NCAA and NAIA Freshman Eligibility Standards

In the United States there are two collegiate athletic associations, the NCAA and the NAIA. The NAIA also has member institutions in Canada. Both offer scholarships in athletics but each organization has different guidelines pertaining to athletic eligibility.


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In August 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III was adopted by the NCAA membership in a special convention. Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Generally, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. Division I football was further divided into I-A and I-AA in 1978. Subsequently the term “Division I-AAA” was briefly added to delineate Division I schools which do not field a football program at all, but that term is no longer officially used by the NCAA. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

To view the new 2015 NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete click here.

In order to be an NCAA qualifier as an athlete you must meet certain core GPA and testing standards.  The first step in this process is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Click on the NCAA Eligibility Center logo below to view the site:

To view the new 2015 NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete click here. 


Want to play college sports, click here to visit NCAA website and get the information you need.


The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs. Membership in the NAIA consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States. The NAIA allows colleges and universities outside the USA as members. As of January 2014, the NAIA reports having 255 member institutions. Currently, the headquarters are located in Kansas City, Missouri. The NAIA sponsors 23 national championships.

In order to be an NAIA qualifier as an athlete you must meet certain core GPA and testing standards as well.  To do this you must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center.  To view the NAIA Eligibility Center click here. is the official clearinghouse for NAIA eligibility. Every student-athlete must register with the NAIA eligibility center to play sports at an NAIA college. The eligibility center is also a powerful tool to help athletes connect with coaches and NAIA schools – and find money for college through thousands of NAIA athletic scholarships.


Here are some additional articles on the college recruiting process: Learn More

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