The importance of staying strong academically and how it can factor into athletic recruiting  

The importance of staying on top of academics in athletic recruitingThe later that you really start thinking about academics and the importance that it will play in college, the more behind you will be. Every single class you take in high school will play a factor in if you are will be academically eligible for the college level. And the longer you wait to get your act together, the harder that it will be to be able to play as a freshman.

I have seen the bad side of this happen far too many times. Early in the prep career of an athlete, they feel that school is a waste and they don’t try. These athletes are focusing on having fun and athletics. But once their stock really starts to rise in the eyes of college coaches, it is too late because they have dug themselves into too deep of a hole early on.

Some athletes and their parents will assume that the academic counselors are the ones that should be aware of any changes in playing at the Division I level. Similar to the high school coach, these counselors have family and other things going on in their lives that make it tough for them to stay up on every little change. There are some exceptions counselors but others may not be on top of things. That just happens.

One thing that families must continue to keep a close eye on is the requirements by the NCAA for core classes. This is something that parents and athletes must follow every year to see if their are changes that have been made. You can research the information on the NCAA website as well as this site. There are upcoming changes that will be reflected in the next few classes so it is vital that you stay on top of the academic requirements.

The first thing you can do is talk to your counselor. As I mentioned, he or she may not be up to date with every single aspect of NCAA rules but that should provide you with a good starting point. And the earlier that you talk to your counselor, the better. You might as well tell them early on that you want to play college athletics and that you want to play it at the highest level. It may not happen, but if you do become good enough, why chance being behind in school?

A few years back, there was a fantastic running back who had all the ability in the world. He was a standout as a junior on a team that had six seniors play Division I football. But because he fell behind early on, he really hurt his recruiting. Once college coaches see his transcript (Or yours if you are in trouble), I can promise you in most situations they will move on. Unless you are an exceptional freak of an athlete, they feel that there are others at that position that they like just as much. They just don’t want to deal with that headache.

Anyways, the running back is forced to go the Junior College route because he started poorly and was unable to get out of the hole that he was in academically. While at the Junior College, he didn’t do as well as he had hoped so he ended up playing at a Division II school. If he had grades out of high school, there is little doubt that a Division I school would have offered him a scholarship. But with so many questions academically, these schools passed when they got the chance later on. If he can’t pass a class, why would he remember a play when the game is on the line?

The earlier you realize the importance of academics, the better. Lets say that you are not the blue chip Division I athlete but you want to continue your baseball career at the college level. The sooner you focus on academics and make it a priority, the better grades you will get. And that means the less money you will be paying to play at the Division III or NAIA level.

There is no reason to not have a great idea about what classes you need. If you are being recruited, you can even speak with the college coaches about things. I would go to multiple sources but again, the earlier you get academics in order, the less you have to worry about as a senior. Who really wants to be having to get all A’s in your final year of high school anyways?

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