In my day the path to success was always a prep school education or curriculum that led to a solid GPA and a favorable ACT or SAT score. However, in recent years a few things changed like a 2200 SAT score that has circled around to a 1600. Meanwhile the sports induced parents are now up in arms as their focus has turned from academia to extra training or year around sports travel that may include hitting every camp or event under the sun. Lost in all this panic to shine is what it takes to obtain qualifying offers. It surely is not attending one or multiple events to wear a t-shirt and post social media pictures or paying a subscription based media and marketing company to get a star rating or write articles on athletes to satisfy advertisers.
What needs to happen is a discussion about college choice, tests (ACT/SAT), finance, the application process, the admission decision, and other concerns. The reality is the numbers are against families to obtain that glorious educational and athletic scholarship. In Colorado many high schools offer a computer based program via the school guidance office that lays out the path to success for each college and university. The admission process is not much different than years past but may be more competitive and is obviously more expensive. An annual tuition at Metro State is roughly $7,000 while DU is $65,000. These are fact finding figures you can obtain if you tour the schools or at your finger tips by signing on to your guidance office computer profile.
So why are there so many panicking parents? It is simple, a lack of knowledge and the perception carried over from little league and elementary school of keeping up with the Jones’. In an affluent state like Colorado with two dominating counties in Arapahoe and Douglas it is all about the money honey! Yes the honey pot is thick in a state that only has 4 division one football schools and little hope of gaining a football roster spot and if you are a baseball player than good luck as arguably the top University in Boulder does not field a team. As for football many will argue the PAC12 is currently the worst of the power 5 divisions and does not develop quarterbacks very well and often are blown out in bowl games. Heck, even many schools will say the PAC12 does not recruit their home states very well as they will take chances on “B-” players from top 8 states.
So with all that in mind you might thinks of heading East to cast a wider net and visit schools that are more manageable financially as there is more concentration and opportunity. For example Texas, a state that thinks they invented football, has a large population and a number of colleges to choose from but also hosts many events that college coaches set up and attend. The key again is “events that college coaches set up and attend,” NOT some marketing managed event that sells your name and information to attend more events or wear an apparel sponsored t-shirt you post on social media for brand awareness. Again many of these coaches will invite athletes if they pass the “Eye Test” which can be seen in the chart above.
Lost in the shuffle of trying to claim stars or be seen at multiple events is Making the grade! While getting lucky on the field or court is nice, what about the part of the evaluation called your CORE GPA. Yes it is that thing you earn while attending classes 5 days a week for 4 years. Also the work many admissions departments are looking at to see if you are worth the gamble. Obviously there is less risk on a student with a GPA North of 3.5 to the point some colleges and universities will not look at GPAs South of 3.2. Unless you are a freak athlete or tested well on an ACT, like a 27 or an SAT of 1340, than chances are you are not a qualifying athlete.
Recruiting is more than just attending some camp or participating in some specialty camp or gym. It is about the complete package of Academics, character, college board exams and on field performance. So before you panic make sure you know your facts! No college coach subscribes to many of the parent portal fee based websites as those are marketed to parents to sell hope. If you are seeking an evaluation than attend a few college camps to get noticed. The influence to get noticed or on the radar as a 3rd grader or high school freshmen is because companies make money off uneducated families. The numbers are on a sliding scale as participation is high early in life but as a child enters their Junior year the numbers thin out. So attending a Junior Day hosted by a college as a sophomore or Junior is a good idea but not an excuse to go to 40 a year. Be selective and do not waste the time of coaches if you have no desire to attend that school. Many will attend IVY league and Military institutions just to say, ” I was there” or post a social media picture in the FOMO world we currently live in.
When the “Panicking parents” know their role than the potential student athlete will know their stats. In case you were not paying attention here are the cliff notes:
College board exams (ACT/SAT)
The on field or court performance will be seen on game days or via video you most likely have focused on more than the above four evaluation pieces.
Again do not panic other parents about being noticed as the NCAA prefers NO CONTACT prior to September 1st of the student athletes Junior year. So once again stirring the pot to be noticed or have an offer or attend an event or train with XYZ is not in the best interests of many. The pure choice is academia FIRST and than a real hard look at what colleges evaluate on year after year of Academics, GPA, College board exams (ACT/SAT) and Character. Oh and if the film looks good you might turn that offer into a scholarship as the “Eye Test” gets you in the door but the rest of the puzzle gets you a Yes or No for a 4-5 year education that lasts 55-60 years beyond athletics. In the end the goal is to gain a post secondary education. So save some of the monies spent chasing stars or attending camps, combines or showcases so you can pay for college to be a walk on or flat out be a college student seeking a career post athletics. The priority of a teenager should be the 55-60 years after high school. Having a positive outlook on academia will be a challenge when you receive letters in the mail or see social media postings inviting you to an event, especially the pay to play events. However, crush it in the classroom and make some noise on game days where coaches and evaluators are watching you.
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Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.