Law Will Help High School Students Prepare for College Athletics

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, Albert Coutinho, Daniel Benson and John McKeon to boost student eligibility and participation in college athletics has been signed into law.

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, Albert Coutinho, Daniel Benson and John McKeon to boost student eligibility and participation in college athletics has been signed into law.

"In addition to providing exercise and camaraderie and promoting sportsmanship and fair play, sports often provide student-athletes with the opportunity to attend college on athletic scholarships," said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). "For many students, these scholarships might mean the difference between being able to attend college or not. We want to make sure students are fully aware of the eligibility requirements to play collegiate sports and this new law will see to it that they are."

The new law (S-1397/A-1293) requires each school district or non-public school that participates in statewide interscholastic sports programs sanctioned by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to annually provide student-athletes with the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) freshman eligibility standards for participation in collegiate athletics.

"Many high school students, no matter how active they are in sports, are unaware of the NCAA eligibility standards to participate in collegiate athletics," said Coutinho (D-Essex). "It would be a shame for talented student-athletes to lose out on these opportunities because they were unaware of the eligibility standards."

"Annually providing high school students who participate in interscholastic athletics with information on college eligibility standards will help ensure that students who wish to compete at the next level will take all the requisite courses needed," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Making sure they're prepared for the opportunities ahead of them can open up a whole new world for an aspiring student-athlete."

"Many times a dedicated student-athlete may be so trained and focused on their sport, that they are not looking down the road to what might be required of them to compete at the next level," said McKeon (D-Essex/Morris). "Things like the necessary grade point average and standardized test scores requirements are extremely important to compete in NCAA-sanctioned collegiate athletics so we want to make sure high school students are aware of this."

The measure received near unanimous support by the Assembly in January and goes into effect immediately.