A Sporting Chance: Jeff Hoffman

  • Monday, March 17, 2014

Jeff Hoffman is a columnist for the Moultrie News. For 33 years, Hoffman has been involved in various avenues of athletics, including scouting and recruiting.

For the past 33 years, I have been involved with athletics as an athlete, coach, scout and recruiter and along the way I have gained much valuable insight that can help you along the road to playing college athletics.

There are many myths and misconceptions with regards to the college recruiting process, my belief is that knowledge is power so here are some facts to assist you and/or your student athlete through the recruiting process.

College athletics are a business

College athletics are a billion dollar business and continuing to grow. It is necessary to approach recruiting in a business manner and mindset. Coaches are paid to win and that is their job. Recruiting is a major aspect of their job that factors into the end result.

The lesson here is utilizing your athletic ability to gain a college degree.

College recruiting is a sport

Sounds a bit silly, but believe it. College recruiting is a sport as much as the sport your student athletes play. Like in all sports, those who prepare well, stay focused and play the game well have a better chance of winning and creating opportunities than those who do not prepare.

Be early

As a coach, I followed this rule and so did my athletes; five minutes early means you're on time, on time means you're late. The college recruiting process is starting earlier and earlier.

We recommend that you begin your planning from freshman year. This does not mean that you need to execute the plan fully, just have the plan in place. Parts of this plan will include your goals, the camps you will attend, choice to play club and what classes you will be taking. Perhaps a special skill requires a trainer or personal coach.

Do not wait until your senior year to start the recruiting process; you will be late to the dance with few partners left.

Academics matter

I am asked constantly what is the best way for my child to get a college scholarship in sports? My answer is simple, “Make sure they are doing well in the classroom.”

Less than 1 percent of all college athletes receive full athletic scholarships. That means 99 percent receive “packages.” These packages may include some athletic money; however, the majority is based on merit. Academics are extremely important.

Also, the NCAA changed the minimum requirements beginning with the class of 2016. The new minimum is 16 core classes for Divisions I and II and a minimum GPA of 2.3 with 1080 SAT or 93 ACT scores. The SAT and ACT will use a sliding scale based on core class GPA. Core classes consist of classes in Math, Science and English. For a full listing, you can visit www.eligibilitycenter.org.

COACHING POINT: Do well your freshman year in high school; do not get behind the eight ball as it is extremely difficult to turn it around.

Be Proactive

There is a long-standing myth that if you are good enough, college coaches will find you. Although it may happen on very rare occasions, the reality is it probably will not happen. Everyone knows someone or has heard a story of an amazing athlete that should be playing college athletics, but isn't because they did not get recruited. To avoid being that person, you need to be proactive.

There is a lot of competition for only a few precious spots. It is imperative to have a game plan, execute it and be proactive.

Jeff Hoffman is the Founder of Athletic Resource, based in Charleston, S.C. Athletic Resource provides hands-on consulting with families and student athletes to assist them through the college recruiting process. Athletic Resource has saved families millions of dollars towards college education. For more information, call 843-628-2888.

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