Going to College Archive

Do Coaches Really Care About Academics?

Initial-Eligibility Requirements and Graduation Rates Effect Recruiting


Student-athletes are students first and athletes second. Even in nationally competitive programs where there is a lot of pressure to win championships, this is the case. With NCAA initial-eligibility requirements becoming increasingly difficult and new bylaws based on college graduation rates now in place, coaches have to identify junior golfers who can not only help their teams win golf tournaments but can also handle their academic responsibilities. Academics do matter to coaches in the recruiting process.

NCAA initial-eligibility requirements for Division I recruits stipulate that high school graduates must pass 16 academic core courses in high school and have an SAT or ACT score that meets the Eligibility Center’s sliding scale before they can compete as a freshman in college. The higher the grade point average is, the lower the test score can be to meet these requirements. Student-athletes who aspire to participate in athletics at the collegiate level in Division I or II need to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center by the end of their sophomore year in high school.

College golfers miss a tremendous amount of class time due to participation in tournaments. Most tournaments require student- athletes to miss two days of class time. In an average semester, teams will compete in at least 4 to 5 events resulting in nearly 10 days of class absences for each player that makes the trip. These absences can be extremely stressful for students who are not prepared to excel academically or to manage their limited time. Coaches take this reality into consideration when recruiting junior golfers. They are well aware of what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level and try to identify excellent players who are capable students as well. As a junior golfer it is very important to stay focused in school by maintaining a high grade point average and by achieving a high test score on either the SAT or ACT. Academic success, combined with a quality golf resume, will help you in the recruiting process.

The NCAA requires athletic programs and teams to meet certain standards for graduation rates. Coaches and their teams can be penalized if graduation rates fall below these standards. As a result, coaches are even more focused on recruiting top students to their institutions than ever before. While it has always been important to identify and recruit student-athletes who are committed to earning four-year degrees in college, coaches will work even harder now to make sure they are recruiting players who are focused on graduating before they leave school.

In the final analysis, coaches really do care about academics when recruiting junior golfers. As a result, student-athletes need to understand that they have to balance their time and energy between the sport they love to play and their academic responsibilities. This balance will help their overall marketability when it comes time to being recruited.

And remember, school should always come first!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®


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