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Countdown to college: Athletic recruitment 101

Lee Shulman Bierer, Tribune News Service on

Published in Education News

Hey, Hollywood, how about a new television show called “So You Think You Can Be a Professional Athlete?” The stats aren’t encouraging.

According to ncaa.org, there are a few million high school athletes and more than 460,000 NCAA student-athletes, and fewer than 2 percent of them will go pro in their sports. The probability of competing beyond high school is daunting. A chart on the site demonstrates just how challenging it is for high school athletes to become members of the NCAA, and for college athletes to move on to professional sports.

In the example below, the first number represents the number of high school athletes by sport, followed by the percentage who are able to play at the college level, then the percentage of college athletes who eventually play professional sports, and finally the percentage of athletes who go all the way from high school to professional sports:

Football: 1,086,627, 6.5 percent, 1.6 percent, .08 percent

Men’s basketball: 538,676, 3.3 percent, 1.2 percent, .03 percent

Women’s basketball: 433,120, 3.7 percent, .9 percent, .03 percent

Men’s soccer: 410,982, 5.7 percent, 1.9 percent, .09 percent

I’m not trying to burst everyone’s bubbles, but, if you’re still interested in playing a sport in college, here’s what you need to know. Your first order of business is to spend some time doing your homework on the following websites:

www.ncaa.org – The official web site of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Read the NCAA guide for prospective collegiate athletes.


www.naia.org – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, another governing body of college sports.

https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/ – the place where student-athletes need to register and begin the recruitment process. The site helps students and families determine academic eligibility and amateur athlete eligibility status. Prospective student-athletes must register with the "Eligibility Center” to be considered for scholarships and financial aid.

Here are some things you’ll need to think about as you consider entering the athletic recruitment process:

Think about the concept of “fit” – make sure the school is solid academic fit for you as well as a sports/social fit. You want to make sure you will be able to graduate in four years with a solid major and a strong transcript.

Talk with your coach to help determine at what level you are able to play (DI, DII, DIII).

Be responsible in the process and don’t forget to return questionnaires, send film if requested, take standardized tests, send transcripts, etc.

Visit as many schools as possible (unofficial visits). Spend some serious quality time with the coach(es) and other players, and ask how they are treated, how well they’re doing in their classes and what their life is like.

Be honest throughout the process and follow the rules diligently. Be straight with the coaches recruiting you and look for those being honest with you.

©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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