NCAA waives standardized test scores for 2020-21 incoming first-years

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Students taking a test. (Photo via Wikimedia.)

Incoming first-year student-athletes planning to enroll in Division I or Division II schools for the 2020-21 academic year will no longer be required to submit an SAT or ACT score, the NCAA announced in a statement Friday.

Instead, Division I schools will require incoming first-years to have had at least a 2.3 GPA in 10 NCAA-approved core courses before the start of senior year of high school. Seven of those 10 classes must be in English, math or science. For Division II schools, there is a minimum 2.2 GPA requirement in the 10 NCAA-approved core courses. 

Approved NCAA core courses include English, natural or physical science, social science, math, comparative religion and Spanish courses. The non-core courses are driver education, typing, art, music, physical education, consumer education, basic level courses and video editing, film appreciation or any classes that are not academic in nature. 

“The Eligibility Center is navigating the complexity of COVID-19 and its negative impact on our membership, high schools and student-athletes,” vice president of the NCAA Eligibility Center Felicia Martin 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 Eligibility Center analyzes a student-athlete’s academics and SAT or ACT scores to “certify whether prospective college athletes are eligible to play sports at NCAA Division I or II institutions.” Student-athletes are asked to create an online profile so the Eligibility Center can assess whether they can play Division I or II sports. 

This move serves as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, during which many schools have canceled in-person learning for the remainder of the academic year. It has also affected SAT and ACT testing dates, as students have been unable to take the test.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order until May 26, closing all public and private K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic yearIn Indianapolis, where the NCAA is located, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced April 17 the extension of Indiana’s stay-at-home order until May 1. Similar to Wisconsin, all K-12 schools in Indiana are closed for the rest of the school year. 

The NCAA’s ruling does not apply to high school students graduating in the spring or summer of 2020.

This story was written by Tyler Peters. He can be reached at tyler.peters@marquette.edu or on Twitter @_tylerpeters_.