Last Wednesday, February 4, was National Signing Day. This is an important day for student athletes because it is the first day that a binding letter of intent can be signed between a senior and a school associated with the NCAA. College sports are a big thing in this country, especially football, so if you are looking for a recap of who was recruited where, look no further than ESPN or a general Google search for “Signing Day 2015.”
The Friday after Signing Day, a tweet hit from Blake Baker, the Defensive Coordinator for the LA Tech Bulldogs. He shared an image highlighting the eligibility changes for 2016. His tweet was a reminder that the rules are different and students should talk to a coach or counselor to make sure they’re on track. So with Signing Day behind us, here are a few things to consider for Signing Day 2016.
1) Check out the NCAA Eligibility Center.
The wonderful thing about living in the world of the Internet is that information is at our fingertips. If you want to know more about participating in college sports and overall eligibility, then go directly to the source: the NCAA Eligibility Center. From a tab dedicated to parents, to information on how to choose a student mentor, the site houses a wealth of information.
2) Online learning is an ever growing part of being a student athlete.
If you are a student athlete, or a school looking to support student athletes, then online learning is most likely something you have considered to balance academics and sports. From one of our earlier blogs we pointed out that “students cannot take less rigorous ‘credit recovery’ versions of online courses, … courses must be facilitated by a qualified teacher who has a substantial instructional role, … [and] courses must have a defined time period for completion.” For a more detailed description of these points, read our piece “3 Things to Know About NCAA and Online Learning.”
3) Stay informed.
As a direct point from Blake Baker, “Make sure you are on track.” This was a direct callout to students. Students, or their families, are not going to know everything about the requirements or the process, but they should actively make it a point to stay as informed as possible. Set up regular appointments with coaches and counselors to check in on your plan, set up an account with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and take ownership—as much as you can—for Signing Day 2016.