How questionable character can ruin the opportunities of an athletic recruit at the college level

How questionable character can ruin the college opportunities of an athletic recruitRecently I had a chance to speak with an assistant basketball coach who knows a lot about all the athletes in his area.  The reason why this coach had called was simply to speak with me about a certain athlete.  This player had started varsity the last two years (he is currently a junior) and had put up some monster numbers.

Those stats have helped him open the door on things in the football recruiting process.  Major Division I schools across the country have been showing him interest but none have offered at this point.  But this basketball coach and his character questions of this athlete may be what determines that he does not have what it takes to play at that high of a level.

This recruit is getting interest from those schools but will have to prove either through a highlight video or at camps that he has what it takes to play at their level.  Like many other top juniors, the next six to twelve months of his life are vital to what level he can play at in college.

The savvy college coaches are the ones that check stats and see how the recruits are doing.  Then the coach can personalize the letter about the great performance the athlete had against their rivals and tell them to keep up the good work.

One coach who does this has connections to a number of coaches and people throughout the in all walks of life.  He gave the basketball assistant coach I mentioned previously a call and asked what exactly happened and why wasn’t this recruit playing.  Was it an injury?  What was going on?

As with most adults, they are not going to lie and sugarcoat the story.  The coach told this college football assistant coach that the reason the kid had not played the previous games was because he had gotten in trouble.  This athlete actually had been in trouble multiple times in the last year.

Again, this is not an athlete who boasts major Division I scholarship offers from all over the country.  He has interest at this point and that means at best he is a fringe Division I-A (BCS) recruit.  I hate to say this but some college coaches will look past the character issues if the athlete is a major recruit.

For the fringe recruit, the football coach basically told the basketball coach that they would likely no longer be recruiting him.  This major in-state program won’t be showing this athlete interest, won’t be hosting him for visits, and won’t be trying to pursue him over the next year in recruiting.  All because a little character slip.

This is the exact reason why I try to stress to recruits the importance of having good character as a teenager and how it can help open doors.  College coaches are smart enough to talk to anyone.  Former Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson used to talk to janitors about athletes.  If they get a bad report from a coach, a teacher, a rival coach, or anyone, they may look in another direction.

So keep that in mind before you decide to do something dumb.  It could be the difference between getting a major scholarship and not when all is said and done.

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