Recruiting Column: How to lose a scholarship offer in three ways

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.

Most of the time, we talk to kids about what they need to do when trying to earn an athletic scholarship. From focusing on the right schools, to proactively communicating with coaches, a high school athlete really does control much of the positive, when it comes to college recruiting. Unfortunately, a high school athlete controls much of the negative, too. And, that’s worth talking about, too. If you’re a high school athlete looking to play at the next level, pay attention. Because, here’s how you can lose a scholarship offer in three ways. 

1. Social Media

What’s the first thing you do when you want to learn more about someone you don’t know? Well, you look them up on social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or something else, if you want to know more about someone, you turn to social media to investigate. Newsflash: College coaches do the same thing for the kids they recruit! And that includes you. It’s 2019. If a coach sees you as a prospective student-athlete, you better believe they’re pulling their iPhone out to see what they can find. And, if it’s a mess they find on your social media accounts, rest assured, that scholarship offer you were hoping for, just got flushed down the toilet!

2. Being a bad teammate

Do you care more about your stats than your team’s wins and losses? Do you pout on the sideline when you have a bad game, even if your team is winning? Is it always someone else’s fault, and not yours? Listen, if you can say yes to any of those questions, you should be concerned. There’s a saying, “past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.” If you’re past behavior as a teammate wreaks of selfishness and a me-first mentality, you can expect coaches recruiting you to predict you’re not worth the drama. You can also predict you won’t be highly recruited. Despite what you see on Instagram, college coaches aren’t really looking for drama-filled divas to fill their rosters!

3. Bad grades

Ever wonder what being a bad student tells a college coach about you? Well, for starters, it says you will be an eligibility liability. I once had a coach tell me that the worst player on his roster was the player that couldn’t get on the field. If you can’t cut it in the classroom, it doesn’t matter how talented you are; you aren’t going to play! Additionally, being a bad student speaks volumes of your priorities and discipline. If you can’t be trusted in the classroom, what makes you think you’re worthy of being trusted on the field? You won’t be. When physical talent is equal, coaches use academics as the tiebreaker to determine who will be getting the scholarship. Be a student-athlete, not an athlete-student.

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