It’s not totally unheard of for entire families to pack up and move when their son or daughter leaves for college to study and play sports for the NCAA. One day a North American transport pulls up to the front door and loads all the family belongings and dreams into its trailer. Moms and dads who have faithfully attended games from elementary through high school and scheduled their own activities around endless practices in all kinds of weather are not willing to follow the culmination of those efforts from back home.
For some parents, moving to a new college town is just one more step in supporting their child through the next phase of life. In most situations their children are carrying significant scholarships with them, because they have not only proven themselves to have athletic potential, but they have also demonstrated academic ability. The old supposition that athletes lack or struggle with “book learning” is no longer acceptable.
The possibility of playing NCAA sports is a powerful motivator for students and parents alike, and one that requires diligent preparation as early as freshman high school. Because there are specific academic requirements to be even eligible for NCAA consideration, if you hope to earn this privilege you should meet with the school academic counselor as soon as you enter high school to make sure that the required core courses are scheduled and graduation will be on time, at the end of four years. Doing well scholastically means scoring high on a heavy load of courses rather than slipping through with barely acceptable course credits. Good ACT and SAT scores will be a reflection of the hard work you have put into high school studies and also demonstrate that you are more than just an athlete.
Because coveted Div. I and Div. II scholarships represent a significant individual investment in each athlete, NCAA recruiters are looking for multi-dimensional candidates who can balance sports, academics and the social environment of the college or university. They want to know what else you will bring to the school in addition to your athletic ability. Use your high school years to expand your interests and demonstrate some measure of civic commitment as well as to hone your sports talents.
Of course, superior skills in your chosen game will play an important role in being selected for an NCAA team. Don’t focus exclusively on your specialty skills within the game but practice other positions as well to increase your overall value to eager recruiters. Get yourself known through emails, introductions, submitting good quality videos and any other legitimate ways of contacting recruiters. Don’t forget to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center before the end of you junior year in high school if you are hoping to someday play on a Div. I or Div. II sports team.
When it’s time to finally choose the college or university you will be attending, consider the proximity to your home. Will your parents be able to visit regularly if they so desire, or will they consider relocating? Of course, academic reputation, team credentials and playing time are also important considerations. Start preparing in high school, and someday you could be living out your dream of playing in the NCAA.