If you think that your child might have an interest in playing a sport in college, it is important for you to be aware of the academic requirements as early in their high school career as possible. This applies to any college sport (football, basketball, tennis, golf, volleyball, softball, etc.) and any college large, small, state, or private.
The first thing you should do is check out the websites of the various collegiate athletic associations to learn their academic requirements for eligibility. (The most well-known is the NCAA.) Often a student must register with an eligibility clearinghouse which will determine if a student meets the academic requirements to play in college. There is a clearing house for NCAA schools and one for NAIA schools. For both of these, students are required to submit their high school transcripts and they are to have their SAT/ACT scores sent directly to the clearinghouse just like they would a college. Each clearinghouse has its own code like the schools do. It is the clearinghouse that determines a player’s eligibility to play and not the college itself.
Here are two things to be aware of regarding NCAA schools in particular. First, there is a list of required core courses and SAT/ACT scores. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem because it lines up pretty well with what the colleges requires anyway. However, you still need to be aware of the course requirements because, depending on the college, it may not be exactly the same.
Secondly, for homeschoolers wanting to play NCAA sports, you must also submit a list of textbooks used (with author, publisher, and ISBN #’s). Here is a quote from the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding homeschoolers and textbooks: “Please note, the level of the textbook must be college preparatory. Please be careful when selecting textbooks to make sure they are the appropriate level.” For the most part, this also shouldn’t be a problem. However, some books geared to homeschool families try to span a wide variety of ages and may not sound like “college preparatory” when given just a cursory glance. Also, because you are listing each course separately, it may be best to have a textbook associated with each core course even if you were not originally planning to use a textbook. (Keep in mind that in the public schools the district often will adopt a textbook that individual teachers will use to varying degrees. Very rarely does a teacher use the adopted textbook exclusively and she/he usually does not cover the complete book.)
Here are the websites of some of the athletic associations:
NAIA – www.playnaia.org
NJCAA – www.njcaa.org/eligibility/index