The following is an excerpt from the USA Today High School Sports Recruiting Column by Ross Hawley on August 25, 2017.
Are you a high school athlete – or the parent of one – looking to play a sport in college? NAIA President & CEO Jim Carr has advice to help ease the recruitment process.
Q: What would you like high school student-athletes to know about the NAIA and its member schools?
The NAIA provides a truly high-caliber experience for student-athletes. It’s critical for high school kids to realize the potential opportunities that exist at NAIA institutions. Our Champions of Character program provides our student-athletes with the development needed to succeed at life.
Q: What are some of the key differences between the NAIA and the NCAA?
The extensive rules and regulations that exist at the NCAA can affect how a coach recruits, or even builds a team. Our focus is to be flexible and autonomous in supporting out schools. It’s our belief that more time spent with coaches is a good thing. That’s what creates a ripe atmosphere for winning and success.
Q: Talk about scholarship and financial assistance opportunities at NAIA institutions.
Last year, we gave out $600 million in scholarships and financial aid to roughly 65,000 student-athletes. Know what’s out there and what’s available in terms of financial aid and let it motivate you.
Q: What advice do you have for high school students looking to play in college?
A: Focus on getting to know the institutions. When coaches are recruiting you, they’re focused on learning as much about you as possible. Take that same approach with the programs that are recruiting you. Do your research and learn. Then visit the schools that make the most sense for you. Walk the campus and see the facilities. Sit in on a class, meet with the coaches and players. Get a feel for what your day-to-day life would look like as a student and as an athlete.
Q: How will being a college athlete change a young person’s life?
A: There are opportunities presented to you only once in a lifetime. Being a college athlete is one of those opportunities. I strongly encourage every young man and woman to take full advantage of playing at the next level, if they’re given the chance. You’ll truly develop in ways you can’t understand until you look back, years later.
You can check out Jim’s entire interview here. What advice do you have for high school athletes going through the recruitment process?
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