NAVIGATING NCAA ELIGIBILITY FROM NORTH OF THE BORDER

Navigating the requirements for NCAA academic eligibility can be difficult. It becomes twice as difficult when you’re a student-athlete in a different country, enrolled in a school that uses a completely different grading scale.

For students at MVP Football Academy in Ontario, Canada, this is a recurring obstacle. Founded in 2016, MVP’s mission is to provide an elite development program for high school student-athletes to help them achieve their goal of playing football at the next level.

With a coaching staff made up of Canadian University coaches and frequent visits from current & former CFL players, teaching the football skills needed to excel at the next level has never been an issue. However, ensuring MVP’s student-athletes were academically eligible to compete in the NCAA was a different story.

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In Ontario, there are three different levels of high school academics and only one of them is recognized by the NCAA. For students that are new to the system, this creates quite the learning curve. For coaches, it means spending a lot of time educating players and their parents to help them better understand the process. It also meant that most GPA calculations needed to be done the old-school way, with a pencil and a calculator.

After several error-filled years of calculating the GPA of each athlete that garnered interest from an NCAA institution, co-founder/head coach Phil Edworthy figured there had to be a better way.

MVP Football Academy Coaches

Since launching seven years ago, MVP has had 14 players receive NCAA scholarships to play collegiate football, and Edworthy has helped each one of them navigate the process. Unfortunately, they’ve also had students that were given incorrect information, including those who were told they were ineligible for scholarships they could have received.

“I was relying on myself and my own research to understand how our grades translated. Most of the guidance counselors at the schools here, it’s not something they focus on because most kids aren’t going that route. It was on me to figure it out, so I was just doing my own homework,” said Edworthy

Even with Edworthy’s diligent effort and hours of preparation, he still found himself questioning if his calculations were accurate. He explained that the Canadian grading system is so dissimilar from the United States, that when you research it online, you might find four different explanations with conflicting solutions.

“Before Honest Game, our athletes would send me a photo of their transcript, I would write down what their core courses and grades were and calculate an approximate GPA to make sure they were at least over a 2.3. Then we could sort the rest out after,” explains Edworthy.

MVP Football Academy Coaches

The Honest Game Difference

What does it mean to be academically eligible? Academic eligibility is a multitiered matrix of test scores, NCAA approved classes, and a special NCAA GPA. Honest Game not only helps simplify the process, but it also provides student-athletes with a clear academic roadmap so that each student has equal access to opportunities at the collegiate level.

According to Edworthy, “The number one reason we partnered with Honest Game is the simplicity of tracking our players’ academics and not having to get out my calculator and my pencil to calculate their grades, which wasn’t 100% accurate.”

For him and the rest of the MVP team, the benefits of Honest Game were felt almost instantly. Now, when a college coach asks about a student-athlete’s grades, all they have to do is send their Honest Game personalized eligibility report.

“The biggest benefit is being able to give an accurate GPA to college coaches. Canadians are being recruited more and more to play in the NCAA, but a lot of times when coaches are talking to the player they have no idea how to calculate their GPA,” said Edworthy. “Honest Game takes the guessing game out of it, and it makes it a lot easier for me to help the kids get recruited. They never have to wonder about where they stand academically.”

After signing up for Honest Game, coaches and staff are now able to spend more time focusing on the development of each student-athlete, comforted by the fact that their academic eligibility tracking is taken care of automatically.

If you think Honest Game might be the right solution for your team, click here to learn more and get in touch with an Honest Game representative.

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