.

  • During the first two years of collegiate enrollment, may use credits acceptable toward any of the institution's baccalaureate degree programs. After designating a degree (fifth semester or seventh quarter), all credits must be degree applicable.

2.       Does not apply to graduate students or student-athletes seeking a second baccalaureate.

3.       In a student-athlete's final academic year of the degree program, the six hours may be acceptable toward any of the institution's degree programs, provided the student-athlete is carrying (for credit) the hours necessary to complete the degree requirements at the end of the two semesters or three quarters.

4.       The rule does not apply to full-time terms when student-athletes are enrolled in a cooperative education or study-abroad program.

Step 3

Determine if the student-athlete triggered meeting the other credit-hour requirements (i.e., 12/24 hour, 75/25 rule).

There are three possible triggers. A student-athlete is responsible for meeting these additional credit-hour requirements if any one of the three triggers has been satisfied.


1.       One academic year in residence at the certifying institution; OR

2.       Used a season of competition at the certifying institution; OR

3.       Midyear transfer (not enrollee) to the certifying institution.

If one or more of the three triggers has been satisfied, move to Step 4. If not, move to initial- eligibility or transfer-eligibility certification.

Step 4

If a student-athlete triggers meeting the additional credit-hour requirements, the student-athlete is responsible for meeting the following:

1.       12/24 Hour Rule: Either of the following two methods can be used for determining the 12/24 rule.

a.       Actual Method: Complete 24-semester or 36-quarter hours in the two preceding semesters or three preceding quarters; or

b.      Averaging Method: Complete an average of 12 semester or 12 quarter hours for each of the previous terms enrolled.

2.       75/25 Percent Rule:

a.       At least 75 percent of the required hours for 12/24 must be earned during the regular academic year.

  • The regular academic year is defined as the period of time beginning with the opening day of the institution's fall term and concluding with the institution's spring commencement.

b.      Not more than 25 percent of the required hours may be earned in the summer.

c.       "J-term" or "mini-term" hours may be used to satisfy the 75 percent requirement provided the term ends before spring commencement at the institution.

d.       75/25 may be calculated using the actual or averaging method.

Step 5

Determine if the student-athlete triggered meeting the minimum grade-point average rule based on hours earned:

1.       24-semester or 36-quarter hours: 1.800;

2.       48-semester or 72-quarter hours: 1.900; and

3.       72-semester or 108-quarter hours; and thereafter: 2.000.

A student-athlete must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average based on the method of calculation used by the institution for all students, and it must include all coursework normally counted by the institution in calculating the grade-point average.

Note: Use the more stringent of institutional, conference or NCAA rules regarding minimum grade-point average requirements.

Step 6

Determine if the student-athlete is subject to the following rule:

1.       Designation of Degree Rule.

a.       During the first two years of enrollment, a student-athlete may use credits acceptable toward any of the institution's baccalaureate degree programs.

b.      After a degree is designated in the fifth semester or seventh quarter, all hours for the 12/24 hour rule, 75/25 rule and the six-hour rule must count toward the designated degree program.

c.       The appropriate academic authorities must document a change of degree.

(1)     Credits earned before the change count toward the first degree program.

(2)     Credits earned after the change count toward the new degree program.

Step 7

Other considerations for credit-hour and grade-point average requirements:

1.      Part-Time Enrollment.

a.      Hours earned by a student-athlete while enrolled in less than a full-time program of studies shall not be used to meet progress-toward-degree requirements, unless the student-athlete is held accountable for the term(s) of part-time enrollment at the time of certification.

b.      Part-time hours earned during the academic year may be used to meet progress-toward-degree requirements. Please Note:  If a student-athlete triggers progress-toward-degree for the year, he/she owes for the entire year. (i.e., "In for the year; owe for the year.")

c.      A student-athlete may not use part-time hours earned prior to initial, full-time enrollment at the certifying institution to satisfy both the initial-eligibility (or transfer requirements) and the progress-toward-degree requirements. Part-time hours earned prior to initial, full-time enrollment may only be used for one certification at the institution.

2.      Remedial, Tutorial or Noncredit Courses.

a.      Remedial, tutorial and noncredit courses may be used only if taken in the first academic year of collegiate enrollment.

b.      Such courses must be prerequisites for degree-applicable courses.

c.      A maximum of 12 semester or 18 quarter hours of remedial, tutorial or noncredit courses may be used during the first year of collegiate enrollment to meet progress-toward-degree requirements.

Step 8

If all progress-toward-degree requirements are satisfied, the student-athlete is eligible to compete and no further analysis necessary. If not, go to Step 9.

Step 9

If the student-athlete fails to satisfy one or more of the progress-toward-degree requirements outlined above, determine if the student-athlete meets any of the exceptions or waivers per NCAA Bylaw and Bylaw

1.      Missed-Term Exception: May prorate 12 hours per term if the student-athlete:

a.      Missed a complete term or consecutive terms during an academic year;

b.      Did not engage in outside competition in that sport during the missed term;

c.      Was eligible for enrollment during the absence;

d.      Met progress-toward-degree requirements for terms already enrolled; AND

e.      Has not previously used the missed term and is not in his/her first year of residence.

Notes: Hours earned as a part-time student cannot be used during a missed term. A missed term applies only when using the averaging method for certification of a student-athlete.

2.      Midyear Enrollee Exception: When students enter at the beginning of second semester (or the beginning of winter or spring quarter), the hours for the previous term(s) in the same academic year may be prorated at 12 units per term.

3.      Nonrecruited, Nonparticipant Exception: During the initial season of eligibility, this exception may be used, provided all of the following conditions are satisfied:

a.      In residence for one academic year;

b.      Not recruited;

c.      No athletics aid received;

d.      Never practiced or competed (except limited preseason tryouts); AND

e.      Was otherwise eligible.

4.      Graduate Student Exception: A graduate student or a student-athlete who graduates and returns for a second baccalaureate degree or who is taking coursework that would lead to the equivalent of another major or degree, who is otherwise eligible for regular season competition is exempt from the provisions of progress toward degree.

5.      Two-Year Nonparticipation or Minimal Participation Exception: A student-athlete may qualify for the exception if he/she has not participated (practiced or competed) for a consecutive two-year period, or in countable athletically related activities beyond a
14-consecutive calendar-day period, in any sport in intercollegiate competition or in organized noncollegiate amateur competition while enrolled full time.

6.      Medical-Absence Waiver: When the student-athlete misses a term or is unable to complete a term due to an injury or illness to self or an immediate family member:

a.      May prorate 12 hours per term;

b.      Must be supported by contemporaneous medical documentation; and

c.      Waiver must be filed with member conference (independent institutions must file the waiver with the NCAA).

7.       International Competition: Credit hours may be prorated at 12 hours per term of actual attendance for any academic year in which the student-athlete was not enrolled as a result of recognized international competition (e.g., Olympic, World Championships).

Step 10

If the student-athlete does not meet the progress-toward-degree requirements or any of the exceptions or waivers listed above, the institution may file a waiver with the NCAA Division II Progress-Toward-Degree Waiver Subcommittee of the Academic Requirements Committee. Applications are available on the NCAA Web site:

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this document is provided as a reference to member institutions and does not constitute binding advice on compliance with NCAA rules and bylaws. Any inquiries related to NCAA rules and bylaws should be directed to the NCAA academic and membership affairs staff. The most up-to-date information regarding NCAA Division II rules, bylaws and procedures can be found by accessing the information on LSDBi.