College athlete must adhere to strict academic requirements and eligibility standards. Many of the academic standards for college freshmen revolve around such tests as the SAT and ACT combined with the grade-point average (GPA). Colleges cannot judge eligibility solely on grades for incoming freshmen, so they combine the grade-point averages from high school with the ACT or SAT scores and grade them on a sliding scale. NCAA Division I uses the sliding scale for test scores and grade-point average, while NCAA Division II does not use the sliding scale but requires a minimum SAT and ACT score.

Requirements for the Sliding Scale

Step 1

Graduate from high school having completed four years of English, three years of math, two years of natural or physical science, one extra year of English, two years of social science and four years of extra core courses.

Step 2

Earn a minimum required grade-point average in core courses. Core courses are classes that are in one or a combination of English, social sciences, mathematics, foreign language, or nondoctrinal philosophy or religion; are four-year college preparatory; are at or above the high school regulator academic level and are completed before the date of high school graduation.

Step 3

Earn a combined SAT or ACT score that matches the NCAA Division I Core GPA and Test Score Sliding Scale.

Calculating Core GPA and ACT Score

Step 1

Convert letter grades to their corresponding points. An A equals four points, B equals three points, C equals two points and a D is equivalent to one point.

Step 2

Multiply the grade-point average with the amount of credit earned. Calculate this using 0.34 units for a trimester course, 0.50 units for a semester course and 1.00 units for a year-long course. For example, an A grade (4) for a trimester course (.35) equals 1.4 course units.

Step 3

Calculate the estimated core-course grade-point average by dividing the total number of points for all core courses with the total number of core-course units completed.

Step 4

Compare core-course grade-point average with the ACT score on the sliding scale. The scale shows the necessary ACT score combined with the grade-point average that makes an athlete eligible in the NCAA. For example, an ACT score of 52 requires a GPA of 3.000 to be eligible.