Senior year of high school can be one of the biggest years of a student’s life. It’s the ending of high school but the beginning of a new path. For some students, that new path is beginning an athletic career at a university they committed to spend the next years of their lives.
According to NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) colleges can begin officially recruiting students as early as sophomore year, depending on the sports division of the college and the type of sport. Recruiting can happen face-to-face, over the phone, via emails, or even exchange through social media.
While the offers to students grants them a position on their sporting team, it does not always include a full ride scholarship to the college.
NCAA States that if committing to a division 3 school, a student’s commitment is not valid until the “student-athlete has submitted a financial deposit”.
Mr. James Cook, a coach for the Helix Highlander’s football team, believes that is one of the biggest misconceptions on offers from colleges.
Student-athletes “get so excited when they get any offers,” Cook clarified, “but then realize the offer doesn’t include tuition or really anything.”
Cook explained that the students are basically “paying to play for [ them colleges]” but also claims that any offer “is better than none”.
“Students think it’s all about D-1 but you can do good at any division,” Cook claimed.
NCAA does offer full ride scholarships to Division 1, the highest level of college sports, and also Division 2, meaning the tuition and boarding is fully covered to students who commit.
“I’ve seen more students commit to D-1 schools than D-3 at Helix though,” Cook proudly stated.
The process of committing can take some time and for some, it adds lots of pressure.
“The scouts will ask the head coach for names of best players and for videos,” Cook describes, “then they get in contact with the players, do some talking and after the offer is made it’s pretty much just up to the student.”
For Ezekial Noa, a senior at Helix, it was the official campus visit to Boise State University that helped him make up his mind about committing to there to pursue his passion, football.
Although Noa received offers from 10 other schools, the “good people” of BSU reassured him that was officially where he wanted to go.
“For me when I when I went out there it was good atmosphere,” Noa recalled with a smile, “The big thing was to be around good people and Boise State definitely has a lot of good people.”
Boise State University is located in Boise, Idaho, which is over 950 miles away from San Diego. Even with such a long distance away, Noa feels he’ll be alright with distance, thanks to the football team and coaches.
“There’s a lot of people out there that I feel like I trust already,” Noa said, also adding that his family’s approval of the coaching staff has helped with agreeing to the distance.
Noa was one of four Helix Students who signed on national signing day on Feb. 1, 2017. Two other football players, Evan Perkins and Scott Young also signed their commitment; Perkins to UC Davis and Young to University of Arizona. Devon Molina signed her commitment to Cal Poly Pomona on a soccer scholarship.
Cook has witnessed many of the football players he’s helped coach commit to universities, and believes the best advice for the students is to remember their academics.
“It’s student athlete, not athlete student,” Cook declared.