Ask any college softball coach the question, “Do you like to recruit softball players who are also great students?” and you will find the only thing that all softball coaches can agree on.
Yes, college coaches love to recruit great students.
1. It’s free money, sort of.
Academic scholarships that are awarded based wholly on academic success do not count against a teams athletic scholarship total. A player gets the financial benefit of the scholarship but the coach still has the additional softball scholarship money to give to another player. The proverbial win, win situation.
2. Success breeds success.
Players who are strong enough in the classroom to earn an academic scholarship are also highly likely to be successful students at the college level. This means the college coach has one less player to worry about staying eligible to play.
3. Good scores for the school, too.
NCAA programs are required to meet academic standards for graduation and retention. Students who are strong enough to earn an academic scholarship are also very likely to give the program a boost in these areas.
4. Good publicity
College administrators and coaches love to celebrate academic success, sometimes almost as much as on the field success. Check the school websites and you will always see stories celebrating awards like Academic All American, National Honor Society and the NFCA All Academic teams. Smart kids earn academic recognition for the team.
5. A boost for the school
Boosters love to support academic excellence. Yes, people love to make donations to support on-the-field success, but the next best place for a benefactor to invest is in the academic support and success of the athletes they cheer for. Most big-time schools are investing greatly in academic success centers for athletes. Great thing to see you name attached to if you are the millionaire alumni.
6. Smart = smart
Smart kids are usually smart players. This is a complicated game. Smart kids are going to have some advantages when it comes to making adjustments, understanding the nuances and helping their team play the game at a much higher level.
About The Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.
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