Question: Academics and Recruiting Love this page and love your book! Very insightful. Here's the question: Will coaches look harder/search out a player who is National Merit Scholar - Top 10% of class ranking, etc.? Do they look at these potential players as a "free" type of player where they will definitely be receiving academic dollars and therefore, coaches will not have to reach into their athletic funds? Should we be pushing/marketing her academic excellence as hard as we can? And if these type players are on the border line between being D I and D II, will D I look twice because/due to academic strengths?
Answer: Academics and Recruiting
Coaches will definitely take into account a student's academic record, and at many schools, coaches do look for kids with top grades and test scores. These players are more likely to be eligible for academic money, for fee waivers, for special scholarships, etc. Coaches at private schools really appreciate students who help them make the college more affordable! And coaches at schools like the Ivy Leagues have to put grades/test scores first even before athletic experience and ability. I always encourage parents of strong students to investigate all options for scholarships and aid because there is more academic money available than there ever will be athletic money.
Good grades alone won't be enough for all schools, of course. And you can't generalize along the divisional lines because there are top D-II programs that are stronger than small D-I programs. So a player who might not necessarily be a scholarship candidate at a strong D-II, but who has excellent grades/scores might be recruited by a smaller D-I program with limited athletic money available. Being a top student might get you admitted to a UCLA or a Stanford, but at top athletic programs, it won't guarantee you'll make the team. Still, when push comes to shove, if a coach is having to choose between two players who are similar athletically, but one is significantly stronger academically, most of the time the coach will lean towards choosing the player who is the better student.
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