If you’re a prospective student-athlete, chances are you’ve been fed an incomprehensible amount of information. Things like how to get yourself in front of coaches, what teams to play for, what showcases to attend.
If I could say one thing to recruits, it’s simple and straight to the point––––
Stop reading this and study.
Yes, I just told you to stop reading this. And yet, you’re hanging on my every word, waiting for the ‘why’ behind it all. I don’t blame you.
You see, it’s very simple. You’ve been fed lies — and lies — and more lies.
“Just do this one thing and you’ll be more prepared for college lacrosse.”
“Come to our event –– college coaches will be there!”
“Have you signed up for our winter indoor league?”
In my experience, we’ve seen too much focus on lacrosse and not nearly enough academic focus amongst college-ready prospective student-athletes.
While your lacrosse ability is important and will ultimately help you make a roster, it won’t pay for college.
As I will break down in an article later this month, there are 802 opportunities to play college lacrosse. Can you guess how many have the ability to give you an athletic scholarship?
That’s 34.9% of all college lacrosse opportunities. That doesn’t even factor in the reality that some programs exist with zero scholarship dollars or minimal scholarship opportunities.
My program at Palm Beach Atlantic University is a NCAA Division II instituion. We do give athletic scholarships. However, I can say with reasonable certainly that I do not believe a student-athlete will ever surpass their academic awards.
At our university, I’ve never awarded a student-athlete less than $10,000 in academic aid. 75% of our recruits receive at least $15,000 in academic scholarships. There are also thresholds at $16,000 and $18,000 for truly elite student-athletes.
For PSAs in Florida, the results can be even more astounding. Hypothetically, let’s look at a package for a student with a 3.9 GPA and a 29 ACT. She’d receive:
–President’s Scholarship ($18,000)
–Florida Bright Futures Academic ($6,930)
–Florida Resident Access Grant ($3,330)
That’s a total of $28,260. If she were to join our honors college, that’s another $2,500, for a total of $30,760. With a cost of attendance near $42,000, that’s a difference of $11,000 or so, prior to any athletic scholarships or FAFSA help. Not bad for a private university in Palm Beach.
Do you see what I mean?
There’s an endless rat race to play for the best club teams and get invited to the best showcases and so on. This is fleeting and it is ridiculous.
You might be the best player at the best event and I might still miss the greatest play you made… all because I was busy digging in my backpack for that ever-so-elusivewater bottle.
I’ll tell you what can’t be missed — great grades and test scores.
Either you’ve got them or you don’t. And while it’s easier to improve your GPA as a sophomore or junior, you can still chip away at every opportunity to make an increase. You never know what might stand between you and that next tier of academic awards.
Remember those 25% of prospective student-athletes that would receive $10,000 in academic aid here at Palm Beach Atlantic? Imagine if that was you and your SAT score was 20 points below the next tier (our Dean’s Scholarship, $15,000). How hard would you work? How many times do you think you’d re-take the test?
You and I would agree ––– it’s probably worth the effort for an additional $5,000 per year. That’s $20,000 over the course of a four-year career. That’s enough to buy a car, start a business, or go to Mexico for a really long time.
Chasing athletic money is lots of work for little gain. You will be more successful by finding the school that packages your academics beyond all others.
If you put in the work academically, it is very hard for us to not take a hard look at who you are. Ultimately, we want you to thrive in the classroom just as you will on the field.
In many ways, your academic success is a predictor of what you do between the lines. If you’re a star in the classroom, we believe that your clear understanding of time management and hard work will extend to the field.
Does that translate into more athletic scholarships for you? Well, I can’t speak for all universities, I simply know my own. If you’ve proven that you are bright and a good steward of your time, talents, and resources–––– yeah, that’s worth more to us.
So that’s it. If there’s one thing I could say to you, recruit, it’s this:
Stop reading this and study.
–Coach Schmidt, Palm Beach Atlantic University