Recruiting Lesson: Character and Scholarship both count, more than you realize. @minguabeefjerky @PrepSpin @MaxPreps @1776Bank (Featured Photo: from the New York Post, three University of New Hampshire players arrested post-brawl)

‘Athletes should have character, not be Characters,’ John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood.

First of all, we would be remiss around the magazine if we failed to comment on the “elephant in the room.” Merry Christmas to all of our subscribers and regular readers.

From time to time, apart from the features we regularly publish, we run articles about recruiting. We know quite a bit on this particular topic as our staff has numerous former football parents who have, themselves, successfully navigated the waters from offseason to in season to camp and combine season to offer, to commitment, then finally to signing day.

The Wizard of Westwood

We want to focus on two aspects today which get overlooked. Matter of fact, many of you prospects around the commonwealth give this little attention at all.

Many of you appear to believe your athletic prowess will be sufficient to overwhelm and obliterate these two aspects of schools selecting additions to its student-body and football programs. You couldn’t be any more wrong. Don’t find this out too late to correct.

We are talking about two particular things known as citizenship and scholarship. In short, what kid of character you demonstrate and how you do academically.

I was talking to Mr. Ricco Hughes one day. Ricco is the Kentucky Director of the Future Stars program. He is also a former sports agent now turned real estate mogul.

Ricco told me he had kids trying to get next level who don’t have NCAA ID’s and haven’t submitted their transcripts to the NCAA Clearinghouse. He told me he had kids out making campus visits without either the GPA and/or test score to insure admission to the schools they are busy visiting and from whom they are soliciting offers.

“How are schools going to offer this prospect when the school doesn’t know it can get him through admissions(?),” Hughes asked us. Good point. Do any of you know the answer to this?

Unfortunately, for so many yearly across Kentucky, the answer is…they won’t.

Ask yourself these questions if you are going through the recruiting process. What are the admission requirements for the schools recruiting you? What GPA is generally admitted? What is the test score on either the SAT or ACT considered “good enough” to make admission more likely than not?

Is the school “test optional,” meaning the report of the test score is at the applicant’s election? What score should you report? What score should you opt-out of reporting?

Show of hands, how many of you have already applied to the NCAA Clearinghouse for NCAA ID numbers assuring schools you meet minimum NCAA established criteria for admission? How many of you have registered with the NAIA’s Eligibility Center? How many of you have ever heard of either entity?

This really isn’t meant to be a solicitation for business. However, if the above sounds like Greek to you, you might hit the link and engage us about obtaining the assistance of our consulting services.

It is right there in the wording for the scholarship side of the “football scholarship” equation. It is called an athletic scholar-ship. The word itself is defined as “A grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.”

Now that I have read you all the riot act about scholarship, which I am sure you have all before heard, let’s look at character. When a college coach contacts your high school, one of the first things about which said coach will inquire is what kind of citizen the proposed prospect is.

These schools are about to invest quite a bit of resources in each of these athletes. The last thing they need is to lose those resources on a bad investment.

Students who come to college, violate the law, get arrested and have their images (and the University’s brand) negatively splashed across area media sites do incredible damage to the school’s bottom line. It costs the program that spot, together with any and all other associates a “bad actor” was able to enlist on this frolic and detour which has now evolved into a full-blown, regrettable, life altering public relations disaster.

Colleges try to vet these types out on the front-end. They try to cull the bad apples from the rest of the barrel initially, not just once the apple has begun to both spoil and spread its ruin throughout the barrel.

We hear stories about prospects chewing out coaches on the sideline, taking themselves out of games for selfish reasons, and parents giving staffs the business outside of locker rooms, post game, over some perceived slight. I know people believe the son’s talent will transcend both character flaws or academic issues, but people believing that couldn’t be more wrong.

Here’s the truth. There are maybe 50-75 players, across the country, so good at football the college will “take a chance” on the kid regardless of the kid’s character and/or grades. Are you nationally ranked in either the Rivals, 247Sports.com, or ESPN 300 among the top 50-75 prospects in your graduating class? We aren’t referring to the positional rankings, we mean overall!

If you are, you can probably just skip this entire article. However, if you aren’t (and, by the way, Kentucky has exactly zero prospects ranked this high in the ’22 class and haven’t in several years), you might need to hear this.

Dany Key, Kentucky’s highest rated member of the ’22 class; nationally ranked 235 on the composite rankings

YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH TO ACT LIKE A JACK-ASS. YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH TO STRUGGLE ACADEMICALLY AND STILL GET ADMITTED BECAUSE YOU ARE A PRIZED FOOTBALL RECRUIT.

Let’s say you are a college recruiter. Prospect A has a GPA which is above 3.0 and a registered test score of 20. He’s already been cleared by the Eligibility Centers for both the NCAA and the NAIA and he’s really good at football.

Prospect B is a little better than Prospect A. However, though better, the difference is marginal and Prospect B has a 2.0 in high school, has an ACT of 14, hasn’t been cleared by either Eligibility Center, and was picked up a week ago for shoplifting “Little Debbie” cakes from the local IGA.

Your school’s tuition is $30,000 per annum. The University is going to come to the football office expecting a check this coming Fall term for $750,000, representing the 25-signees multiplied by the per annum tuition.

If the school can’t get Prospect B admitted, or (worse yet) the school admits Prospect B because “football needed him” and he steals a TV from the football administrative offices during pre-Fall camp and gets kicked out after the Fall term’s money has been paid but before Prospect B could contribute to a single game, then what? Just eat the $30,000?

Most program’s budgets can’t consistently take a hit like that. Programs unable to take such a hit extend through all levels of competition, FBS included.

Which prospect are you going to feel better about offering? I mean, the athletic difference between A and B is marginal at best. Wouldn’t a school be better served spending the money on a “sure thing.”

Of course it would. That university is also going to feel that way…trust us.

We really aren’t guessing. Just thought we would give all of you out there a “word to the wise.”

This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!

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