One of the hot topics at the recent Southeastern Conference NCAA College Media Day was the issue of Academics and how a student athletes grades have a direct impact on the being recruited. Below are exerpts from John Tally’s recent article in AL.com and his interviews with several college coaches.
Why do we think this is important to you? Because it confirms one of the main components that is addressed and taught in the Playing the Recruiting Game Learning Management System Modules about the importance of Character and Academics, #1 and #2 in the Recruiting Process.
“The most difficult thing is if a kid is close,” says Syracuse coach Scott Shafer. “You have to be careful how many of those kids you put on the board. For the most part if you are signing a class of 25 kids, you don’t want to have more than three kids, or it can bite you.”
Shafer has experience handling difficult academic standards. Not only does he face it at Syracuse but he did it as a defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, one of the nation’s top academic institutions. Harbaugh required his staff always to have academics in mind when considering which players to recruit. The staff blanketed the country looking for the right fit for Stanford.
“We tried to find any all-conference player who was a sophomore around the country and as soon as he was all-county or whatever in his hometown, we shot a transcript request to his counselors,” Shafer says. “There were literally thousands of them. Our whole thing was get his transcripts before we watch his video. If the transcript came in and that kid had honor classes and (advanced placement) classes and a very high GPA, then we’d watch the video.”
Most schools won’t take the Stanford approach, but the new standards could require more due diligence in the recruiting process. There are college coaches out there willing to offer middle school kids scholarship offers, and that won’t change, but it might make them think twice about doing it. The new core courses requirement will make it difficult to know whether most prospects can qualify until after their junior year at the earliest.
Coaches will have to dig deeper during the evaluation process to avoid signing a class full of academic redshirts, says Memphis coach Justin Fuente.
“Everyone talks about recruiting with all the flash and fancy stuff but a great portion of recruiting is evaluation, whether that’s academic, athletic,personality or social skills,” Fuente says. “Increasing academic standards is just another hurdle we have to make sure we do a really good job of continuing to evaluate.”