Do Grades Matter?
Are you taking high school seriously? Are you studying? Do you work as hard in the classroom as on your athletic talent. Take advice now and save yourself some pain if you don’t think grades matter right now. Or you will literally pay in a big way later.
One of my coaching friends told me the other day that he has helped dozens of kids find a spot on collegiate rosters. On average, he said, the kids with good grades and ACT/SAT scores are paying a few thousand dollars each year for school. The players he labeled “studs” who didn’t didn’t take studying seriously in high school “will owe a ton” when they graduate from college.
Your grades may keep you from receiving an athletic scholarship and a chance to play collegiate sports!
Do grades matter that much?
Your academic record is going to affect your scholarship opportunities as much as your athletic prowess. You are not the crowd that is going to give up sports and spend all of your time becoming a super genius.
However, and this is huge, academics are super important. Academics are a key component of understanding the recruiting code. Coaches will usually look at your GPA and ACT/SAT scores before they contact you. The higher your grades and test scores, the more attractive you are to college coaches.
For schools with athletic scholarships, your high academics translate into less scholarship money the coach has to spend on you. This will open up many more opportunities for you. At schools without athletic scholarships, more money is awarded to students with high academics.
Why the minimum isn’t good enough. Yes, grades matter!
No matter how good you are, if you cannot succeed academically your opportunities will be limited. The NCAA Division 1 and 2 have a 2.3 minimum GPA and the NAIA is 2.0. Realize those minimums are just to be admitted to the college or university. If you sneak in with these grades, you may get some need based money, and if you are lucky some athletic money as well, but the real money is in academics.
While most athletic scholarships will be $5,000 or less, academic scholarships will usually range from a few thousand dollars to full tuition.
I have coached at three different private colleges. I did not even consider players who had lower than a 3.0 GPA. There were two major reasons.
First, I knew they probably could not afford school without an academic scholarship.
Second, I believed if they did not care about grades in high school, they would not care in college and would have a high probability of dropping out. Along with that, it indicated to me a real lack of work ethic, which would likely come out on the field as well (even if they were a great player).
Don’t be the kid looking back and realizing grades matter. It will be too late.
I have had some sad conversations with players who I recruited over the years. Here are three recruits that typify what can happen.
The first young lady I had recruited since she was a freshman. She was all set to come to play for me; that is until about spring of her junior year when I started to see her grades and ACT score. She wanted to play in college as much as anybody I have ever recruited. She had several other schools interested in her ability. They backed away from her, as I did, and she ended up at a junior college three states away, just so she could play. She was a mild success story in that she was able to get into a four year college after her first two years and finish there, but not as a starter. Her academic decisions seriously affected her athletic outcome.
The second young lady I had been recruiting came for a campus visit and that same week sent in her application and transcripts. I had not seen any of her test scores before then. I can still picture her crying as I told her that she was not even going to be admitted to our school.
The third young lady, perhaps to me was the saddest. She was a great soccer player. Her dad was very involved in soccer and coaching. They were a genuinely good family. I began recruiting her as a sophomore. From the very beginning her dad told me that she had low grades and was not taking her school work seriously. I gave her many pep talks, as I am sure other college coaches did. Many coaches would have liked her on their team. She ended up not being able to afford any of the four year colleges she applied to. She was accepted, but the price of poor grades and test scores is a hefty one when it comes to financial aid.
The spring of her senior year, I was watching the state playoffs. She saw me in the stands before the game, while her team was waiting around. She came up to me, and with tears in her eyes gave me a hug and said she was sorry; she really did want to play for me. That day was her last competitive soccer game. She ended up at a local community college and would never touch a soccer ball at the collegiate level. Being a student athlete in college requires a lot of discipline.
Your parents, coaches, teachers, guidance counselors don’t know how else to tell you: GRADES MATTER!
You might as well discipline yourself now, earn good grades in high school and enjoy your athletic experience.
Earning good grades is only one of the steps you need to take. You only get one shot at the recruiting process. It is time to take the steps necessary to be Noticed by college coaches.
If you feel like you have been stumbling along or have not even started the recruiting process, it is time to take action. When you are ready to push forward and finally get college coaches to take notice of you: What is your specific plan? What action will you take first?
Here is another article that will help you get recruited: 3 Reasons College Coaches Won’t Give You an Athletic Scholarship
If you are ready for Recruiting to be Made Easy, you are ready for the
How to Get Recruited Guide: Got Talent. Get a Plan. Get Recruited
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