Even though NCAA waives ACT / SAT requirement for 2021 student-athletes: still a good idea to take it.

Last week the NCAA announced waivers requiring ACT or SAT test scores for athletic eligibility. While many  student athletes celebrated a sigh of relief, despite the generous exception its time to start studying because it is still a good idea for student-athletes take the ACT or SAT. 

To quickly review the recently exemption, last week the NCAA decided Division I or II athletes will not be required to take a standardized test to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements. This decision said is to “help ensure students have a fair opportunity to meet the initial-eligibility standard.”   Why was this decision made?  

Student athletes, stay the course, continue moving forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT college entry exam.  Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Again, the NCAA is concerned about “the continued disruption in secondary education due to the pandemic”. So, to meet eligibly requirements for athletic participation as well as to meet the criteria for academically eligibility for receive athletics scholarship, practice and completion in their first year the NCAA has made some concessions. Admission requirements are pretty low, 2.3 grade point average for Division 1 and 2.2 grade point average for Division II provided the NCAA approved 16 core courses are completed. But, lowering the standard and exempting student athletes from the standardized tests requirement leaves a few questions unanswered. 

In total, omitting the ACT or SAT requirement does not specifically address university admissions requirements.  Nor, does the exemption address how financial awards will be provided that usually are distributed as a result of high ACT or SAT scores? 

So, put down the party hat and grab a chair. Its time to start studying because what isn’t addressed by the exemption is exactly why student-athletes should move forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT. 

First, to get into a college the university admission requirements must be met to get into that college. Undoubtably, student-athletes with a qualifiable ACT or SAT score are sure to have better opportunities for entry. Conversely, student athletes without standardized test scores are more likely not to  meet the requirements for colleges known for higher academic standards  Lets be realistic, schools know for selecting students with higher academics standards will continue to maintain this standards. Furthermore, student-athletes may be put at a disadvantage to gain entry into colleges known for higher academic standards. Consequently, student athletes aspiring to attend such schools will be expected to meet admission requirements or look elsewhere.  

Next, it is no secret that a college education is expensive. So, even without ACT or SAT scores, college tuition will still need to be paid.  What the NCAA generous waiver does not explain how to fill the financial void that is usually filled by financial awards provided by high standardized test scores?  Keep in mind, outside of D1 football, which is a full athletic and academic scholarship sport, schools in DIAA, DII, NAIA and DIII typically stack athletic scholarship with academic awards towards the cost of tuition. Somebody will have to pay and I don’t see colleges reducing the price of admission any time soon. 

The question remains, in the coming months, will athletes be presented other opportunities be made available to fill this void and to gain financial awards? Or will the burden be placed on solely on the athlete and their family? Without the funding provided by the SAT or ACT score how can student-athletes earn the extra financial awards that decrease tuition costs?

Bottom line for student athletes, stay the course, continue moving forward with the plan to take the ACT or SAT college entry exam.  

Source: NCAA Eligibility Center announces flexibility in initial eligibility for 2021-22 Changes address uncertainty caused by COVID-19 August 17, 2020 11:00amMichelle Brutlag Hosick

How to Enjoy the Recruiting Experience Your Senior Year

Almost every athletic competition has time constraints. For example, soccer has two 45 minute halves, basketball four 8 minute quarters, even track and swimming measure placements by time. Baseball and softball limits games by a specified number of innings. Clearly, time management is vital to every game. Usually, the winning team at the end of the game is the team that managed the clock best. In contrast, the team that does not always relies on last second miracles to pull out the victory.

Last Minute Miracles

Athletes in the midst of their senior year should not rely on last minute miracles to land a scholarship. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that miracles happen, but I’d much rather be confident that everything has been done to assure that victory is certain. Think of it like this. Would you rather hurry and scurry around as the clock winds down hoping to score at the last second or would you prefer to know that victory is eminent as you take a knee allowing time expire and relish the moment of celebration?

Senior year should be one of recruiting celebration not  recruiting anxiety.
Senior year should be one of recruiting celebration not recruiting anxiety.

Often, I speak with parents and athletes who didn’t take the time earlier in high school to design a recruiting plan. For many reasons these folks are in a panic. Each day anxiety builds up more and more because they are aware that the clock is winding down; the phone’s not ringing, no letters are in the mailbox, and no coach’s emails in the inbox. Truly, I feel for these folks because a miracle is the only hope they have for a scholarship offer.

Tips to Enjoy the Recruiting Process Senior Year.

Senior year is supposed to be an enjoyable year, not one of anxiety.  Follow these few tips to be certain that you’ve met your goals and victory belongs to you!

  1. Stay true to your recruiting plan. Start working the plan early and stay the course. This is where years of recruiting exposure will pay off.
  2. Keep focused in the classroom and on the field. This is not the time to let your performance slip.
  3. Be familiar with the recruiting timeline. Depending on the sport, calls from college coaches for recruiting can begin in June, July and September.
  4. Know that you can contact college coaches. If they haven’t called you, then you call them. Communicate with as many coaches as possible. Show them that you are interested.
  5. Take official visits to colleges recruiting you. Five official visits are permitted, use them wisely.  Make sure you know the academic and athletic expectations for athletes at each school.

NIL Signing Day

When its all over, the goal is to sign your letter of intent in February. Circle this date on your calendar. National Letter of Intent signing day is always the first Wednesday in February. Also note that the NCAA has 346 D1 member schools, 291 D2 and 439 D3 schools all with athletic programs! Many of these programs will not complete recruiting athletes until well into the Spring.  Some Spring sports however have extensions, such as softball and baseball. Due to later season play, regular signing period for these sports are typically April 16 through May 21 for Division I athletes. For Division II athletes the regular signing period is April 16 through August 1st.

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Readers are welcome to leave comments to this week’s post or ask questions to be answered in next week’s post.  As always, I can be reached around the clock on twitter @michaelwoosley.

Beginners Guide to College Recruiting

Parents of junior high athletes often ask me when they should begin the recruiting process for their son or daughter. Typically, my reply is an emphatic, “Now!”  The most frequent response I get from that parent then is, “well, we have time.” Sorry friend, that’s just not true. Here’s why. According to the NCAA student-athletes become college prospects the first day of their Freshman year. So while the goal is not to get a college scholarship in the 8th grade, instead, the goal should be to use the junior high years to get your student athlete prepared for the recruiting process. This week, I’m going to help you come up with that plan as part of my beginners guide to recruiting series.

Parents of young athletes with big dreams need to start planning now.
Parents of young athletes with big dreams need to start planning now.

It may be true that only a select few athletes get on college recruiting boards the first day of Freshman year, it is equally true that you need to start making plans for your student-athlete if he or she ever expects to get noticed by college coaches.

The Junior high years, 7th and 8th grades, are the formidable years of athletic development. This is the time when athletes start to take an interest in favorite sport. Also, it is during the Junior high years talent begins to either blossom or wither.

Look for the 3 D’s
During the Junior high years parents need to look for the 3 D’s. Junior high is a great time to test for the 3 D’s. As a scout, I measure athletes by the 3D’s because they are found in the DNA of elite athlete, The 3 D’s are desire, determination and drive.

Desire– athletes that have an unyielding passion for the game. They eat, sleep, and breath it!
Determination  – athletes that motivated by the “have to” effect. These athletes have to master there position.
Drive– athletes that thrive on competition and the relentless pursuit to be the best.

The 3 D’s separate good athletes from great athletes. Good athletes get by on talent. Great athletes put in the work to become great. Almost every athlete has some amount of the 3 D’s, but I’m looking for the student- athlete that has noticeably more dedication to the 3 D’s than their peers. So parents, if your student athlete a shows measurable amount of the 3 D’s then its time to devise a plan.

Plan the plan
Usually, we fail when we fail to plan. If your goal is to get a scholarship to play a sport in college now is the time start making a plan. Remember to keep in mind that plans are flexible, not rigid. So my advice is to devise a plan, work towards that plan, and if necessary, adjust accordingly. Advice that I was given when I was young sums it up completely, “Plan the plan.”

Put the plan in motion
Now that a plan is coming together, start putting that plan in motion. Plan to be in the midst of your plan on day 1 of Freshman year. Here are a few suggestions to consider when putting your plan in motion.

  • Practice frequently
  • Get private position coaching
  • Go to sport specific camps.
  • Start playing on a competitive travel ball team
  • Start planning your high school course load.
  • Excel in the classroom and get good grades. (Only eligible players can play. )
  • Learn good study habits
  • Research your local high school, find out how many teams it has (Fr, JV, Var) and get to know the coaches.

All recruiting begins with a plan. These are just some the beginning steps to get you started with college recruiting. Next week’s post of the guide to recruiting with focus on Freshman year. That’s when the real fun begins!

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As always, readers are welcome to leave comments to this week’s post or ask questions to be answered in next week’s post. Tweet me around the clock with questions or comments on Twitter @michaelwoosley.