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Do Grades Really Matter?

GameDay Approach.... To understanding Academics.

Top Grades are a Coach's Dream

Students with top grades are a coach's dream and thus are more likely to be recruited. Imagine you are a head coach and you need to battle to get certain recruits admitted to the school each year. Along comes a student who is not only a potentially strong recruit, but also is one who could get into the school on his/her own academic achievement.

Academic Success

  • It is important to understand that success in the classroom gives the student-athlete the most options when choosing a Best-Fit college
  • Academic success must begin during your freshman year of high school, and continue through your senior year  
  • High GPA’s and testscores will open many doors for the prospective student-athlete; moreover, most colleges want students who’ve chosen a rigorous high school curriculum that challenges them. This may include Honors, AP, or IB classes

Freshman and Sophmore Year

  • Top students are the most valued recruits
  • For student athletes, the recruiting process is not only starting earlier -- it is completed earlier
  • For certain sports, coaches are looking for student-athletes to Commit  during their sophomore year
  • The Summer Travel Team may be the most important showcase
  • That means that after a coach sees someone play on some field or in a gym in July and becomes interested in the player's talent, the first question is likely to be, "What are your grades like?"
  • That translates to: what is your Grade Point Average (GPA) at the mid-point of high school?
  • You bet that tough freshman year matters
  • Depending on your course load and weighted classes, your first two years might account for 50% of your GPA

Core Courses vs Electives

  • When the coach asks the question about your grades , it is different than when the Admissions office takes a look at your transcript
  •  Lots of admissions offices don't include in your GPA your health class, or if your attending a parochial school, your religion grade
  • Therefore, performance in math, science, English, history, and foreign language matters more
  • The governing body of intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA, has developed eligibility standards that apply to all student-athletes entering an affiliated college/university  
  • Parents and players must familiarize themselves with the eligibility standards and Core Courses requirement  


  • The better a student-athlete’s grades in high school, the more opportunities available
  • The higher a recruit’s grades, the more Scholarship potential
  • Academic success is a great indicator of work ethic, character, and dedication
  • Grades can also be a potential tiebreaker between recruits
  • If a college coach is stuck between two student-athletes who are very similar in skill and ability, the decision could come down to academics
  • The student with a better class record is often going to be the young adult who is more dedicated and will work harder
  • Additionally, by fall of your senior year, the recruiting process may be over for most Division II an III schools  
  • Most college coaches have completed their recruiting class based only on the incoming players, freshman, sophomore and junior years
  • If you are a senior, you need to be proactive in talking to college coaches about your grades
  • Every year, colleges rescind offers of admission, put students on academic probation, or alter financial aid packages as a result of Senioritis
  • It doesn’t matter how athletically talented a student-athlete is, if he/she cannot meet the academic demands in college, he/she will not be Eligible to complete in athletics

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