NCAA waiving standardized test scores for incoming freshmen

The NCAA Eligibility Center is waiving the standardized test score requirement for incoming freshman student-athletes in both Division I and Division II for the 2020-21 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the governing body announced Friday.

Students who expect to graduate from high school in time to enroll in a Division I school this coming academic year will be academically eligible by earning a combined 2.3 grade-point average in the 10 NCAA-approved core courses, with a combined seven in English, math and science prior to the start of their senior year. There is a 2.2 GPA requirement in 10 NCAA-approved core courses for Division II schools.

The same GPA requirements will apply to international students and they must complete at least 10 core courses prior to the start of their senior year.

"The Eligibility Center is navigating the complexity of COVID-19 and its negative impact on our membership, high schools and student-athletes," Felicia Martin, vice president of the NCAA Eligibility Center, said in a statement. "We understand this is an unprecedented situation and a difficult time for students and their parents, and the Eligibility Center is working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for college-bound student-athletes and our member schools."

The NCAA said the new requirements will be considered automatic waivers for both Divisions I and II, meaning those students meeting these criteria will be academically eligible to receive an athletics scholarship and practice and compete in their first year at member schools.

The changes will not apply to high school students graduating after the spring or summer of 2020.

Students who needed qualifying standardized test scores have been unable to take the SAT and ACT because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are keenly aware of the educational disruptions and academic uncertainty that prospective student-athletes are experiencing," Martin said. "To that end, the Eligibility Center is committed to providing support and flexibility in application of initial-eligibility requirements as we remain nimble for additional issues we can't predict or forecast."

The Eligibility Center said in the news release that it would also modify its approach to high schools that issue pass/fail grades because of closures and would not require separate reviews of distance or e-learning programs used for NCAA-approved core courses during spring and summer 2020. Students will also be able to complete additional required core courses this summer.