How To: Prep to Play College Sports

It's more than talent and grades. Get the steps.

From earning athletic scholarships to a launching professional sports career, there are lots of benefits to being a college athlete. But there are also plenty of guidelines, and they start early. Saint Louis University is a NCAA Division I school, so your prep to play here can start as soon as your sophomore year of high school. Find out what's involved:

NCAA Academic Requirements

The NCAA's minimum academic requirements, including 16 required core high school courses, must be met by any athlete hoping to compete at the Division I level. Your high school GPA and college admission test scores will also be part of a sliding scale that helps determine your eligibility. 

Eligibility Registration

You can register with the NCAA in 10th grade. There's a $65 fee, but if you qualify for a waiver of your SAT or ACT fees, you might also qualify to avoid it. Here's what else needs to be given to the NCAA Eligibility Center:
  • Your 11th grade transcript, sent at the end of your junior year.
  • Your ACT or SAT scores.(Use code "9999" to have them sent directly.)
  • Your final amateurism certification, sent after April 1 of your senior year.
  • Your final transcript with proof of graduation.

Athlete Physicals and Personal Bios

Once you've been accepted to college, your new athletic department might ask you to provide personal information beyond proofs of immunization and insurance. At SLU, all freshman and transfer student-athletes must receive a physical from the University's athletics medical staff.  Most new student athletes schedule their physicals during the summer orientation program, SLU 101.

New student athletes at SLU also submit personal and biographical information, used by the University's Billiken Media Relations Office in its published materials. The office will also keep in contact with the media in your hometown.

Summer Workouts

Your new coaches and fitness conditioning department will probably have special instructions for you to follow during the summer before your first semester at college. At SLU, the strength and conditioning department works with coaches to design individual programs for each athlete to maximize their athletic potential right from the start.

Character Counts

It should go without saying, but don't jeopardize your eligibility with one bad choice. Avoid any type of sports wagering, legal or illegal. Steer clear of situations where you feel pressured to drink alcohol, or use illegal or banned drugs. Remember that your social media profiles communicate who you are as a person. Don't let a sloppy attempt to be funny or a photo tag you'll regret reflect poorly upon your character.

Maintain Amateur Status

Make sure you understand how getting paid now can disqualify you from playing later:
  • Don't accept money or other incentives for participating in an athletic contest.
  • Don't use your athletic skill for pay in any form.
  • Don't play on a professional athletics team.
  • Don't agree to any contract with an agent or professional sports organization.
  • Don't request that your name be placed on a draft list.
  • Don't play on a team in exchange for payment of educational expenses for high school or preparatory college.
  • Don't accept gifts or other benefits because of your athletic reputation.

Have more questions? Check out the SLU's Student Athlete Center. Already admitted? Read Billiken Athletics' checklist for incoming student athletes. 

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