It is your responsibility and your responsibility alone to meet the NCAA academic eligibility requirements. One of the most critical components to your eligibility is your GPA. In this weeks Recruiting Corner we cover what the GPA is and how it will impact your college recruiting.
GPA stands for Grade Point Average, most high schools use them as a measure of a student’s overall academic accomplishments. Some of you might be more familiar with a percentage system but as you move into the college ranks the admissions departments will all expect your percentage grades to be changed into the standard 0.0-4.0/5.0 GPA scale. The reason the scale is listed as 4.0/5.0 is because the normal GPA range sits somewhere between 0.0 and 4.0 but it is possible to reach above the 4.0 mark if honors (weighted) classes are taken. Make sure you know what the minimum GPA for NCAA Eligibility is.
When you introduce yourself to a coach you are making a first impression whether in person or through some other form of communication media. Since these coaches are recruiting STUDENT-ATHLETES, all will care and ask about the types of grades you achieve in the classroom. Your GPA is a huge marker of the type of character you have and can leave a lasting impression, good or bad. Coaches aren’t willing or wanting to spend a lot of time on an athlete who doesn’t care about their classroom duties; there are even some blue chip recruits out there that get passed over by schools because their grades are below the mark. Keep in mind, for a coach to recruit you, you have to have the grades to qualify for that certain university or college. Do not bank on your “Athletic” abilities to make the coach walk you through the admissions department; this happens much less than you think it does.
As a student-athlete, if you understand that a coach will judge not just your abilities in the classroom but your character, your work ethic, your drive, etc. all from your GPA you will be far ahead of many of the other athletes out there. You are constantly being judged and evaluated, weighed against other athletes, built up and torn down during each stage of the recruiting process. I like to look at recruiting as a March Madness tournament bracket. In the beginning you have all these different teams (Athletes) some are good (4 & 5 star recruits), others are talented but not great (2 and 3 star recruits), and then there are your Cinderella stories (1 & 2 star recruits) which could be possible walk-ons or late blooming scholarship athletes. Coaches are looking for reasons to eliminate athletes not add them, they have who they want in there “64” man recruiting board. Something as simple as a great GPA with mild athletics could keep you on a coaches board, could keep your chances alive, while the same athletics and a bad GPA could take you off. This scenario can change as many times as you would like and it still works because of how important GPA truly is to your recruiting process.
Parents and athletes alike, make sure that success in the classroom is among one of the top priorities on your high school or junior college athlete’s to-do list. Working hard now will only help save time, effort, and hopefully tuition at a later point.