Academic Requirements for Recruits

Submitted by Vader on January 7th, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Does anyone know what the exact academic requirements are for Big Ten schools (or Michigan if it gets that specific)? All of my Notre Dame friends think that the only reason Michigan will even be able to compete with ND the next few years is because their academic requirements are much tougher so they won't be able to take everyone they want. So does anybody know anything regarding ND's requirements as well?


R Kelly

January 7th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

I don't know the requirements, but all your friends are dumb, ND has a top-5 ranked recruiting class year in and year out, so the requirements must not be holding them back too much.  


R Kelly

January 7th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

Top-5 may have been an exaggeration, but not much of one.  ND has recruited very well over the past 10 years, and this year's class is extremely good.  My point still stands that academic requirements have not prevented ND from acquiring a lot of talent.  


January 7th, 2013 at 11:48 AM ^

but there are more than a few players on the current ND roster who struggled academically. Mightily at that, so while ND may maintain high entry requirements in general, their athletes are certainly not beholden to that standard. Once accepted, different story....


January 7th, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

This is the most recent piece (2008) I found when I did a search for SAT scores for college football players.  Private schools don't have the same FOIA  requirements, so the list is limited.  

Michigan was near the top of the list with a 997 SAT sure as heck wouldn't get in as a non-athlete with that score.…




School, Average

  • Georgia Tech, 1028
  • Oregon State, 997
  • Michigan, 997
  • Virginia, 993
  • Purdue, 974
  • Indiana, 973
  • Hawaii, 968
  • California, 967
  • Colorado, 966
  • Iowa, 964


  • School, Average
  • Oklahoma State, 878
  • Louisville, 878
  • Memphis, 890
  • Florida, 890
  • Texas Tech, 901
  • Arkansas, 910
  • Texas A&M, 911
  • Mississippi State, 911
  • Washington State, 916
  • Michigan State, 917


January 7th, 2013 at 5:22 PM ^

list memorized: sparty in the bottom 10.  Is that any surprise to anyone?

To OP: This is the list that I have used previously.  This is everything you need to prove the point that Michigan has the 2nd (tied) best SAT score for its football players. 

However, what is missing is the standard deviation.  The SD is more important because it factors in individual scores compared to the average. 

So Virginia, there is nothing special about ND after all.  They can talk about higher requirements all they want.  Ask them to cite a source.  You can cite the above published list to support that Michigan has a higher requirement for football and that is why we are not in the NC this year.


January 7th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

The25th percentile SAT score in 2008 for Michigan was somewhere around a 1300 I believe, and the average closer to 1375 or something, and those numbers have only gone up since as admissions standards/number of applicants spiked.

Note: These are just my estimates based off some sites, but the should be close. That article is a good read though, wish they would update that story.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

Don't know specifics but I think Michigan has standards that are higher than the NCAA Clearinghouse ones, so even if you qualify to play, Michigan may still not take you.

I'm not sure but Demar Dorsey might have been a victim of this


January 7th, 2013 at 3:56 PM ^

We better refine what you said here.

Dorsey signed his LOI. He later was denied admission because of those classes taken at an online school.

Michigan wasn't alone - Louisville also denied him admission.

He played at Arizona Western CC last year with a couple of names you may recognize - QB Tanner McEvoy and LB Antonio Kinard.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

ND also has the advantage of being a private institution, so they can bend admissions rules as needed (their own, not the NCAA's).  Not to mention they don't have to deal FOIA requests.  

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

While Michigan may be willing to take fewer flyers than other B1G schools, at the end of the day they go by the B1G standard (which last I knew was slightly higher than the NCAA standard, particularly for remaining eligible, though I believe the NCAA standard was recently increased). The only B1G school that probably sets themselves to a higher minimum stander is NW, schools like MSU may take more borderline prospects, but they all (outside of I'm assuming NW) have the same minimum and will go down to that minimum if the talent is worth it. It's the amount of these borderline kids that may differ between most of the B1G.

Back to the exact topic, I'm not sure on the specifics of ND, and with them being private I don't think they are required to say publically what their standards are, but if they are any higher (and let's face it, ND and Michigan recruit very similarly as far as who they offer scholarships to, so it isn't incredibly different) it is only very slightly higher, if at all. My guess is ND holds themselves to something very similar to B1G standards (about equal footing academically) but can fudge up or down because they are private (though they must adhere to NCAA requirements, and I doubt they ever go that low).

Smash Lampjaw

January 7th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

In a column about Father Hesburgh yesterday, he cited a requirement about 2 math courses, which I did not understand. Whether they are required for admission or for graduation, I do not know. His point was that those requirements are what separate ND from the others, in recruiting.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

i think that used to be the case but no longer.  ND now takes recruits that in the past they would not have admitted and that was one of the reasons that no one had much success there until kelly - kelly is now recruiting all the same kids as UM, ohio and FSU for that matter.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

I think ND does have higher admissions standards for football players than does Michigan - at least on paper - but I'd like to see a list of players whom they've back away from b/c of academics.  The guys they recruit are inevitably being recruited by Michigan, USC, Alabama, etc.  We can't say that they do not pass on some guys, but they certainly have known, large pool of players from which they recruit...It's worth noting too that there seems to be some grey area as far as admissions.  My understanding is that Michigan's admissions standards are the NCAA minimum, and yet we've seen players turned away from Michigan for academic reasons (at least apparently) who end up at other schools. 

Space Coyote

January 7th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

Michigan's admissions standards are not the NCAA's, but the B1G's, which are higher than the NCAA (last I knew the GPA had to be ~0.2 higher, and some other small differences, and then it was slightly more difficult to remain eligible compared to the rest of the NCAA). This may have changed as the NCAA has recently made their requirements a little more demanding, but I'm not sure about that.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:49 AM ^

I think this is the key... Who, exactly, has ND turned down for academic reasons that later ended up at a school like Michigan? It seems to me that ND and Michigan (and Ohio, and until recently Penn State, etc.) are competing for mostly the same guys.

The reality is that there are, on both school's football teams, many players who wouldn't sniff admission to either school if they didn't have athletic talent. If one school's policies are tougher, it's by a negligible amount.

For schools that don't oversign like SEC schools, I actually would expect them to have higher than NCAA minimum admissions standards - it's a real risk to take a guy who could squeak by the clearinghouse but probably won't stay eligible academically. Those are the guys who end up at JUCOs and transfer into the SEC.


January 7th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

Alquadin Muhammad was a guy that talked about UM and OSU in the past month. Idk if UM would've taken him due to shortage of space, as OSU would've turned him down likely as well, but he was all ND until they told him he hadn't qualified academically.

To anyone that was following the recruitment, he ended up at Miami, who despite being another highly ranked university, is an outlier in the correlation of normal admission standards vs. athletic admission standards. 

I think the B1G schools are all about the same for athletes, with ND a step above. Convential wisdom would say UM would be a bit tougher than OSU, but I can't think off the top of my head of anyone in the past 10 years that qualified for one and not the other.


January 7th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

An interesting example, but not a great one. He didn't actually end up at Michigan or OSU, maybe for class size but maybe academics played a role there too.

And until he hits the field, or at least starts classes, the commitment to Miami doesn't mean he's made the cut there either.

Again my main point is its kind of silly to say one school's requirements are much higher than any others. It's a fact that at all major D1 programs the academic qualifications of the football team are quite a but lower than the rest of the student body.


January 7th, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

ND, the B10 and the NCAA all seem to have nearly identical academic requirements. Those are general requirements, but aside from the NCAA clearinghouse, none of it is binding. Exceptions can and are made all the time. Who makes more exceptions? Who turns down a kid dying to play there? It happens, but rarely. Demar Dorsey, Randy Moss, Etc. and using JuCo players. There is no way to compare schools in any way that allows you to differentiate between BCS big time programs. Anecdotal evidence abounds, but no reason to draw conclusions. What if I told you my wife tutored ND players that could barely read?


January 7th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

He did go professional for a short time, so he couldn't play anymore...but as a 2009 recruit, he would still have one year remaining if any of those years out of football counted as a redshirt year.  Just think - we could be talking about Forcier-to-Gardner in 2013.


January 7th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

For comparison purposes in this discussion, the NCAA Division I Handbook, Section 14 lays out the NCAA standards in gory detail. I believe the Big Ten conference at large tends to go with something similar to this (I think the GPA requirement is higher though - could be wrong there), with schools varying their own requirements.

Here's the whole manual (can't link to specific pages) - (LINK) - all the relvant stuff is too long to paste into a reply.

Some of the more important pages to hit, I would think:

Section - Definition of "qualifer", including core course requirements - page 163

Section - Eligibility Index Table for "qualifier" status, outlining Core GPA, SAT and ACT minimum requirements - page 165-66

Section - Grade Value Of Core Course - page 169

Section - Test Score Requirements - pages 169


January 7th, 2013 at 11:48 AM ^

According to the movies, Notre Dame players randomly showed up at coach's office to either tell a crazy story about their friend "Pete" or to give up their spot for a walk-on...  

Monocle Smile

January 7th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

Someone on the Domer message board went on a tirade about how Notre Dame will never been relevant again because black kids are allowed to play football.

It was an appalling geyser of shit that shouldn't have lasted five minutes, but it stood for longer than I care to remember. I got the link from a thread on this blog, and I'm pretty sure someone posted evidence that this particular snobby excuse for mediocre football was total bull. You can also just look at the rank of their recruiting classes.


January 7th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

The implication being that Notre Dame doesn't recruit African-American players?  Not only is that sentiment "appalling" as you put it, it is patently inaccurate.  I'm no anthropologist, but I'm pretty sure the ancestors of guys like Michael Floyd, Manti Teo, and Golden Tate weren't from Western Europe.

The shit some people post on the internet.


January 7th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

Eligibility and admission are two separate entities.  Every Division I university follows the same NCAA Eligibility standards that were linked above.  However, just because a student is eligible doesn't mean they are admissable to certain schools.  I think the ability to get a kid admitted, i.e. Dorsey, come into play and awful lot.  


Mr. Rager

January 7th, 2013 at 12:21 PM ^

If you were to rank this on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "North Texas" and 10 being "Harvard", then I would put Michigan's standards at a 6.5 and Notre Dame somewhere around an 8.  


January 7th, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

The "nd can't recruit winning talent due to qualifying academically" mantra (and fact) is dead now. Weis got them to finally see that to win you simply have to find a way to get them in. Kelly only cemented it. Not the complete moron studs that the SEC teams sneak in but those great talents that are borderline or out of reach just a decade ago. It's showing and has been since Weis. I believe it was a deal breaking issue during his hire, IIRC. ND is athletically no harder to get into as an All-American FB player than Michigan. Both are about a 7 out of 10 when it comes to sports and a slight notch above most schools. Some are a legit 1, lol. Mike Oher read at a 3rd grade level and got into a University with shoddy HS scores and a foster family that gave money to Ole Miss. Don't let the fluffy movie fool you. Kid was academically ineligible for pre-school and got into a University, lol. As of today, few schools are above what I'd guess to be around that 6-7/10 area. Basically, be of average intelligence, pass tests and you're in. Both UM and nd are in that range FOR ATHLETES.


January 7th, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

any school which hopes to play football at a high level probably has to bend admissions requirements for athletes, to a greater or lesser degree. There probably isn't a school in the country that would hold the same standards for athletes and non-athletes, not even Stanford and Northwestern. Do those schools have higher standards than other schools for their athletes? Yes. Is it still lower than those for their averge student. It has to be.


January 7th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

I find it hard to believe ND would voluntarily put themselves at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to football.  I'd say that for any other big time college football program, including Michigan.

Northwestern.... not what I'd call big time, recent 10 win season notwithstanding.  Stanford?  Hmm.... you got me on that one.


January 7th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

Stanford probably uses its excellent academic school to its adavantage. It's Ivy league quality, but they can offer athletic scholarships, so all the sudden tons of smart students who happen to be great athletes go to Stanford because 1. They want a Stanford degree and 2. They can get a scholarship there. Then get a star or two plus some depth, a good coach, and you can still have some success.