Outside the Boxley: Preparing for collegiate athletics

Outside+the+Boxley%3A+Preparing+for+collegiate+athletics

By Austin McDermott, Sports Co-Editor

A pivotal moment in each student athlete’s career is when they have to decide where they will spendthe next four years of their college career. I feel an obligation to drop a little knowledge for those ofyou who are taking this sometimes precarious adventure.

The recruiting process can be a confusing and stressful experience. Considering that the next four years of one’s life will be affected by this one decision. Make an educated decision based on the university’s ability to provide you opportunities, and realize that your dedication will be to the university.

The first thing you need to do is narrow down your options. Everyone has a dream school they would like to attend but this is not the time for dreams. You should narrow down your options to at most,three realistic options. Then, think about what you might want to study. I know that this may be a decision that you’re not ready to make, but you should at least have some idea of what you want to study.

Once you have decided what you want to study, then you can do research on each of your top three schools and compare their prospective departments. I shouldn’t have to say this, but you are attending this school to attain a degree. As a student athlete, before you even look at the athletic programs, you need to have researched the university academic history first.

Once you have established which school is your favorite, academically then you can start to focus on whether the school is a good fit for you athletically. Research the school’s history in their conference.

Find out how long they have been in their current conference. Also find out if there has ever been talk of the school making a transition into another conference or making a transition in divisions. If you know about any of these rumors before your official visit it will help. Then turn your focus to your specific sport. Find out the history of the team; how successful have they been in the past ten years? Have there been any scandals or NCAA violations? What is the team graduation rate? Who is the head coach and what were his past positions?

All of these will directly affect you while you are attending the university, knowing the answer to these questions will allow you to make an educated official visit.

 

Once you are on your official visit remind yourself that you are being recruited. This is an obvious but sometimes forgotten fact that allows student athletes all over the country to make the wrong decision. The coach is going treat you like you’re the greatest thing to happen to the school in its history. Your guide will be the player on the team that the coach thinks is the best recruiter for his program. You will eat at the best restaurants, stay at the nicest hotel, and see the most beautiful parts of the prospective campus and city. Everyone you meet on campus is going be the nicest person you have ever met. These are all signs of good recruiting so expect the special treatment.

 

Don’t just sit back and take the ride, while staring deep into the smoke and mirrors. Don’t just focus on a night of college partying. That is what they want you to do. Take control of your recruiting trip. Walk the campus without your guide and find out how everyone really is. Find out where the department you want to study is located on campus so to make sure it isn’t the most prehistoric building on campus.

Request a meeting with the athletic director and ask him tough questions about their loyalty to the current conference and current division. Locate the freshmen from the previous year and talk to them one on one about their personal experiences. Find the walk-ons and graduating seniors who have no reason to deceive you, about the experience. In the end you want to make an educated decision about where you are going to attend school; instead of an emotional one.

 

Here is a list of questions to ask while on your trip.

 

Questions for coach:

What is your goal for me as a student athlete in your program?

Can I study anything that I want to pursue?

How many players have you graduated since you have been at this school?

What degrees have your last 10 graduates had?

Have you had any players leave your program unhappy in past four years? Why?

How can I be successful here at your school?

What position will I play?

What type of summer commitments will I have?

Will I be allowed to go home and see my family during the holidays?

What style of game do you play?

How would I earn playing time on your team?

How long have you been at this university?

What would be a reason why you would leave this university?

How many players are there in my position?

 

Questions for players:

Have you ever been asked to drop a class or change your major because of athletics?

Where or who do you get assistance with school from?

How many guys came in with you your freshman year?

How many are still here?

What is the earliest practice that you have ever had?

What is the hardest practice you have ever had?

Who is your favorite coach on the staff and why?

What is your least favorite thing about the university?

What is your least favorite thing about the program?

What is your least favorite thing about the head coach?