Are Your Academics In Order to Play College Basketball? Taking a look at Core Courses

You are a young basketball player, you’ve put countless hours into practice, lifting weights and eating right. You are mentally and physically ready to take on college basketball. But wait, there is another important factor – Core Courses. You can be the best athlete, D1 level scholarship prospect, but you still need to have all your academic affairs in order. In this article we will take a look at what you need to have exactly, so that you won’t miss out on an opportunity when it comes your way.

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So by now you have seen that when you register with the NCAA or NAIA Eligibility Centers they require you to enter your GPA based on your “core courses“. If you are not sure what “is” or “isn’t” classed as a core-course, the next section will hopefully clarify this for you. This article will only focus on the NCAA core-course requirements.

NOTE: All approved core-course classes are added to your school’s list of NCAAapproved core courses. To make sure you are taking courses on the approved list you can ask your counselor if you some help.

What is a Core Course?

Schools require student athletes to build a solid base of high school courses (called core-courses) to prepare you for the academic expectations when you get to college. For a high school class to be considered a core-course, it has to meet these following requirements:

  • It must be a four-year college preparatory course in one of these subject areas: English, math (algebra I or higher), natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
  • It must be taught at or above your high school’s regular academic level.
  • You must receive credit toward high school graduation and it must appear on an official transcript with course title, grade and credit awarded.

What IS NOT a Core Course?

Now we have established what is a core-course, lets take a look at what is not considered a core-course so you don’t set yourself back and waste any time on subjects that just aren’t going to count:

  • Any course in what are considered non-core areas such as – driver education, typing, art, music, physical education or welding.
  • Courses that prepare you for the world of work (or life) or, for a two-year college or technical school such as – personal finance, consumer education or tech preparations.
  • Any course that is taught below grade level, at a slower pace or with less rigor or depth such as – basic, essential, fundamental or foundational courses.
  • Classes that are not academic in nature such as – film appreciation, video editing or greenhouse management.
  • Any credit-by-exam courses.

Can I earn Core Course Credits?

Yes you can. However, you must know that you can earn credit for a core course only once. If you take a course that repeats the content of another core course, it won;t count. You will only earn credit for one of the courses. The grade will count towards your core-course GPA. Generally, you will receive the same number of credits from the NCAA for a core course that you would receive from your high school for the class.

TIP: For more information on core-course credits you can visit: ncaa.org/studentathletes/future/core-courses

NCAA D1 schools now allow you to complete one additional core-course unit after you graduate high school with the following conditions:

  • You graduate in eight semesters after you begin ninth grade.
  • The additional core-course unit must be completed within one year after your high school graduation
  • It must be completed before you enroll in college.

The additional core course unit may be taken at a different school than the high school from which you graduated as long as the class is on the new school’s list of approved NCAA core courses. If you take the additional core course at a school other than the school from which you graduated, you must provide the NCAA Eligibility Center with an official transcript from the new school showing the additional core-course grade and credit.

Are there any other courses which can count towards my core courses?

If a course you took appears on your high school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses and is shown on your high school transcript with grade and credit it might count towards your core-course GPA. For example: If you take a high school class in Algebra I or Spanish I in eighth grade, the class may count toward your 16 core courses.

If you have taken college courses, Dual-Enrollment courses or Dual-Credit courses these may be used to satisfy NCAA core-course requirements IF the courses are awarded a grade and credit by the high school for any student and meet all other requirements for core courses. The college course(s) must be placed your high school transcript with clarification of college completion.

What if I took non-traditional or online course will they count?

These type of course are defined as any nontraditional course that are taught online, through distance learning, are a blended of the previous plus independent study or anything similar. For a nontraditional course to count as an NCAA-approved core course it must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • All students in the course must have regular instructor-led interaction for the purpose of instruction, evaluation and assistance for the duration of the course. This may include, for example, exchanging emails between the student and teacher, online chats, phone calls, feedback on assignments and the opportunity for the teacher to engage the student in individual or group instruction.
  • The course must have a defined time period for completion. For example, it should be clear how long students are required to be enrolled and working in the course and how long a school would permit a student to work on a single nontraditional course.
  • Student work (e.g., exams, papers, assignments) must be available for evaluation and validation.
  • The course should be clearly identified as nontraditional on the student’s official high school transcript.

Reasons your nontraditional core courses would NOT be approved are:

  • It does not have teacher-based instruction.
  • It does not require regular and ongoing instructor-led interaction between the student and teacher.
  • It does not require students to complete the entire course.
  • It does not prepare students for four-year college class work.
  • It does not have official student grade records.
  • It does not meet NCAA core-course requirements.

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