Student Athletes Get Reality Check

Heidi Maupin, Staff Writer

Last Thursday, former Cal women’s soccer coach Jennifer Thomas came to the Miramonte theater and spoke to student-athletes and parents about what it takes to be recruited by colleges for athletics. Thomas revealed the sobering realities of the Division I, II and III recruiting processes.

Thomas refers to Division I teams as “the bling” of college sports teams. They have the fancy jerseys, team masseuses and big budgets. However, all this glamour comes with restrictions. As a DI athlete, you cannot double major, studying abroad is not an option, and all academic commitments (labs, tests, ect.) must be planned around your sports practices and games. This division offers the most athletic scholarships.

Though only six percent of DI athletes make it professionally, Thomas claims that the joys of being on a college sports team last a lifetime.

“The four years I played at Cal were the best years of my life,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be worth it in the end, it just takes a lot of work.”

Division II schools, such as UC San Diego and Western Washington University, are often a more realistic and viable option for student-athletes. DII athletes can get accepted with lower grades and test scores, and they don’t need to have the same level of commitment as a DI athlete. However, Thomas still suggests that students who are attempting to play on a college team should apply to a Division III school as a backup.

Division III is the largest of the three divisions and also the easiest to be recruited into. DIII athletes have smaller class sizes, and are able to play more than one sport. Though most schools in this division do not offer athletic scholarships, athletes may be able to get a better financial aid package than the average student.

For prospective college athletes, Thomas suggests keeping good grades, applying to a wide range of schools, staying in contact with coaches, taking advice from their college counselors, and meeting all application deadlines.