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The True North Series

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So you want an NCAA D1 Scholarship?

One of the goals most frequently shared by our student-athletes is their desire to earn a scholarship to play basketball at the NCAA Division 1 level. Our players understand that it requires hard work and dedication to accomplish this. But an equal amount of effort and attention is required off the court, in the classroom.

Your jump shot, defense, and handle won’t get you to D1 on their own.

The NCAA has strict academic standards which must be satisfied to earn a full athletic scholarship. In contrast to the Canadian university application system, in which only grade 12 marks are evaluated, the NCAA admissions process considers all four years of your high school grades. For the student-athlete hoping to land a scholarship, it can be a rude awakening to learn that your marks in the 9th grade are as just as important as those in the 12th.

But it doesn’t end there. What if some of your highest grades are in courses that aren’t counted towards your computed average?

The academic component of the NCAA evaluation process is limited to specific “core courses”. Admissions departments will only look at your credits in English, math, natural or physical science, social science, comparative religion, and philosophy. This can be a challenge for student-athletes who excel in the arts — your music, drama, and fine arts credits WON’T be included in your application!

I’ve heard more than a few students boast of their 95 in phys ed. But this grade is also irrelevant towards NCAA eligibility. Only the core courses matter. And you’ll need a 2.3 GPA in these, along with a decent SAT score, to qualify for an athletic scholarship.

Now for some good news.

We’ve had dozens of student-athletes receive scholarships to NCAA D1 and D2 schools. It’s not impossible. But it does take planning and commitment, and you need to know what you’re getting into with eyes wide open.

We’ll continue to dive deeper into the academic side of the NCAA scholarship process in the articles ahead in this series. In the meantime, more information is available on the NCAA website if you’re curious.

Until next time!

Mike Simonetta Jr
Mike Simonetta Jr
Mike Simonetta Jr is a Law student and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Windsor. He also works alongside Vidal Massiah running the Northern Kings Elite AAU & Bill Crothers Prep Programs.