Athletic Recruiting and NCAA Eligibility

The NCAA has specific course credit requirements in order for a student to participate in collegiate athletics.

Therefore, if you aspire to play Division I athletics, you should be mindful of the NCAA course requirements below. Since these course requirements must be satisfied in the first four years of high school, Division I-minded students who have repeated a year of high school should be extra vigilant and review the information below. Pat Moriarity will assist you by reviewing your transcripts and advising the appropriate course of action. In the meantime, please review your credits and courses before contacting Mr. Moriarity so that your discussions can be more focused and efficient. Most questions about eligibility are answered in the Guide for College-Bound Student-Athlete.

Overview of NCAA Eligibility

In January 2023, NCAA Divisions I and II adopted legislation to remove standardized test scores from initial-eligibility requirements. Check with the NCAA school you plan to attend regarding whether standardized test scores are necessary for admission or scholarship requirements.

Student-athletes enrolling in a Division I school will be academically eligible by earning a minimum 2.3 grade-point average in 16 NCAA-approved core courses, with 10 core courses (seven in English, math and science) completed by the start of their seventh semester in high school (before senior year).

Student-athletes enrolling in a Division II will be academically eligible by earning a minimum 2.2 grade-point average in 16 NCAA-approved core courses.

16 Core Courses for Division I (Division II):

  • 4 years of English (DII: 3 years)
  • 3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher) (DII: 2 years)
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (one must be a lab science) (same for DII)
  • 1 year of additional English, math, or science (DII: 3 years)
  • 2 years of social studies (same for DII)
  • 4 years of additional core courses (from any area listed above, or from foreign language, non-doctrinal religion or philosophy) (same for DII)
  • Note: Visual and performing arts courses and computer science courses are not NCAA approved core courses.

While there are no minimum national standards for establishing or maintaining eligibility in Division III, student-athletes must be in good academic standing and make satisfactory progress toward a degree as determined by the institution.

Myths of the Recruiting Process

Excerpts taken from Varsity Edge

Myth: If you are good enough, coaches will find you.

Reality: Recruiting is now a global process, and despite your skills or success in high school, it is extremely easy to be overlooked by college coaches. Therefore, it is essential for you to contact coaches in a systematic and timely fashion.

Myth: College coaches can contact me anytime they want.

Reality: There are strict rules as to when a coach can send you literature and how often they can contact you at the NCAA level. The good news is that you can contact college coaches at any time so long as you make the phone call, text, or send the email. Additionally, social media contact between high school athletes and coaches is not as defined. Private messages between athletes and Division I coaches are permissible, but public messages (such as wall posts on Facebook) are considered a secondary violation of NCAA recruiting rules. However, Division III sports programs, which have allowed unlimited texting as a recruiting tool since January, do not allow coaches to contact athletes via social media.

Myth: If you receive a letter from a coach, you are being recruited.

Reality: Coaches send out thousands of letters to high school athletes they may or may not have heard of and there are probably 500 kids tearing open the same exact letter you received. Receiving a letter means a coach knows your name and knows you play the sport they coach. Respond to the letter and follow-up with the coach. Until the coach calls you, invites you to the school, and makes you a formal offer to join their program, these letters don’t mean too much.

Myth: College coaches will help me get into their school if I am on the bubble academically.

Reality: While being recruited by a college coach can be an advantage over applicants who are not athletes, you need to be very close academically to what the school seeks out in any student. Coaches can submit a list of names to the admissions department, but you need to be committed to the coach and express a strong interest in attending that institution. At the end of the day admission offices make admission decisions, not coaches.

Questions Regarding Recruiting

How do you establish a relationship with the coach?

Schools have recruiting forms on their websites where you are asked to fill out sport and academic information. The best time to fill out these forms is in your sophomore or junior year, depending on your sport. Generally speaking, the coach will contact you with a follow-up email after you have filled that out.

What is a Likely Letter?

Typically, Likely Letters are sent to athletic and academic recruits several weeks before official admission verdicts are slated to go out. This usually means some time in October for Early Decision/Action applicants and late-February or March for Regular Decision students. To receive a Likely Letter a student must complete and submit an application to the admissions office for review. Increasingly schools are using the Likely Letter to entice qualified applicants for particular programs or recruit students from various geographic locations.

NESCAC Summary

The NESCAC is the New England Small College Athletic Conference. It is an athletic conference made up of academically selective liberal arts institutions. On top of the institution’s high academic caliber, the league is often considered the most competitive Division 3 conference. Details on NESCAC can be found on their website.

Official and Unofficial Visits

The NCAA allows a recruit to make only five official visits to Division I schools, limited to one per school. Official visits to DII and DIII schools are also limited to one per school, but there is no limit on total amount of visits. At all levels, recruits can take only one official visit per school.

Families can go on unofficial visits before August 1 of junior year, but they aren’t allowed to have any recruiting conversations with the coach while on campus. Unofficial visits are a great way for student-athletes to get a feel for different college campuses.

DI recruits in most sports can now start taking official and unofficial visits starting August 1 before their junior year of high school. Some sports may allow for earlier official visits. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For current students, talk to your faculty advisor.  For new students, 9th and 10th graders should contact Ms. Hemphill, 11th graders should contact Dr. Hills, and 12th graders/PGs should contact the college advising office.

Students who want to play a sport in college at the Division I, IA, or II level, must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center by the end of their junior year. For more important information about NCAA academic requirements, please visit Athletic Recruiting.

Naviance is an online college search tool that helps students research potential colleges, keep track of their prospective and active applications, and estimate the likelihood of admission based on the results of previous Deerfield students’ grades and testing profiles as compared to each individual student’s personal academic record. All students are given access to Naviance in the fall of their junior year, and parents are given their own log-in information shortly afterwards.  Naviance is the site through which Deerfield submits the school’s portion of a student’s application materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation), so it’s important that students keep their application information up to date on Naviance.

There is no specific requirement for frequency of meetings, but most seniors meet with their advisor every two or three weeks to discuss their progress. Advisors may request more frequent meetings if a student is falling behind in the process, or around crucial times of the year (such as application deadlines).  Juniors will begin meeting with their advisor in late fall of junior year; they are encouraged to check in with their advisor about once a month.  Students can schedule meetings by visiting the College Advising Office on the second floor of the Boyden Library, emailing their college advisor, or using Outlook to request a meeting.

The College Advising Office sends a message to all sophomores each winter to invite them to schedule a meeting with a college advisor. In the summer before students’ junior year, the College Advising Office will send additional information about what students should be doing to prepare themselves for applying. In the late fall of their junior year, students begin the process in earnest, starting by filling out an information sheet that will help them, in conjunction with their college advisor, begin compiling a list of schools.

Deerfield’s College Advising Office, located on the second floor of the Boyden Library, counsels students extensively on the college application process. Juniors are each assigned a college advisor who works with them closely and gets to know them well to provide personalized assistance. First year students and sophomores are also welcome to drop by the office with any specific questions, though the counseling and application process does not begin in earnest until the junior year.

Deerfield is highly conscious of the needs of its student-athletes, and offers a wide range of NCAA eligible classes. The College Advising Office and Deerfield coaches are accustomed to assisting students seeking to play sports in college, and they are experienced in guiding students through the recruiting process. They will work with students to be sure they meet the NCAA requirements, and are in the best position possible to be recruited. 

Contact College Advising
Fax 413-772-1128

Boyden Library, Second Floor
PO Box 87
Deerfield, MA 01342