ACADEMICS: YOUR PLAYERS IMPROVE
Similar to showing that your players improve on-field, it’s important to track their academic and off-field improvements as well. Are their GPA’s improving? Can you show position GPA increases and team GPA increases semester-to-semester or year-to-year? Can you increase your number of Athletic Department or Conference Academic Honor Roll honorees? Track and improve these academic numbers for added recruiting power, be just as prideful of these achievements as you are of athletic improvements!
And as you take an active role in their on-field daily activities, you will have to put that same effort into their academic life. You can’t sit back and wait for a call at the end of the semester from their academic counselor telling you that a player is academically ineligible. You have to have weekly (or sometimes daily) check-ins on the academic progress of your position players.
Set up a weekly meeting with your players regularly to have realistic conversations about their academics. Look your players in their eyes and let them know that you are serious and dedicated to their academic success.
– Get a copy of each position player’s class schedule, blocked out on a weekly schedule, so you know where they are at any time of day.
– For at-risk or all players, do daily or random attendance checks by showing up at their classroom before class starts.
– For each player, get a copy of their syllabus for each class they’re enrolled in. Add test dates or paper deadlines to your calendar and check in with them days before to see how they’re preparing and to make sure they’re on track.
– Set up weekly meetings with academic counselors working with your players. Make sure they feel welcome to call you with issues. Make sure academic counselors working with your players have your cell phone number and feel welcome to call you, especially before they become big issues.
– Make sure your team academic counselors know to alert you immediately of any red flags or academic issues with your players
– Be aware of class registration deadlines and procedures. Sit down with your players to discuss registration decisions for the next semester.
– Be sure that you are alerted that day when a player has an unexcused class absence.
AS YOU BUILD YOUR CAREER, MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO HELP YOUR PLAYERS ACHIEVE ACADEMIC GOALS. TRACK TEAM GPA’S, POSITION GROUP GPA’S, PLAYERS GRADUATED, NUMBER OF PLAYERS OVER A 3.0/3.5 GPA, PLAYERS IN GRADUATE PROGRAMS. TRACK ACADEMICS SEMESTER-BY-SEMESTER AND YEAR-BY-YEAR TO SHOW IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE PROGRAM UNDER YOUR DIRECTION.
Acknowledge your players achievements academically, however small they may initially be. Reward the behaviors you want to see repeated and duplicated by other players!
Prepare your new signees for the transition from high school to college. Are they ready for their heavier course load with additional freedoms? Do you have mandatory study hall hours for freshmen and at-risk players based on GPA?
Your players may be unappreciative and fighting it now, but in 10-20 years they’ll appreciate the effort and attention you put into their academics more than anything you will do for them athletically.