Prospective Student-Athletes

This website has been set up to help educate prospective student-athletes and their families about NCAA rules and what they need to know in order to be eligible to compete for Tennessee State University. Below are several links to the NCAA Eligibility Center, National Letter of Intent, SAT and ACT websites, and much more. All prospective student-athletes should visit each site and become familiar with the requirements to participate as a Division I student-athlete. This information may not cover every question that arises; however, it is designed to give a general description and hopefully answer some specific questions. One of the best sources of information can be found on our link to the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. This guide will assist prospective student-athletes in navigating not only through the Eligibility Center process, but also in recruiting situations and standardized testing. If you have any questions about NCAA rules, please contact the Athletic Compliance Office.

WANT TO PLAY SPORTS?

Want to Play College Sports? To play DI sports at Tennessee State University, you need to qualify academically. To meet the minimum requirements for student-athletes enrolling in college in August 2016 or later you must:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Complete 16 Core Courses, including 10 core courses before your seventh semester (before you begin 12th grade)
  • Earn a minimum 2.300 Grade-Point Average (GPA) in the core courses to compete in your first year of college
  • Earn a combined SAT or ACT score that matches your core-course GPA on the sliding scale.

CORE COURSES

NCAA member schools require incoming student-athletes to build a foundation of high school courses that will best prepare them for the academic expectations in college.

 To play Division I sports, you must earn 16 core courses.
  • Ten of them must be completed prior to the seventh semester. Those ten courses are “locked in” and can’t be retaken to improve the grade-point average.
  • Seven of those 10 must be a combination of English, math or natural or physical science that fulfills the overall distribution requirements listed below.
  • If you don’t earn 10 courses before your seventh semester, you are still eligible to practice and receive a scholarship, but you can’t compete your first academic year (two full-time semesters.
  • For a complete list of your high school’s NCAA core courses, visit www.eligibilitycenter.org.

CORE COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  • 4 years of English.
  • 3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).
  • 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).
  • 1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.
  • 2 years of social science.
  • 4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy).

 

 

GRADE POINT-AVERAGE (GPA)

Incoming student-athletes must present a grade-point average that predicts academic success at the collegiate level.

  • Beginning August 1, 2016, you must earn at least a 2.300 GPA in NCAA core courses to be eligible to compete in your first year of college.
  • To get a scholarship and practice, you must earn at least a 2.000 GPA in NCAA core courses.
  • Only courses that appear on your high school's list of NCAA courses will be used to calculate your GPA for NCAA eligibility purposes. For a complete list of your school's courses, visit www.eligibilitycenter.org.
  • Once ten core courses are "locked in" prior to the start of your seventh semester, you can't take those classes over again to improve your GPA.
  • Division I uses a sliding scale to match test scores and core GPAs.

TEST SCORES

Data shows that while GPA is a better predictor of collegiate success than test scores, using the two in combination is the best method. The NCAA continues to emphasize GPA over test scores when assessing college preparedness.

  • Division I uses a sliding scale to match test scores and core-course grade-point averages to determine eligibility.
  • The NCAA uses only the critical reading and math SAT scores to determine eligibility. The writing score is not used.
  • The NCAA uses only the sum of English, math, reading and science ACT scores to determine eligibility.

Eligibility Toolkit (Quick Reference Materials)

Informational Guides

Presentations and Courses

National Letter of Intent (NLI)

NLI Signing Dates

Prospective Student-Athletes Signing in 2016-2017 and Enrolling the 2017-2018 academic year:
Sport Initial Signing Date Final Signing Date
Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball (Early Period) November 9, 2016 November 16, 2016
Football (Midyear JC Transfer) December 14, 2016 January 15, 2017
Football (Regular Period) February 1, 2017 April 1, 2017
Basketball (Regular Period) April 12, 2017 May 17, 2017
Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball (Regular Period) April 12, 2017 August 1, 2017

Other Communications Tools and Links

Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report

Did You Know?

So you are aware, NCAA rules and regulations prohibit coaches and administrative personnel from sending letters or electronic mail to high school students or his/her parents or legal guardians until after September 1 of their junior year in high school (In men's basketball, it is permissible to provide recruiting materials to a prospect after June 15 at the end of his sophomore year in high school). While we are not permitted to write or e-mail high school students if they are not eligible per the above restriction, high school students are permitted to telephone coaches and administrators prior to the completion of their junior year in high school, but only at the high school student's expense.

Prospective student-athletes are also permitted to contact the Admissions Office for information regarding Tennessee State University and its academic programs at any time. You may call our Admissions Office at (615) 963-5101 or visit the Admissions website.

TRANSFERS

FOUR-YEAR TRANSFERS (4-4): If you are a student-athlete enrolled at another four-year institution or if you have been enrolled at another four-year institution in the last year (Division I, II, III or NAIA), NCAA rules and regulations strictly prohibit us from having any communication with you, directly or indirectly, until that institution grants our institution permission to contact you. You may obtain this permission to contact at the Compliance Office of your current or previous institution. For more information, you may use the 2016-17 Guide for Four-Year Transfers as a resource.

TWO-YEAR TRANSFERS (2-4): If you are a student-athlete enrolled at another two-year school and have never previously attended a four-year school, we refer to you as a 2-4 transfer. Here are the rules that generally apply to you.

If you are a QUALIFIER...

At the two-year school did you:

  • Complete at least one semester or quarter as a full-time student? (Summer school does not count)
  • Earn an average of 12-semester (or 12-quarter) transferable-degree credit hours for each term you attended full time at the two-year school? (Note: Not more than two credit hours of physical education activity courses may be used to fulfill the transferrable degree credit and GPA requirements, unless you are enrolling in a physical education degree program)
  • Earn a grade-point average (GPA) of 2.500 in those transferable credit hours?

If YES to all: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, and you can play right away during the first year after you transfer (basketball mid-year enrollees will not be eligible to compete until the next academic term in the fall).

If NO to at least one: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, but you cannot play until you complete one full academic year of residence (two full-time terms/semesters).

If you are a NON-QUALIFIER...

At the two-year school did you:

  • Complete at least three semesters (or four quarters) as a full-time student? (Summer school does not count)
  • Graduate from a two-year school? You must earn 25 percent of the credit hours at the two-year school that awards your degree.
  • Earn 48-semester (or 72-quarter) transferable-degree credit hours a the two-year school? The transfer credits MUST include six-semester (or eight-quarter) hours of English, three-semester (or four-quarter) hours of math, AND three-semester (or four-quarter) hours of natural/physical science. (Note: Not more than two credit hours of physical education activity courses may be used to fulfill the transferrable degree credit and GPA requirements, unless you are enrolling in a physical education degree program)

If YES to all: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, and you can play right away during the first year after you transfer (basketball mid-year enrollees will not be eligible to compete until the next academic term in the fall).

If NO to at least one and a GPA below 2.00: You cannot practice, you cannot receive athletically related financial aid, and you cannot play until you complete one full academic year of residence (two full-time terms/semesters).

If YES to all but GPA 2.00-2.49: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, but you cannot play until you complete one full academic year of residence (two full-time terms/semesters).

For more information, you may use the 2016-2017 Guide for Two-Year Transfers as a resource.

FOUR-TWO-FOUR TRANSFERS (4-2-4): If you started at a four-year school, then transferred to a two-year school and now want to tranfer to a four-year school, we refer to you as a 4-2-4 transfer. Generally, here are the rules that apply to you.

If you are a QUALIFIER...

  • Complete an average of 12-semester (or 12-quarter) transferable-degree credit hours for each term of full-time attendance? (Note: Not more than two credit hours of physical education activity courses may be used to fulfill the transferrable degree credit and GPA requirements, unless you are enrolling in a physical education degree program)
  • Earn a grade-point average (GPA) of 2.500 in those transferable credit hours?
  • Graduate from the two-year school AND have one-calendar year lapse since you left your previous four-year school?

If YES to all: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, and you can play right away during the first year after you transfer (basketball mid-year enrollees will not be eligible to compete until the next academic term in the fall).

If NO to any: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, but you cannot play until you complete one full academic year of residence (two full-time terms/semesters).

If you are a NON-QUALIFIER...

  • Complete an average of 12-semester (or 12-quarter) transferable-degree credit hours for each term of full-time attendance? The transfer credits MUST include six-semester (or eight-quarter) hours of English, three-semester (or four-quarter) hours of math, AND three-semester (or four-quarter) hours of natural/physical science. (Note: Not more than two credit hours of physical education activity courses may be used to fulfill the transferrable degree credit and GPA requirements, unless you are enrolling in a physical education degree program)
  • Earn a grade-point average (GPA) of 2.500 in those transferable credit hours?
  • Graduate from the two-year school AND have one-calendar year lapse since you left your previous four-year school?

If YES to all: You can practice, you can receive athletically related financial aid, and you can play right away during the first year after you transfer (basketball mid-year enrollees will not be eligible to compete until the next academic term in the fall).

If NO to any: You can practice if you have completed one academic year in all your colleges combined, you can receive athletically related financial aid if you completed one academic term at the two-year school, but you cannot play until you complete one full academic year of residence (two full-time terms/semesters).

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of commonly asked questions that addresses many of the critical areas of compliance. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Compliance Office at (615) 963-5889.

Q: Who is a prospective student-athlete?

A: A prospective student-athlete or a prospect is a student who has started classes for the ninth grade. A student who has not yet started ninth grade may become a prospect if Tennessee State University or a booster provided the student, their relatives, or friends with financial assistance or a benefit that is not generally provided to prospective students. In addition, student-athletes enrolled in preparatory school or two-year colleges, or those who have officially drawn from a four-year school, are considered prospects. Special Note: A prospect remains a prospect even after he/she has signed a National Letter of Intent or accepted an offer of admission or financial aid to attend Tennessee State University. A prospect becomes a current student-athlete only when he/she reports for preseason practice or the first day of fall classes, whichever occurs first.

Q: What is recruiting?

A: Recruiting is the solicitation of a prospect or the prospect's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) by a Tennessee State University staff member for the purpose of securing the prospect's enrollment at Tennessee State University and/or participation in our athletics program. Recruiting activities include correspondence, email, faxes, telephone conversations, in person contacts (on and off campus), and evaluations.

Q: What is a Contact?

A: A contact is any face-to-face encounter between a prospect or the prospect's parent(s), relative(s) or legal guardian(s) and a University staff member or booster during which any dialogue in excess of an exchange of a greeting occurs. Any encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospect's school or at the site of organized competition or practice is considered a contact regardless of the conversation (including a greeting) that occurs.

Q: What is an evaluation?

A: An evaluation is any off-campus activity designed to assess the academic qualifications or athletics ability of a prospect, including any visit to a prospect's educational institution (during which no contact occurs) or the observation of a prospect participating in any practice or competition at any site.

Q: What is an official visit?

A: An official visit by a prospect is a visit to campus that is financed in whole or in part by Tennessee State University.

  • An official visit may not exceed 48 hours in duration.
  • Tennessee State University may pay the prospect's transportation costs for his or her official visit, provided a direct route between the prospect's home and the institution is used.
  • Tennessee State University may also entertain a prospect and his or her parents or legal guardians during an official visit provided the entertainment takes place on the institution's campus or within a 30-mile radius, and is at a scale comparable to that of normal student life.
  • As a reminder, boosters are not permitted to have contact with a prospect during his or her official visit.

Q: What is an unofficial visit?

A: An unofficial visit by a prospect is a visit made to Tennessee State University at the prospect's own expense. If any expenses are paid by Tennessee State University or booster, the visit will become an official visit.

Q: What is an extra benefit or inducement?

A: An extra benefit or recruiting inducement is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or booster to provide a current student-athlete, prospect, or their relatives or friends a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Examples of impermissible recruiting inducements and extra benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cash or loans in any amount, or signing or cosigning for a loan.
  • Gifts of any kind, including birthday and holiday gifts.
  • Free or reduced-cost services such as car repairs, haircuts, tutoring, etc.
  • The use of an automobile.
  • Free or reduced rent or housing.
  • Tickets to an athletic or community event.
  • Academic course supplies or assistance.
  • Arranging the employment of the relatives or friends of a prospect or student-athlete.
  • Entertaining a prospect or prospect's family or legal guardian on or off campus.