College Bound Student Athletes - NCAA/NAIA

Would you like to play athletics in college?  What you do in high school- starting with your first day on campus- could impact your ability to be a student-athlete at the next level.  Here is some information that can help you stay on track to a successful college student-athlete experience.

There are many different types of colleges out there:

trade school vs. tech school college vs. college vs. university,

state vs. private vs. for-profit,

large vs. small,

in-state vs. out-of-state,

urban vs. suburban vs. rural,

secular vs. religious,

single-sex vs. coed, etc.  

Some of these schools offer athletics while others do not.  

We will focus on the three different types of schools that offer the most athletic opportunities to students: community college (junior college), NAIA schools and NCAA schools.  Each has slightly different rules that a potential student-athlete needs to be aware of.  

Community College:

Community colleges are schools that offer two-year education programs with a goal of earning an associate degree.  Schools with athletic programs follow the rules and regulations of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).  There are 10 community colleges in the Maricopa Community College system.  The nearest schools would be Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community College and Scottsdale Community College.  Just as the schools offer different areas of specialty coursework, each school offers a different variety of athletic programs.   The basic requirement of eligibility to compete at a community college is a high school diploma.  

For more information about NJCAA, click on this link:


The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is an alternative organization to the NCAA.  Membership consists of nearly 300 smaller colleges and universities from the United States and Canada.  The nearest NAIA schools are Benedictine University in Mesa and Arizona Christian University in Phoenix.  The NAIA recruitment process is less cumbersome, with fewer restrictions on the contact a student-athlete and coach can make.  

For more information, go to their website:


The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the largest governing body overseeing college athletics.  There are three divisions of NCAA sports- Division 1, 2, and 3 (usually noted as Division I, II and III).  

Division I is usually the bigger schools with the largest budgets to support athletics.  Arizona State University and University of Arizona are the closest D-I schools.  Grand Canyon University recently became D-I.  

Division I has the toughest requirements for incoming student-athletes.  Not only do students need to have graduated from high school, they must have fulfilled a list of 16 core courses from their high school’s NCAA-approved coursework and met a qualifying score on either the ACT or SAT test.  If students do not meet this requirement they are not eligible to receive financial assistance (scholarship) from the athletic department and may not participate in athletics at the school- no matter how great of an athlete they!

***Gilbert Global Academy has now gotten their core coursework approved through the NCAA, however it is recommended potential student-athletes take their core classes in a traditional setting as much as possible.***

Aspiring D-I student-athletes need to successfully complete 16 core course in the following breakdown:

4 years of English

3 years of Math (Algebra 1 or higher)

2 years of natural/physical science (one must be a lab)

1 year additional  English, math or science

2 years of social studies

4 years of additional core course (from the list of approved core classes for Campo Verde- can include any from areas listed above or foreign language or non-doctrinal religion or philosophy)

To find Campo Verde’s list of NCAA-approved coursework, go to this link and enter Campo’s school code of 030696:

Division I requirements:


Division II schools can offer the same experience as Division I but at a lower level.  They also require 16 core courses, but in a different configuration and require a qualifying score on the ACT/SAT.  If a student meets the Division I requirement they will also meet the Division II requirement- but not the other way around.

Division II requirements:

Students interested in playing athletics at the Division I and II level also need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  The Eligibility Center will certify the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes who wish to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics.

This is the website you need to enroll with the Eligibility Center:

Check your eligibility by filling out these worksheets to help you figure out your core courses and core course grade point average (for DI and DII only).

Division III schools can also offer an outstanding education with the opportunity for the student to play athletics- but D-III schools can not offer athletic scholarships therefore, they do not need to register with the Eligibility Center.

This link will take you to the NCAA website where many of your questions can be answered:   

If you have any questions about the eligibility process, contact Mr. Baker for an appointment.

Here are some facts about and differences between DI, DII, and DIII schools.

If you know an NCAA school but are unsure of which division they are, look here:

To find out which NCAA schools offer certain sports, look at this link:

Frequently Asked Questions As You Consider Colleges:


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