NCAA Sliding Scale | GPA and SAT/ACT Requirements (2023)

NCAA Sliding Scale | GPA and SAT/ACT Requirements (1)

Impact of COVID-19 on NCAA eligibility: The NCAA Eligibility Center extended its COVID-19 initial eligibility policies for student-athletes who initially enroll full-time during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. Students who intend to play D1 or D2 sports won’t be required to take the ACT or SAT by the NCAA. Students are also allowed to use pass/fail grades for core courses through the 2021–22 academic year. To keep track of updates that will impact eligibility for current and future recruiting classes, NCSA will continue to share information on our coronavirus resourcespage.

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NCAA Eligibility Updates

What is the NCAA sliding scale?

Reasons to take the ACT or SAT

What is a good SAT and ACT score?

ACT registration, SAT registration and test dates

SAT requirements

ACT requirements

NCAA D1 sliding scale

NCAA D2 sliding scale for partial qualifiers

NCAA D2 sliding scale

NCAA Eligibility Updates

On April 14, 2021, the NCAA extended their D1 and D2 COVID-19 initial-eligibility policies. Student-athletes who initially enroll full time at a college in 2021-22 or 2022-23 and intend to play NCAA D1 or D2 athletics are no longer required to take the ACT or SAT to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.

Keep in mind that this exemption is for eligibility purposes only. Many colleges still require students to take the ACT or SAT for admissions or scholarship purposes, and college coaches may still ask to see your scores to determine if you meet their program’s academic standards. Likewise, student-athletes who are planning to enroll in the class of 2023-24 or beyond should still plan on taking the test to meet NCAA eligibility requirements.

What is the NCAA sliding scale?

When you are trying to determine the GPA or SAT/ACT test scores you need to be NCAA eligible, you must reference the NCAA sliding scale. The NCAA sliding scale is designed so that if you have a higher GPA, you can have lower SAT/ACT scores. If you have really strong test scores, you can have a lower GPA.

Are Ivy League or Top-50 colleges on your target list? offers 1-on-1 guidance from admissions experts to strengthen your college applications and boost your chances of admission.

Academics are very important when it comes to earning a roster spot and securing scholarship money. College coaches do not want to worry about how athletes are doing in the classroom and whether they are staying eligible to compete. That’s why they recruit good students. Check out this video to see how the NCAA factors in both grades and test scores in eligibility requirements.

Four reasons to take the ACT or SAT

  • Top-tier academic schools want to see your scores early. The competition is fierce at academically selective schools, and even applicants with high GPAs can find it difficult to stand out. Completing the ACT registration or SAT registration process, taking the test and submitting your scores early can help you set yourself apart from other recruits.
  • Getting recruited doesn’t mean you’re automatically accepted into a college. Getting a verbal offer or signing the National Letter of Intent doesn’t mean that you’re automatically accepted by a college. The college coach works for the athletic department, not the admissions department. Your application, including grades and test scores, need to stand on its own. When researching schools, make sure you look at the incoming freshmen average GPA and ACT or SAT test scores to get an idea of what grades and test scores you need to meet admissions requirements.
  • It may increase your chances at securing an academic scholarship. Many colleges provide academic scholarships to students who have a strong GPA and test score. Learn more about the different types of scholarships here.
  • Adding a test score to your NCSA profile can help you stand out. College coaches are just as interested in your academic performance as they are with your athletic abilities. They want to focus their recruiting efforts on student-athletes who they know have a good chance at being accepted into their college. Beyond eligibility and acceptance purposes, coaches are also looking for recruits who take their academics seriously. Chances are, if you have a strong GPA and test score, they know you’re more likely to be able to balance the demands of your sport with a college workload.

Insider Tip: Check in with your high school guidance counselor about your grades, core courses and test scores. Not only can they help you meet NCAA eligibility requirements, they can also make sure you’re on track academically to being accepted into your target schools.

If you’re wondering whether you should consider taking the ACT or SAT, check out our recruiting experts break down the importance of standardized testing in the video below.

What is a Good SAT and ACT score?

NCAA Sliding Scale | GPA and SAT/ACT Requirements (2)

The most common question that athletes and families ask us about the ACT and SAT tests is regarding what score qualifies as good. The national average on the ACT is a 21 and the national average on the SAT is a 1070. With that said, these are relative scores and you’ll have to gather more information when applying to colleges. In this video, Tom Ehlers, President and Founder of Method Test Prep, breaks down what you need to know.

ACT registration, SAT registration and test dates

ACT and SAT test dates are offered throughout the year, but the deadlines to register for either test are typically at least a month in advance. Taking some time to complete your ACT registration or SAT registration in advance can save you stress, time and money in late fees!

ACT Registration and Test Dates

2021-22 ACT Registration and Test Dates

Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline (Late Fee Applies)
September 11, 2021August 6, 2021August 20, 2021
October 23, 2021September 17, 2021October 1, 2021
December 11, 2021November 5, 2021November 19, 2021
February 12, 2022January 7, 2022January 21, 2022
April 2, 2022February 25, 2022March 11, 2022
June 11, 2022May 6, 2022May 20, 2022
July 16, 2022June 17, 2022June 24, 2022

International test dates for student-athletes who reside outside of the US, US territories and Puerto Rico can view international ACT registration and test dates here.

For more information about the ACT, including upcoming ACT registration and test dates, visit

SAT Registration and Test Dates

2021-2022 SAT Registration and Test Dates

SAT Registration will open by early July, 2021. Anticipated test dates are listed below.

Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline (Late Fee Applies)
August 28, 2021July 30, 2021August 17, 2021
October 2, 2021September 3, 2021September 21, 2021
November 6, 2021October 8, 2021October 26, 2021
December 4, 2021November 4, 2021November 23, 2021
March 12, 2022February 11, 2022March 1, 2022
May 7, 2022April 8, 2022April 26, 2022
June 4, 2022May 5, 2022May 25, 2022

International test dates for student-athletes who reside outside of the US, US territories and Puerto Rico can view international SAT registration and test dates here.

For more information about the SAT, including upcoming SAT registration and test dates, visit the CollegeBoard website here.

NCAA SAT requirements: How to send your SAT scores to the NCAA

The NCAA uses what is called a “combined SAT” test score. This means you add the math and reading scores and do not use the written score when determining your NCAA eligibility. You can take the SAT as many times as necessary during high school. The NCAA will use your highest single math and reading score and add them together for your best SAT combined score.

How to send your SAT scores to the NCAA:The NCAA only accepts test scores sent directly from the College Board. Test scores on transcripts cannot be used in your academic certification.

  • Sending test scores when registering: When you are registering for the SAT, enter the code “9999” in the area identifying the schools you would like your test scores sent.
  • Sending test scores after you have taken the SAT: If you have already taken the SAT, you have two options. You can send your scores to the NCAA for free up to nine days after the test date. However, if it’s been more than nine days, you will need to go to the college board website to have test scores sent. Be advised this will cost $12, but there are fee waivers available.

SAT Concordance Score:The College Board organization changed the SAT test in the spring of 2016. If you took the SAT before then, you likely took the old version and will need to use the concordance table to convert those scores into the ones now used by the NCAA.

NCAA ACT requirements: How to send your ACT scores to the NCAA

The NCAA sliding scale uses your “ACT sum score.” This is calculated by adding together your English, math, reading and science scores. You can take the ACT a total of 12 times during high school, and your top scores in each subject will be used to create your highest ACT score.

How to send your ACT scores to the NCAA: The NCAA will only accept ACT scores sent directly from the ACT organization. Test scores that appear on your transcript cannot be used in your academic certification.

  • Sending ACT scores when registering: When you register for the ACT, enter the code “9999” in the area identifying the schools you would like your test results shared with.
  • Sending ACT scores after you’ve taken the test: If you have already taken the ACT and need to send scores, go to the ACT website. Be advised, this will cost $38 per test date per report if you tested before 9/1/2016, and $13 per test date per report if you tested after that date.

Insider Tip: If you qualified (or will qualify) for a waiver of the SAT or ACT fee, you are eligible for a waiver of the NCAA Eligibility Center Certification account registration fee. After you complete your registration, ask an authorized official from your current high school (like a guidance counselor) to submit your fee waiver documentation online.

NCAA D1 Sliding Scale





GPA’s Below 2.3 Are Redshirt only

NCAA D2 Sliding Scale

Use for Division 2 FULL QUALIFIER after August 1, 2018Use for Division 2 PARTIAL QUALIFIER after August 1, 2018
3.300 & above400400373.050 & above40040037
2.250900820682.000900820 & above68 & above
2.200920840 & above70 & above


What is the minimum SAT score for NCAA eligibility? ›

For NCAA Divisions 1 and 2, an athlete must have a minimum combined SAT score of 400. The NCAA Eligibility Center only uses the math and critical reading sections when deciding eligibility. If you have a 400 on your SATs, for example, you will need a 3.55 GPA or higher.

Will NCAA require SAT for 2024? ›

NCAA Permanently Eliminates Standardized Test Score Requirement for Division I and II. During the 2023 NCAA Convention, Divisions I and II adopted legislation to remove standardized test scores from initial-eligibility requirements.

Do D1 athletes have to take the SAT? ›

The NCAA last month permanently removed a requirement that first-year Divisions I and II athletes earn a qualifying SAT or ACT score to participate in sports. The shift stems from an NCAA plan to advance racial equity, which entailed studying athletes' eligibility requirements like admissions testing.

What ACT score do you need to be a D1 athlete? ›

In short, school-specific academic eligibility requirements can vary greatly. However, you must receive a 75 sum score on the ACT to be considered academically eligible for any D1 sport. If you are interested in playing for a D2 level college, you have to get a sum score of 70 on the ACT.

Do recruited athletes have to take SAT? ›

Many colleges still require students to take the ACT or SAT for admissions or scholarship purposes, and college coaches may still ask to see your scores to determine if you meet their program's academic standards.

What is the lowest GPA to go D1? ›

The minimum GPA you can have to be considered an early academic qualifier for D1 is a 2.3 GPA and a 980 SAT combined score or 75 ACT sum score. You will need a 2.2 GPA and a 900 SAT combined score or 68 ACT sum score to be eligible at the Division II level.

What is the minimum ACT score for athletic scholarships? ›

The ACT score required is the sum of the English, math, reading, and science sections. In order to make sure that the Eligibility Center receives your test scores after the test, use the test code 9999 and it will be sent to them directly. In the NAIA, the minimum requirement for the ACT is a score of 18.

What ACT do you need for NCAA? ›

For example, if you graduate high school with exactly a 2.300 GPA in your core courses, you must have at least a 980 combined score to meet the NCAA SAT requirements or a 75 ACT sum score in order to meet the NCAA academic requirements for Division 1.

Does NCAA accept ACT Superscore? ›

The NCAA does not consider your composite score. Instead, it considers your scores as a sum with a total possible between 4-144. It's also worth noting that the NCAA does superscore, meaning that if you take the test more than once, they will consider your highest section scores from any test administrations.

Do I need to send SAT scores to NCAA Eligibility Center? ›

Test scores must be reported directly to the Eligibility Center from the ACT or SAT. Test scores will not be taken off transcripts or from a student score report.

What is a good SAT score for a student athlete? ›

They are more than numbers and need to realize that education is just as important as athleticism. As long as the athlete focuses on the books, the eligibility requirements will domino effect. Thus, a good SAT score can be as simple as at least a 690 to as complicated as a minimum of 400 to 980.

What is the NCAA SAT code? ›

scholarships or compete during their first year of enrollment at an NCAA Division I school. When a student registers for the SAT and ACT, he or she can use the NCAA Eligibility Center code 9999 so his/her scores are sent directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center from the testing agency.

Can I get into college with a 1000 SAT score? ›

Is A 1000 SAT Score (40th Percentile) Good? A score of 1000 on the SAT places you at the 40th percentile of all exam takers. With a score of 1000, you'll be eligible to apply to a decent number of colleges, however, it won't make you a competitive applicant at most of them.


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