How to Get Recruited Guide Guide to Athletic Scholarships Six Reasons College Coaches Won't Give You An Athletic
Grades Affect Athletic Scholarships

Grades Affect Athletic Scholarships

Category: Academics

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.

Next Step:

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 RecruitedHow to Get Recruited


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    • Mohamed, I would suggest you start treating academics like you do athletics. With bad grades and SAT/ACT scores you will have a hard time getting into a four year program. If I were you, I would put a lot of energy into my school work and look for community college programs. A lot of kids have turned their grades and lives around at community colleges and then have the grades and ability to finish at a four year school. Here is a link to an article about grades and how they matter.

  • I messed up my freshman year big time grade wise… I’m playing varsity lacrosse though as a freshman. If I turn my grades around, do I have a chance?

    • Yes, I think you have a great opportunity still. You really need to focus on grades. If you are in the spring of your freshmen year, you have only received grades for 1 out of 8 high school semesters. Work hard this semester and finish out your freshmen year as strong as you can. And from now on, don’t let up on your academics. You can still finish with a good GPA and good test scores if you take the rest of high school seriously. Put in the same effort in the classroom and homework as you do on the lacrosse field. Doing well in school will open up many college opportunities to you.

  • Hi. I’m a 16 year old who just graduated highschool from Tanzania and training with fc Dallas youth at the moment. I I’m practising for the Sat exams. What score will give me a high chance of getting a soccer scholarship?

    • Bantu,

      There is no one answer to this. Each college has its own standards for academic scholarships. The SAT won’t affect the soccer scholarship. Most schools do have more money to give out in academics than in athletic scholarships so it is really important. You need to contact each college you are interested in and ask them what their standards are for the SAT and for academic and need based scholarships.

  • Thanks for your information,But Student who really looking For a chance to prove their Talent and really waiting for athletes scholarships/ sports marketing scholarships to their college education.

    So please consider them also.


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