I’m packing up the car for another Sports Parent road trip. This one is a repeat. I’m heading back to Ann Arbor, Michigan with my son. College visit? Well no, not exactly, or not officially, or…ok, let me back up. Ever since my son was little there has been a ball in his hands. Even if he couldn’t find a ball he would dribble an imaginary one in the kitchen while brushing his teeth or eating breakfast or reading a book.
So, it should be no surprise that what my son wants to do with his life professionally is play basketball. His entire childhood has been dedicated to it because it’s his dream. The dedication has paid off. Since he was in elementary school there have been whispers about him amongst the fan and coaching communities. Each year the volume cranked up just a little bit more. And now that he is 15 and a sophomore in high school the whispers have become full blown shouts for attention. “Skyler over here!” “Skyler have you thought about our school?” “Skyler take a look at our program!”
Yes, coaches are shouting at Skyler, but they aren’t calling him. They can’t. It’s against NCAA rules. Skyler can’t be actively recruited until June 15, 2014 when he will be a rising Junior. Right now they can watch him in action at NCAA sanctioned tournaments, they can reach out to him through his AAU coach at the Illinois Wolves inviting him to participate in basketball camps on campus, (or attend football games), and they can accept contact from him by telephone, they just can’t call back.
While all of the road blocks? To protect high demand children from being bombarded with offers years before they are eligible, but also in my opinion it is to allow marinating time for those players who may not have fully developed yet, but still may have something incredible to offer the sport in college. Now back to the beginning of my story. I am indeed driving to the University of Michigan this weekend to attend a football game with my son. This will not be an official visit to the University. We are paying for everything except for the 2 tickets to the actual game. (Per NCAA rules we are entitled to 3 tickets and nothing else.) So why then are we going? The short answer is, why not? But the long answer is because one year is not really long enough to evaluate where you want to spend your college career. And I stress the word career. Playing college sports is big business. You need to excel for your self, but the success f your team can dictate whether or not you will be able to make the transition to the Pros. Spending some time, relaxed time taking a look at school environment, getting to know their personnel, understanding their academic and athletic requirements will help to inform my son’s choice Senior year, but even more importantly it will help inform his path to Senior year, brining clarity and focus to his high school experience. What more could a mother want? “Barca lounging bleacher seats!” But that’s another post.
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