Freshmen Initial Eligibility
A student that does not have a satisfactory test score can satisfy freshman eligibility standards and become eligible by having at least a 2.000 final high school GPA. The student will receive an eligible determination from the eligibility center. However, any student using this exception will be required to earn at least a 2.000 cumulative collegiate GPA after the student’s second semester or third quarter term of attendance in order to maintain eligibility and compete in that following season. This additional collegiate GPA requirement is required as part of the student’s ability to gain eligibility immediately by use of solely a high school GPA, and is in addition to any applicable continuing eligibility rules that would normally apply. Institutions will verify satisfaction of the college GPA requirement within the ECP software.
All 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 entering freshmen can still become eligible by satisfying two out of the three requirements, as normal. Any freshmen gaining eligibility through traditional bylaw wording will not be required to meet a collegiate 2.00 GPA in order to be certified and compete the following season of competition.
If home school students do not meet the automatic requirements, they can request a Home School Committee Waiver once their decision has been posted. Documents needed for a Home School Committee Waiver request are: the student’s fall 2020 course schedule (required), recommendation letters, academic success plan at the NAIA institution, official dual credit transcripts (if applicable), and any other documentation that you feel would help the student’s case with the committee.
For example, a student could gain eligibility as a freshman by earning 9 institutional credit hours and having a 2.000 high school GPA. In that scenario, the student would not be required to utilize the COVID-19 freshman exception, and would not be required to earn a collegiate 2.00 GPA prior to their second season of competition.
The student could also gain eligibility as a freshman by earning 9 institutional credit hours and a satisfactory ACT or SAT test score.
Q: We have a student who graduated high school in December 2019 and enrolled with us in spring 2020. He received an ineligible decision for spring 2020 for failure to meet two out of the three initial eligibility requirements. He met the high school GPA requirement but did not meet the test score or class rank criteria. Can he use this COVID-19 freshman exception to potentially become eligible in the fall of 2020? And if so, at what point is he required to have a collegiate 2.000 GPA? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: We are recruiting a student from a junior college who has used one term of attendance (spring of 2020) and one non-intercollegiate season of competition (competed in a chargeable league in 2018). How does this COVID-19 freshman exception work for this student? (Added 4/17/2020)
Q: We have a football player who played in the fall of 2019 at a junior college and did not identify in the spring of 2020. This student passed 12 hours in the fall of 2019 but with a collegiate GPA of 1.95. He only meets the high school GPA requirement for initial eligibility. Could this student use the COVID-19 freshman exception to be eligible to compete in the fall of 2020? (Updated 8/20/2020)
In this scenario, the athlete will still need to meet the progress rule prior to the second season of competition.