The Final Countdown

By: Natalie Pedersen

Seniors – this is your year! This is your last shot! This is your year! If you haven’t been recruited to play sports in college, now is the time to get proactive and ramp up your recruiting efforts. College coaches have already been in contact with some of your classmates, some for the past 2-3 years even! If you haven’t been communicating with any college coaches, now is the time to start building relationships. Start reaching out to more college coaches across the country looking for roster spot openings and potential scholarships. Remember, just because you may want to play in your home state, that doesn’t mean there are coaches in that state who need or want you. Keep your options open and look everywhere! Even if you don’t want to go to college in Illinois, just keep in mind that an offer you receive from one college can be used to leverage opportunities at the schools you are interested in. When you are communicating with college coaches, be sure to ask if they are still recruiting your position and your grad year. As hard as it is to believe, some top level colleges have filled most or all of their roster spots and have finished recruited seniors. Ask coaches what they need from you in order to fully evaluate you and be sure to have your transcripts or game footage ready when they ask for it! College coaches at every level have no restrictions on calling you at any time during your senior year. So, why aren’t they calling? Because you have to let them know you are first and that you’re interested! Senior year is the time to start taking official visits to college campuses, but remember they have to be offered to you first! Get those offers for visits by getting in front of college coaches and again, building those relationships. Even if you aren’t offered official visits, be sure you’re taking unofficial visits and talking to the college coaches while you’re on campus. Here are a few recruiting dates to be aware of (but be sure to check for specifics on your sport): • The Early Signing Period starts the second week of November for basketball and a few other sports • For football and a few other sports, the Regular Signing Period starts the first week of February • The Regular Signing Period for most sports starts in April and ends August 1 Since November is right around the corner, now is the time to work your hardest at getting recruited and receiving offers so you can sign your National Letter of Intent alongside your classmates. Don’t get left behind! If you feel you’re behind in contacting coaches and want help finding colleges who have roster spots open in your grad year and position, then contact an NCSA National Scout today and find out how they can help you find the right fit and a scholarship offer. Call 888-333-6846 or go to www.ncsasports.org.

Will your future college team be banned because of your grades?

If you haven’t heard, academics matter in athletic recruiting. Academics matter for eligibility. And, academics matter for your future.

So, if everyone knows that good grades are essential for high school and college athletes, why do student-athletes continue to ignore this fact?

10 teams, including three-time national champion Connecticut, have been banned from post-season play for the 2013 NCAA tournament. The reason? Poor Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores.

The Academic Progress Rate is used by the NCAA to measure the academic achievement of Division One teams. It calculates eligibility, retention and graduation. A perfect score is 1000, and the NCAA demands each team score above 900 to remain eligible and avoid penalties. A score of 900 would equal approximately a 50% Graduation Success Rate.

The ten teams are not only banned from the NCAA tournament due to an APR below 900, but most of the seven affected conferences are also banning the teams from individual conference tournaments. The teams also face additional penalties such as a loss of practice hours replaced with academic activities.

With the NCAA cracking down on its teams, it’s proving to collegiate athletes that academics are just as, if not more, important than athletics. They are holding their athletes accountable. So I ask: who is holding you accountable? The answer should be: ME! Only you can truly push yourself to be strong athletically AND academically. If you want to get recruited to play collegiate athletics, you MUST have good grades and keep your grades up throughout your college career.

Don’t be the reason your future team is penalized for not meeting academic standards. Start looking for help from your teachers, tutors and your parents to help pull your grades up if they are not where you want them to be. Also, look into test prep options such as Kaplan to help you prepare for your standardized tests.

If you want to get recruited to play collegiate athletics in college, and you think your grades are where they need to be, contact NCSA Athletic Recruiting for assistance and to start connecting with college coaches (www.ncsasports.org or call 888-333-6846).

Stand Out in a Crowd

By: Natalie Pedersen

Only a small percentage of high school student-athletes go on to play collegiate sports. Less than 1% go on to play Division I athletics. So, what are you doing to help yourself become part of that small percentage of athletes?

Here are a few ways that you can differentiate yourself from other student-athletes fighting for the same rosters spots and make a college coach notice you.

At Camps or Combines

  • Carry your own equipment, never let mom or dad carry it for you
  • Shake the hands of the coaches and introduce yourself

On College Visits

  • Show up on campus with film and transcripts!
  • Don’t let mom or dad take the lead; make sure you do all the talking

Communication

  • Find coaches on Facebook and send them a message
  • Don’t tell the coach how good you are
  1. Talk about why you are interested in a school and why you would be a good fit. Let the coach evaluate you via video and transcript
  • Call rather than email a coach
  1. Coaches are getting hundreds of emails from recruits interested in their program. Stand out by having a conversation with them.

During Competition

  • Go above and beyond on the court. Coaches are watching, so do something to make them want you
  1. Shake the opposing team’s coaches’ hands
  2. If you’re taken out of the game, cheer on your teammates and take a coach/captain’s role even if you’re not a captain – show your teammates you’re still there for them

Social Media

  • Be professional and appropriate – don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see
  • Show school spirit by sending shout outs to other teams or athletes when they do a good job

Always

  • Be prepared
  1. To answer questions, ask questions, etc.
  2. Anticipate anything you could need or want to bring to camps or on college visits
  • Do your research
  1. Research the college program you are interested in so you can tell a coach why you want to attend their college
  2. Make sure you know something about his/her team, such as their record, their star player’s name, etc.
  • Be creative

 

Why Lower Divisions Levels Are a Good Fit

Fact: less than 1% of high school athletes move on to play at the Division I level in college.

So, what does that mean for you? It means, keep your options open! Don’t count out the lower level programs because those are where your best chances are to be recruited. Especially if you’re looking for scholarship money, you need to be realistic and reach out to programs that are good athletic fits for you. Just think, the more programs you reach out to, the more offers you’ll receive and the more scholarship money could be offered to you.

 

Fact: 450 colleges and universities compete at the DIII level, making it the largest of the three NCAA Division levels. (DI 350 and DII 290)

 

Fact: Some high level DIII schools are more competitive than lower level DI programs.

Now, this is only true for baseball and the smaller sports such as swimming. These athletes especially should not be limiting their options to only DI because there are a limited number of college programs in the U.S. who offer their sport. DII, DIII and NAIA schools are great options for finding an athletic and academic fit, as well as receiving offers and scholarship money to play at the collegiate level.

For example, in swimming, top DIII schools often have better and faster swimming programs than some DI and DII college swim teams. DIII can also give out substantial academic scholarships, so don’t count anyone out of the race just yet!

In sports like ice hockey, many opportunities for college athletics are at the club level. Club hockey is also a good alternative for players who are looking for that perfect academic and athletic fit.

 

Fact: Many NAIA programs are highly competitive with NCAA teams and are academically excellent. They can be less-restrictive and generally less expensive than NCAA colleges as well.

 

Fact: Most student-athletes go “Pro” in something other than athletics.

Smaller colleges and universities often prove to be right fit for athletes academically and athletically. Remember, most athletes will “go pro” in something other than athletics, so getting a good education will set you up for the next forty years of your life. Smaller schools often demand a higher level of academic excellence from their athletes and provide more educational assistance and emphasis in order to ensure the future success of their athletes.

If academics are holding you back from pursuing your dreams of playing college athletics, remember that you still have some options. Try attending a Junior College or a Prep school in order to improve your academic standings. These colleges also provide an opportunity to improve your athletic skills as well, so use this opportunity to focus hard and get better athletically and academically before transferring to a NCAA or NAIA school.

 

Do you need more help in the recruiting process?

Call 866-577-6272 or get started at http://bit.ly/GetRecruitedNow

Learn more at http://www.ncsasports.org/

 

How Early Is Recruiting Really Happening?

By: Natalie Pedersen

Every month you can read at least one new article about a young kid around 14 years old getting scholarship offers, proving that the recruiting process starts early.

In April, I found this article about Eron Gordon, age 14:

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120423/LOCAL1802/204230316/Eron-Gordon-14-shows-early-college-recruiting-starts-well-early

In May, I read about Chris Lewis, an eighth grader with two scholarship offers:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/n-fulton-8th-grader-offered-2-basketball-scholarsh/nNWcp/

And now, just this past week, I read an article about a freshman football player getting interest and offers!

http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1188950.html

If three articles aren’t enough to prove that the recruiting process starts early, then reading the rest of this blog surely isn’t going to change your mind.

For some families, they realize the recruiting process starts early, yet, they choose to do nothing. Just the other day I talked to a dad of a H.S. softball athlete and I was telling him about my experience working at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. We talked a bit about his daughter, a rising junior, and he mentioned that they still haven’t made any proactive moves towards getting her recruited. I even told him that softball recruiting starts earlier than many other sports, and he said he knew. Now, he could have been lying. But, even if he wasn’t lying, if still reflects poorly on him for not making any efforts to help his daughter play softball in college, potentially gain scholarship offers, and change the rest of her life.

While I know it’s not up to the parents to start the recruiting process, I think it shows support and sets a good example to the student-athletes if parents encourage their sons/daughters to get proactive in recruiting. Parents can even help research colleges and reach out to companies like NCSA Athletic Recruiting or BeRecruited to look for assistance and education on the recruiting process.

Student-athletes who start the recruiting process early have the advantage. Just look at the three athletes in the above articles. Starting early will help get your name out there and put you on college coaches’ radar. Start building relationships early and you will set yourself up to get roster spots and potential scholarship offers.

Starting early also puts you in a good position to start college. If you learn time management skills and learn how to set goals for yourself, the transition to college will be a lot easier.

 

This Summer, Go Check out Some Colleges

By: Natalie Pedersen

The summer is a great time to take unofficial visits to college campuses since student-athletes are out of school and have more free time for travel. The only downfall is that school is out of session for the college as well so you won’t get a true feel for how booming the campus is during the year.

Just remember, if you like one campus a lot, you can always visit it again during the school year and when your sport is in season. Many student-athletes don’t realize they can take unofficial visits to college campuses at any time throughout their high school career, freshman through senior year.  In fact, you should be taking several unofficial visits every year throughout your high school career. Then, as you begin to narrow down your list of choices, you can always visit a campus again if need be, or, you might be offered an official visit.

So, what is an unofficial visit?

An unofficial visit is any visit to a college or university campus that is not funded by the institution. Unofficial visits have no NCAA restrictions on when high school athletes can unofficially visit a college, which is why it’s a great idea to start early.

During an unofficial visit:

  • Take a tour of the college campus

This is important so you get a feel for the campus that you could potentially be calling home for four years during your college life.

  • Meet with the coaching staff

Be ready to ask and answer questions! Come prepared with knowledge about the athletic program and a list of questions you have for the coach. This will show you’re interested in the program and that you are responsible.

  • Try to talk to some of the players

If possible, talk to some of the athletes and find out how they like the college, the coach and each other. Some of these student-athletes could be your future teammates, and you want to get a sense of how they get along with each other and their coaching staff.

  • Attend a game or practice if possible

This may be hard during the summer, but if the team is still on-campus, you could try to attend a team workout. If you take visits during the school year, then use this time to evaluate the coaches and the competition level of that program.

If you have any more questions about visits, check the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.

 

 

NFL Star Reminds Athletes What Athleadership is All About

Athleadership; a term invented and embodied by author of Athletes Wanted and founder of NCSA Chris Krause. Athleadership means to empower leaders through sports, Chris Krause is a strong believer in Athleadership, he sees sports as a vehicle to drive you for the rest of your life. The core values behind athleadership being team first, education, all in attitude , all out work ethic, making your mark, and leading by example.

A story that was recently released to the press about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford reminds us all what the term Athleadership means.

The Detroit quarterback attended the Griese-Hutchinson-Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts weekend to benefit the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.  Stafford was seated with the family of Faith , a patient at Mott Children’s Hospital. Faith’s brother Will was amazed to be sitting next to the NFL star and continued to chat with him for the remainder of the night. At some point will had let Stafford know how much is family loved the Lions, and visiting Chicago. It just so happened there was a package at the auction for a Monday Night Football game, a trip to Chicago for a Bears-Lions game, including tickets that had been donated by Stafford himself.

To the surprise of everyone in the room when the package came up the Detroit QB began fiercely bidding on the package as to which he partially donated to and for a game he was to be playing in. As the bid ran up Stafford continued to put in his bid as well, finally winning the package at $15,000. After it was announced that Stafford won the package, Stafford turned to Will and his family to let them know the package was all theirs and to enjoy their trip to Chicago. The most amazing thing about this story was that Stafford did not make this jesture for any media attention or a pat on the back. He simply wanted to give a special family something to look forward to.

That is the true definition of Athleadership. Matthew Stafford took some of the fortune he has earned through sports and was able to give back to a family in need.Stafford didn’t expect anything in return for his act, and the only reason it made headline news was due to the attendees discussing it afterward. Not only can aspiring athletes look up to Stafford for his leadership and skill on the field, they can look up to him for his willingness to give back when no one was looking.

Now I understand not all of us have $15,000 to donate to people in need, but Athleadership goes beyond just financial giving. You can be an Athleader in many different ways. For the younger athletes, simply by being a leader on your high school team, helping others who need extra help. Most importantly by setting a good example for your teammates through not only your words, but also through your actions. You could also have your teammates get together to participate in a local community service project that cost no money only your time. A majority of Athletes are born with a special quality of natural born leadership, so as an athlete it is your job to continue to spread your leadership and empower other to give back and lead.

 

 

 

Pursue your dreams before it’s too late!

By:Natalie Pedersen

What are you doing to proactively pursue your dreams?

The phrase “don’t wait until it’s too late” can have many different meanings. Student-athletes might wait too long to reach out to coaches and miss out on scholarships. Some athletes make the mistake of waiting until senior year to start the recruiting process and then find out that all the top schools have made their offers and are finished recruiting their graduation class. And, in one extreme case, a student-athlete was diagnosed with an untreatable disease.

Recently, NCSA learned that one of our student-athletes has been diagnosed with brain cancer and tumors that will ultimately end his life before hi s upcoming high school senior year. Not only is it a tragedy to lose a young life, but this athlete will never be able to achieve his dreams of playing Big Ten football as a Michigan Wolverine.

When I say “don’t wait until it’s too late,” I’m simply implying that you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. And, if you put something off for tomorrow, who’s to say you won’t put it off again once tomorrow is here?

So, what are you doing to pursue your dreams? And, what are you waiting for?

 

To start your recruiting process and get evaluated by a scout, click here or call 866-579-6272.

 

Importance of Academics

Talking to student athletes on a regular basis I often hear that grades do not matter in the recruiting process. This is simply no longer the case. Former Stanford football player and NFL alumni Tunde talks about the importance of academics in the recruiting process.

Academics are crucial from the time you enter high school until your senior year. As a 9th grader it is crucial to understand the NCAA core course requirements that make student athletes eligible to play at the next level. It is important that student athletes are keeping on track with these requirements through their senior year so they do not get to graduation and realized they missed something that made them ineligible.

As well the NCAA has different minimum grade and test score requirements for athletes to be eligible to play at different division levels. Student athletes need to meet these minimum requirements to be eligible through the NCAA Eligibility center. Furthermore beyond meeting the NCAA requirements, each individual school has its own admissions requirements. While student athletes will receive slightly lower standards from the admissions office than non student athletes but there is still a minimum requirement that is necessary to meet.

Lastly coaches will often look at your academic performance as an indicator of your on the court/field work ethic. How hard you are willing to work in the classroom can show coaches what kind of athlete you are. If you and another ahtlete have similar athletic abilities the scholarship opportunity can often come down to the student athlete with the higher academic performance.

Student athletes make sure to stay on top of your grades!

 

NCAA Eligibility Center 101

What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies that college-bound athletes who wish to compete in Division I or II athletic programs have met necessary academic credentials and are of amateur status. NCAA colleges and universities set these regulations to ensure all student-athletes meet NCAA standards, including required core courses.

 

Do I really need to sign up with the eligibility center?

  • You cannot attend official visits if you have not registered or qualified with the NCAA Eligibility center
  • You cannot compete in division I or II if you have not been registered and qualified with the NCAA Eligibility center

When and how do I register with the eligibility center?

To qualify for NCAA eligibility and view core course requirements, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center by completing the Student Release Form and amateurism questionnaire during your junior year.

 

 

*** Special notes

Fall 2012 enrolled athletes need to sign final amateur certification on or after April 1, 2012.

Starting August 1, 2013, NCAA Division II student-athletes will be required to take 16 core courses—this applies to any student first entering a college of university on or after August 1. Please note that the 16 core course for DI and DII slightly differ.

The SAT and ACT have changed their writing tests; SAT writing section is mandatory and the ACT writing section is optional.

Official test scores are no longer accepted from high school transcript. Instead, test scores are to be sent directly from the testing agency (use code “9999” to request ACT or SAT test scores).