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What can student athletes get away with?

Student-athletes have a reputation for being able to get away with anything. But that’s becoming a think of the past with coaches

What can student athletes get away with?

Student-athletes and their privileges have been a source of debate for many years. There is so much media and Internet coverage on what teams and athletes are doing that athletes are unlikely to get away with much anymore.

Secure your place on the team by being an A+ athlete and scoring high in academics, athletic ability and attitude.


Myth: Grades don’t matter for athletes.

Truth: Grades matter a lot! Being a champion on the field or the court and in the classroom is expected.

In the last couple of decades, there has been a tightening of academic standards for athletes. High schools across America made moves to limit eligibility for student-athletes who didn’t pass all of their classes. This is commonly referred to as “No Pass, No Play.”

The NCAA has taken bold steps to set the hurdle high for student athletes. The average student-athlete attending a high-achieving public or private school won’t see much of a hurdle in the NCAA’s Division I requirements of 16 core courses.

For others, such as those in small rural schools or overcrowded high schools, the NCAA requirements may be over and above the requirements for high school graduation. See for details.

What you can get away with:
• You could have a higher chance for admission to college as a recruited athlete. In their book Admission Matters, Sally P. Springer and Marion R. Franck write that student-athletes may have an increased chance of admission to an Ivy League school by up to four times.
• Many student-athletes get first dibs on signing up for classes.
• You’ll get extra academic assistance once you are on campus. The school and coach want to protect their investment.


Myth: Behavior doesn’t matter for athletes.

Truth: Attitude and actions count in a big way.

College coaches are hired and fired based on the type of student-athletes they can bring to a campus.

The days are fading where a student-athlete could get into trouble and then be excused just because they play on a team. Though this may still happen sometimes, the movement has been toward holding student-athletes accountable.

What you can get away with:
• Most likely, you will get away with less than non-athletes. You’ll have a coach whose reputation and job stability will be good or bad based on whether your behavior is good or bad.


Myth: If I just play well in high school, sit back and wait, the college recruiters will flock to me.

Truth: You need to take an active role in your recruitment.

What you can get away with:
• Be persistent and assertive in the recruiting process. College coaches are very busy, so you must make some moves in the game of recruiting in your junior year.
• Reach out often and early to college coaches. This means making phone calls, sending e-mails or writing letters and sending a link to your YouTube highlight videos.

Be the most valuable student-athlete you can be by focusing on the A’s: academics, athletics and attitude.

Coach Laura Mitchell Wilde is the former CEO and founder of Sports Dreammakers Inc.and a former college head basketball coach and outreach counselor at University of California. She published a book in 2018 "The Cosmic Athlete: Beyond Mindfulness: How to Compete Within The Cosmic Zone".


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