Athletic Quest Announces: There is a Critical Role of Academics in College Recruiting

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No matter what type of athletics are involved, the role of academics when working on college recruiting is critical. Considering an athlete's academics as well as their sports ability will help insure success in the college recruiting process.

Academics rule the day when it comes to college recruiting — whether it’s football recruiting, basketball recruiting or college recruiting for any sport. Case in point: As of October 2011, the NCAA changed its rules regarding academic qualifications, making it much more difficult to qualify for athletic scholarships and sport scholarships. “Now the minimum accumulative core GPA a student athlete must have out of high school will be 2.3, not 2.0 as in years past,” reports Coach John Scott, president and CEO of Athletic Quest, whose business team is comprised of all current and former college coaches — the only team of its kind in the industry. “And if a student athlete transfers from a junior college to a four-year college, the NCAA criteria has risen to 2.5 from 2.0.

“The other thing that’s happening with academic standards is that a college can be eliminated from end-of-year championships if their team’s accumulative GPA isn’t high enough,” says Coach Scott. “Now colleges recruit student athletes with excellent grades to bring up their team’s GPA averages.    So what do you think this will do to students who are great athletes but don’t excel in the classroom?” questions Coach Scott. “They’re going to the bottom of the college recruiting list.”

There are a number of mistaken beliefs about academics with regard to college recruiting. “I think one of the primary misconceptions is that people believe if the student athlete is talented, but just an average student, that the student will still get recruited. That used to be true, but that’s definitely changed. Our coaches repeatedly asks student athletes, ‘Are you recruitable?’ says Coach Scott. “We point out that colleges are looking for student athletes, not athletic students. The word ‘student’ always comes before the word ‘athlete , except in the dictionary.’”
So what do college coaches look for? Typically college recruiting coaches receive between 500 and 5,000 contacts from potential athletes each year. The first thing the coach looks for is academic status. The student athlete may be eligible according to NCAA standards, which leads him or her to believe that they can get into any college in the country. However, that’s a myth. “There are two battle lines that have to be crossed,” says Coach Scott. “To be NCAA eligible, the student athlete needs to have at least a score of 18 on the ACT exam, and an 820 to 860 on the SAT exam in math and writing combined, along with a 2.3 GPA. That’s the first academic hurdle.”

Most student athletes can cross that first hurdle. The second academic hurdle, however, depends upon the college. For instance, Stanford University requires an ACT score of 30, and a score of 1340 on the SAT math and writing sections — substantially different from NCAA standards. USC requires a 29 on the ACT, and a 1270 in SAT math and writing. Last year USC had 80,000 applicants and only accepted 8,000. Under the old format, USC would be able to allow up to 2% of its applicants to be under the minimum academic requirements. Most of the 2% were student athletes. That’s all going away now.”

Contrary to popular belief, advanced placement courses don’t count when qualifying for athletic scholarships---beyond the ivy league colleges. Those colleges have huge numbers of applications from students who have knocked the ACT and SAT exams out of the park, and consistently turn down thousands of students with 4.0 GPAs each year. So these colleges need to have a third level of criteria — AP or advanced placement courses.

“But 95% of colleges don’t even consider advanced placement courses,” states Coach Scott. "Especially if they want you as a student athlete. The student athlete will be further ahead getting his or her grade point average up and doing well on ACT and SAT exams than taking AP courses. I know what most guidance counselors say about this, but they have never been college coaches or qualified a student athlete for their college.”

When do academics begin to matter? “If the student athlete is in the 9th grade and their GPA is below a 3.0, he or she is already way behind in the college recruiting process,” comments Coach Scott.

According to high school teachers around the United States, the number one problem with a student’s grade point average is not turning in homework on time. Number two problem is that students don’t prepare for tests. The number three issue is that the student doesn’t participate in class. “So if the teacher is looking at a score of 89.5 and the kid is a pain in the neck, he’s not getting an A-; he’ll get a B+. But if the student scores an 89.5, turns in his work on time, asks one or two questions every class period, that kid will have a much better chance of getting an A-,” says Coach Scott.

So what can the student athlete do to advance their academics?
“We hired a group of professional educators to help Athletic Quest develop a ‘how to study’ system for learners at all levels,” reports Coach Scott. “It’s a simple and effective study system used Monday through Thursday nights. If these guidelines are followed, the student will be rewarded with immediate and positive results. We’ve seen students go from a 2.7 GPA to a 3.1, and 3.1’s go to a 3.4 accumulative GPA in one semester. Last year we provided this studey system to 43 student athletes at West Jordan High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. In one semester, all 43 students’ grade point averages went up. That’s a significant 100% success rate! Overall we’ve had 90% of our student athletes improve their grades by a half to a whole grade point in one semester. What happened to the other 10%? They were spending their time on Facebook, texting or on X-box. They didn’t follow the game plan.”

Of the 800,000 college athletes in the country this past year, 40% have some amount and some form of academic scholarships. Only 2% of those 800,000 athletes have athletic scholarships. “So if you don’t think academics matter, then you probably won’t be playing college sports,” reflects Coach Scott.

Visit Athletic Quest at or call them at 888.803.5157 for a free evaluation ($50.00 value) or to visit with a college coach recruiter.

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