Most high school students and their parents don’t understand the importance of academics in college recruiting and the emphasis that college athletic programs place on grades. College coaches want athletes in their programs that will represent themselves and their university in a positive light and good grades are a great start. A good athlete with good grades and high standardized test scores is much more attractive to a college coach than a good athlete with marginal grades and a below average ACT or SAT score. When trying to decide between two players of similar abilities, coaches will go with the better student every time.
- First, good students often qualify for academic scholarships and in-state tuition, potentially saving the athletic department scholarship money. This allows coaches in the equivalency sports to potentially spread the athletic scholarship money out over more players by filling in the financial gaps with academic scholarships. Most coaching staffs are intimately familiar with the academic scholarships that might be available for qualified student-athletes.
- Second, a good GPA and SAT/ACT score indicates to coaches that a student will most likely achieve the minimum college GPA needed to maintain athletic eligibility. It is also an indication that a student will be able to adjust to college life. If an athlete is stressed about grades, he/she may not perform to the best of their abilities.
- Third, grades and test scores are an indication of a student’s work ethic and achievement standards, for all areas of their lives. Athletes who put forth the effort in the classroom generally put forth the same kind of effort in practice and in games. Here is a formula many coaches believe in: GOOD STUDENT + GOOD ATHLETE = GOOD CHOICE FOR A ROSTER SPOT
- Finally, as stated previously, if a coach is considering athletes of similar abilities, academics is the first tie-breaker, so why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make sure that base is covered?
Work hard on the field/court and in the classroom and good things will happen.