Recruitment Metting is Held at Wheaton HS to Inform About Scholarships for Student Athletes

Many parents and students think they know how college athletics and recruiting work, however, there are many components that influence a player’s likelihood of getting an athletic scholarship and being recruited.

MCPS held an athletic recruiting seminar at Wheaton HS March 19 through the company Dynamic Sports called “Guiding the College-bound Athlete.” It was hosted by Mark Chmielinski, who coaches college football at the University of Pennsylvania and Union College. The purpose of the seminar was to inform parents about scholarships, financial aid, and recruiting and eligibility requirements.

To begin the seminar, Chmielinski highlighted the importance of academics in both the college admission process and recruitment. He emphasizes how every tenth of a grade point average can affect a student’s admission. “It doesn’t matter how far you run or how high you jump, if you can’t read or write, you’re not going anywhere,” Chmielinski said.

According to Chmielinski, there are two competing athletic associations that offer scholarships to athletes: the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NAIA contains two divisions; however, Division I in the NAIA is equivalent to Division II in the NAIA. Both organizations offer scholarships but the NAIA typically offers more aid than the NCAA, Chmielinski said.

Chmielinski notes that schools across the nation spend millions of dollars in recruiting athlete but according to the NCAA, only 2 percent of athletes receive athletic scholarships to compete in the association. Although “getting scholarships for division one schools are rare,” Athletic Director Michael Hayes said, a few RHS alumni in the past have succeeded. Last year, Kayla Johnson received a scholarship to play Division I volleyball at Providence College.

Sophomore Hazel Carmona hopes to one day get an athletic scholarship and she is taking the necessary steps to get there. The starting point guard of the Lady Rams basketball team has attended several showcases and played in tournaments in Canada and Pennsylvania. “Getting an athletic scholarship will enable me to go to school for free and also play the sport I love,” Carmona said.

In order for athletes to choose the right school, they can set up unofficial and official visits with different colleges. Unofficial visits can happen anytime and athletes can start as early as fourth grade. On the other hand, athletes are limited to three official visits with a school. Athletes can include newspaper articles, highlight DVDs, and awards in their application to better market their talent.

It is important to note that there is no such thing as a four year scholarship, since athletes must reapply every year. Athletes who are recruited to a school have the opportunity to sign a letter of intent which binds them to the school for a year. However, if athletes are not completely sure of their commitment, they can verbally commit to one school and later revoke that commitment.

As Chmielinski ended the seminar, he said, “It is important to set goals for yourself, choose the right level for yourself and be sure you’re on track academically.”