NCAA Eligibility for Homeschoolers

If your homeschooler is interested in playing sports in college you should look carefully at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requirements. All students interested in Division I or Division II college athletics will go through the NCAA procedures for eligibility. This includes both traditionally educated and homeschooled students.  The NCAA requires certain academic standards are met including completion of a core curriculum and minimum ACT or SAT standards. Here are a few tips as you being this process of exploring NCAA eligibility:

1. Start Early
The earlier you start during your student’s high school education the easier the process will be. Starting early will allow you to keep the specific kinds of records that the NCAA expects. While it is certainly possible to reconstruct this information later in high school you can save some hassle by starting first year in high school. For example, the NCAA requires that you list the name and information from every textbook your homeschooler uses during high school. As you make curriculum decisions you will want to keep in mind NCAA requirements in mind.  One basic beginning step is to determine if your child is homeschooled according to NCAA standards. Some students who learn at home are not classified as homeschooled. For example, students who attend an accredited state virtual school are often public school students even if they complete their work at home. Make sure you understand the distinction between nontraditional student and homeschooled student according to the NCAA standards.

2. Complete Core Requirements
Most homeschoolers who are college bound will likely not find it too challenging to meet the core requirements of the NCAA. Still, it is worth a look at these requirements to make sure your student is on track. The NCAA expects that students use college preparatory materials and complete core courses. Homeschoolers should expect to submit core course worksheets for English, math, natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy classes. On the worksheet the parent details goals of the course, topics covered, materials used, and grading approach.

3. Be Careful with Online Courses

While online courses are a great fit for many students, you will want to check to make sure they meet NCAA requirements. Over the years the NCAA has come to scrutinize online courses. There was concern some students were using online courses as a means to earn easy credits and get around eligibility guidelines. Even some well-known providers that have been popular with many homeschoolers are not accepted as eligible for NCAA credit.

 4. Register Early
Juniors will want to visit the NCAA eligibility center and register.

 5. Pay Attention to Transcript Requirements
The NCAA expects to see complete information on the transcript including:

  • Course title
  • Course grades
  • Units of credit for each course
  • Grading scale
  • Signature of homeschool representative

Even if you homeschool using a more eclectic or nontraditional approach, it is crucial that the final transcript reflect the more traditional categories of information that the NCAA expects to see. So, for example, an ungraded or pass/fail type of approach may be fine with many colleges but does not meet NCAA standards. Also, homeschoolers should be aware that the NCAA expects them to graduate according to the laws in their state. In rare states parents cannot simply issue a diploma.

Best of Luck To Your Student Athlete
There are homeschoolers every year who make it through this process and end up being recruited to play college sports. It requires effort to make sure your homeschool complies with all of the regulations, but it is certainly a worthwhile investment of time for students who are serious about playing sports in college.

Get started by downloading the free homeschool tool kit from the  NCAA Clearinghouse 


  • Hello,

    I homeschool my children and have at least one that would like to be eligible for NCAA. We just started an online math called CTC Math and would like to know if this math curriculum is under the acceptable ones before we head to far into it.

    Thank you,

      • How do you do that for online courses like CTC is doesn’t have the right information on the form to even look it up?

        • Lisa,
          I know the limitations of this system are frustrating. It is a good starting place for general information about the process, but this stuff is complex and every student’s situation is different. My suggestion is to not hesitate on calling the Clearinghouse. They can be helpful in talking through specific concerns and questions.
          Best wishes,

  • My son graduated as a homeschool student last June and is attending a community college where he plans to attend for the fist 2 years. He is planning on transfering to a division 2 school after that to swim and complete his upperdivision classes. Why is it necessary for me to provide the NCAA with all of his high school course information when he has graduated and is already a student in a community college? He took the SAT and has a diploma so I am not sure why High school class information is necessary at this point…can you clarify? Thank you.

    • I understand your frustration, but the bottom line is that the NCAA makes the rules and students who want to be eligible to participate have to follow them. An unfortunate reality is that every rule probably came about because somebody abused the system but that makes it more difficult on people who are just trying to get a good education and not cheat.

      I encourage you to contact the NCAA Eligibility Center. They can be quite helpful.

  • The link given above for high school portal wasn’t very helpful to me. It lists course names at a given high school but that’s it. As a homeschooler, how do I know what curriculum is approved or not?

  • I was wondering if you could tell me. I am enrolling my son he is in 6th grade in a K-12 online school. It states that Currently NCAA does not recognize our courses and enrollment in our program will disqualify your child.
    If I enroll him in this for now and when he reaches the age to start considering scholarships (High School) and we transfer to another ellible school for scholarships, will being enrolled in this K-12 program hurt his chances ?

    • It should not be a problem. The NCAA is looking at high school courses so what the student does in 6th grade would not matter as long as they are ready for high school work when they enter high school.

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