Making the Academic-Athletic Connection

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To become a successful college student-athlete, the most effective preparation begins in middle school. As eighth graders across the country begin to make high school course selections, parents need to pay close attention to the courses their students are selecting. The transition from eighth grade to high school is critical for student-athletes because the courses they choose for ninth grade impact whether they meet NCAA eligibility standards as a senior. To be eligible to compete in D1 and D2 college athletic programs, students must complete 16 core courses in high school with a minimum 2.3 GPA for D1 and a minimum 2.0 GPA for D2 colleges. The end of middle school begins the academic-athletic connection.

Coaches handle the athletic preparation for sports, but parents can support teens by helping them understand the importance of a sound academic foundation as preparation for college. Meeting NCAA eligibility requirements does not ensure admission to all colleges. Athletic recruitment is a moot point if the prospective student-athlete does not meet the admission requirements for the college.

Budding student-athletes can benefit from parental assistance with developing organization strategies, learning time management techniques, and utilizing study skills while still in middle school. Do not be afraid to set limits on social time in favor of study time. Make comparisons between the way the coach prepares the athletes for games and how you are helping the student prepare for the rigor of high school and college academics. The two are intertwined in the world of the student-athlete.

Need assistance starting the conversation? Visit for the book Organizing from the Inside Out for Teenagers by Julie Morgenstern and her daughter, Jessi Morgenstern-Colon. For interactive ideas on developing study skills, go to