In a story broke by jacketsonline.com, Georgia Tech pulled their scholarship offer from a 3-star defensive end football recruit, Junior Gnonkonde. This is huge news because Junior committed to Georgia Tech more than a year ago and has not been talking to any other schools for more than eleven months.
The coaching staff at Georgia Tech was in a tough position because they felt Junior wasn’t going to make it through admissions. Hence, they made the tough choice of pulling the offer rather than risk him not getting into school and ending up with no offers several months later.
There are some very valuable lessons all recruits need to take from this story.
1. Establish Your Academic Markers Right Away
The offer was pulled because Junior’s SAT or ACT didn’t quite meet the standard needed for Georgia Tech. Junior’s athletic director was quoted as saying, “They had his test scores and transcripts for months, why didn’t they tell us this earlier?” Junior and those helping him should not have waited to be told if there was an issue. The first thing you should do when committing to a program is establish what you need to do academically to ensure you make it through admissions.
2. Good Enough isn’t Good Enough
Junior had a grade point average of 3.2 and good test scores and greatly exceeded the academic minima as a Division I athlete of the NCAA. Athletic director John White said, “I know he meets the NCAA minimum to be a college athlete. Is the NCAA minimum all of a sudden not good enough for Georgia Tech?” Yes, Mr. White, that is exactly correct. Meeting the NCAA minimum never guarantees admissions into a college especially at a school like Georgia Tech. Don’t assume you are going to get into a school because you meet the NCAA minimum.
3. Relying on Only Your Coach is a Risky Proposition
Junior is in a unique position because his coach/athletic director is also his legal guardian. It’s clear Coach White cares a great deal about Junior and thought he had done everything he needed to get Junior into one of the best academic institutions in the country. However, it was a process he wasn’t familiar with, and ultimately he should have sought some outside advice. Don’t assume your coach or athletic director is an expert in recruiting, and if you are helping an athlete, seek as much advice as possible.
In the end, Junior is going to be fine. He’s fielding offers from five or more schools, and because of his freak athleticism (he is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, and here are his highlights), he will get these late offers, but more often than not, an athlete in his position can get left without an offer.