The Importance of Academics in Recruiting

Updated: March 25, 2009, 9:51 AM ET

The Importance of Academics in Recruiting

By: Bob Chmiel (NCSA Director of Football Operations)

After spending more than 20 years as a Recruiting Coordinator and Director of Football Operations at world class institutions such as Notre Dame and University of Michigan, I have dedicated the last few years of my life to educating student-athletes and families about the college recruiting process. I travel the country teaching student athletes the five things they need to know and the five things they must do in order to be recruited.

Chmiel

*Bob Chmiel is a former Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Coach at the University of Michigan and Notre Dame and is currently the Director of Football Operations for the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA).*

One of the most common questions that parents and student-athletes have is, "How important are academics in the recruiting process?"

The answer is simple.

If I am evaluating two players of fairly equal ability, I separate them and choose my recruit by comparing their transcripts. This is not an embellished statement. It is a reality.

Why are grades so important?

Aside from the obvious eligibility standards set forth by the NCAA needing to be met by potential recruits, the academic standing of a student-athlete can make a resounding statement about their character.

Reviewing transcripts is one component of creating an overall evaluation of a student-athlete and their ability to succeed on campus in every facet.

If I could receive a totally honest response from every recruit, and make the evaluation process more definitive, the one question I would ask is, "Are you reliable?"

Sure, the word reliable is a simple word. However, it speaks volumes about the character of that individual. It correlates to always being on time, taking care of academic responsibilities, having a great work ethic, honesty, adhering to the rules of the institution as well as those of society, and representing the football program and institution in a manner that is a source of pride.

From a coach's standpoint, reliability means that I can trust the student-athlete to do the right things on a daily basis. This also means when you report to the football portion of your day, we can concentrate on the task at hand rather than dealing with issues that have occurred off the field. Coaches do not want to deal with selfish distractions that take away from preparing the individual, as well as the team. With the inception of the 20-hour rule, time has become more valuable than ever.

A fine transcript and good academic performance is a strong sign of reliability. Effort in the classroom displays a pattern of behavior indicating the athlete will be a positive contributor both on and off the field. It does not mean that every straight-A student is an outstanding citizen, but there is certainly a correlation, and as a college coach, it is one of the most important factors we analyze.

Always remember, it is never too late to become a good student. To those in academia or admissions, a student's recent grades are most critical. They are evidence of your current academic trend or mindset. If you were a straight-A student as a freshman and are currently earning C's and D's, those freshmen grades hold little value. They signal a downward spiral that the university does not want to inherit in the near future. A below average or average grade trend in younger years can be overcome by showing evidence of a seriousness in academics at the present time.

The transcript is only one aspect, albeit highly important, of the recruiting process. The transcript not only provides a college coach your GPA and test scores, but offers insight to the reliability of the recruit which is something that should not be taken lightly.

Bob Chmiel is a former Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Coach at the University of Michigan and Notre Dame and is currently the Director of Football Operations for the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA). NCSA, an partner of ESPN Rise, is the premier scouting and recruiting organization for high school athletes and college coaches. To see how NCSA can help you with recruiting, visit http://www.ncsasports.org/see-if-you-qualify/.