College Athletic Eligibility

Student-athletes interested in playing athletics at the college level should be aware of the basic high school eligibility guidelines of the athletic associations.


The NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the governing body approximately 1,200 schools. It consists of three divisions (Division I, II, and III) and oversees 21 sports. Divisions I and II both offer athletic scholarships, with over 126,000 student-athletes receiving partial or full athletic scholarships. Division III student-athletes can only receive academic or non-athletic scholarships – no athletic scholarships are allowed.  NCAA academic requirements must be met to play a sport or receive an athletic scholarship at Division I and II colleges. There are high school core classes required by the NCAA in order to be eligible for college athletic scholarships.


The NAIA (the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) consists of approximately 250 schools and 17 sports. The NAIA is a smaller association than the NCAA, with just over 65,000 students. It includes two divisions (Division I and II). The schools in the NAIA award scholarships to prospective student-athletes. Eligibility requirements are less strenuous than the NCAA eligibility requirements.


The NJCAA (the National Junior College Athletic Association) is an association of intercollegiate athletics who participate for two years. They have great programs and provide a springboard to higher athletics for the final two years of college. There are three divisions - Division I, II and III. Division I schools offer full and partial sports scholarships; the scholarship can include a variety of things. Division II schools offer scholarships for books, tuition and fees. Division III schools are not able to supply scholarships.