NCSA: Does the SAT adversity score affect NCAA eligibility?

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jaimie Duffek was one of the top 50 high school softball players in Illinois and went on to play outfield for Drake University. Jaimie is just one of many former college athletes who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSAthe largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.

As a student-athlete, there is a lot to keep track of during the college athletic recruiting process, whether it’s simply getting your homework done on time while juggling team commitments or researching potential colleges and reaching out to college coaches. One of the main things you and your family also need to keep an eye on is NCAA eligibility requirements, which we here at NCSA have been receiving some questions about, following the introduction of the new SAT adversity score. What does all this mean? Read on to find out.

What is the SAT adversity score?

In May 2019, the College Board, which owns the SAT test, announced it will assign an adversity score to every person taking the SAT to provide college admissions offices with additional information about the economic and social background of test-takers. The adversity score, which is formally known as the Environmental Context Dashboard, considers 15 different factors, including poverty levels and crime rates from a test-taker’s neighborhood and high school. College admissions offices will be able to see scores, but test-takers will not know their adversity score.

The College Board’s goal with the adversity score is to provide an additional indicator for colleges, considering the uphill odds that some students face in regard to being admitted to college. Critics of the metric argue that measuring adversity is an impossible task, while supporters of the metric argue that even an imperfect indicator is better than ignoring the difficult circumstances that some applicants must overcome.

NCAA SAT Scores: What SAT score is required for the NCAA?

NCAA eligibility is determined by the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse. The center is responsible for determining the academic eligibility and amateurism status for Division I and Division II student-athletes, but they’ll also have to make sure they’re on track themselves.

To ensure you meet academic requirements and are considered an amateur athlete, the NCAA Eligibility Center reviews your high school transcripts, SAT/ACT test scores and the answers to your amateurism questionnaire. When you are trying to determine the GPA or SAT/ACT test scores you need to be NCAA eligible, you must reference the NCAA sliding scale. The sliding scale is designed so that if you have a higher GPA, you can have lower SAT/ACT scores. If you have really strong test scores, you can have a lower GPA.

Additionally, the NCAA does not use the GPA listed on your transcripts; instead, it calculates your GPA using only NCAA-approved core courses. You’ll need to know ahead of time how the NCAA calculates your GPA and it’s recommended you meet with your high school counselor to determine NCAA GPA requirements.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the NCAA Eligibility Center

Will the SAT adversity score affect NCAA eligibility?

When NCSA contacted the NCAA Eligibility Center, a representative stated over the phone that only the main SAT score is currently being used by the NCAA when determining student-athlete eligibility. Currently, there are no indications that the SAT adversity score will be used. While the NCAA has made significant changes to its eligibility requirements in the past—like when it eliminated minimum-required SAT/ACT test scores in favor of a combined test score and GPA sliding scale — things look to stand pat for the time being.

As for college admissions offices, it’s impossible to predict how and if every office will consider the adversity score. However, some have already commented that the metric will play a role in their admissions decisions. Still, there are hundreds of admissions offices and each one does things a bit differently.

Read more: The truth about “The coach will just get me in.”

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