Friday, October 7, 2016

Reclassification Maximization & Its Impact on College Scholarships

We have had several hundred parents and players contact since the presentation of our rankings; posing question(s) of their long term value and the relevance thereof as it pertains to high school and beyond. Any parents or player who has committed and dedicated themselves to obtaining a college scholarship through basketball at the middle level; it’s imperative that forethought be given to any and all decisions as they can in some cases directly affect the future success of the player.

First and foremost a lot of things can change during the span of middle and high school; a plethora of changes can also occur in prospects recruitment – no longer is it forgone conclusion as to when a player will finish high school and start college. Gone are the days where prep schools where the only option; though still used, they are part of a much larger machine knowledgeable and canny families are using to secure the athletic and academic futures of their children and to allow them to achieve a free education.

Maximizing the opportunities for a player nowadays can include a series of moves that can allow up to 3 and in some cases 4 extra years to earn a chance to attend college for free. Along with that possibility loopholes have recently been identified in the process of adding players talented enough to the NBA draft without attending college. This is a trend that will only continue to grow with the emergence of Thon Maker and the growing Canadian basketball market which can turn make an American player eligible under the NBAs international eligibility rules. Those situations will be explored in a later article. Finally in all of these options that option still remains at any time for a player to reclass UP a pheromone that we are starting to note at the middle school level more and more over recent years. Those that follow the middle school game closely may know some of the names and the strategies employed by those players and parents.

The three year maximization; using an example of the latest birthdate possible for (ex: September 2nd DOB) a player in the 7th grade could be up to 364 days older than the youngest player/kid in the class. Without reclassification this would by default make said student one of the oldest kids in his “natural class” (approximately 13 years old). That player has the ability to then reclass at the middle school level, which is common places now and remain in the 7th grade again, moving the needle in this example 729 days ahead of the youngest child in the graduating class - a 14-year old 7th grader and then a 15-year old 8th grader.
Karl Towns Jr.

A high school coach walks in the gym to recruit players for his graduating class of BLANK; and he sees and understands that regardless of the age of the potential player; as he has no access to birth certificates - that a player who in this example is two years older than his opponent, is dominating the game, physically more mature, “varsity ready” size wise, more emotionally mature, maybe better leadership qualities than his 12-year old or 13-year old counterpart. More time than not we have seen at this juncture in the recruitment process scholarship opportunity is going to the reclassed player.

Moving onto high school special attention MUST Be paid; The most important academic consideration when reclassifying is the NCAA’s core-curriculum time limitation, from Bylaw A prospective student-athlete must complete his or her core-curriculum requirements not later than the high school graduation date of the prospective student-athlete’s class [as determined by the first year of enrollment in high school (ninth grade) or the international equivalent…]. Graduation from high school or secondary school shall be based on the prospective student-athlete’s prescribed educational path in his or her country.

Isaiah Brisco

This generally means that a prospect must have finished the NCAA’s 16 require core courses by the time he or she finishes high school. This is a strict time-frame that must be adhered to; recently Villanova’s the defending national champions top freshman recruit was deem ineligible – not because he didn’t complete his course work, but the time frame in which it was finished as it pertained to his high school concluding formal classes.

Be aware that there are also rules for student graduating high early that choose not to change that class.

The second opportunity that many basketball players are also taking; is the “old school” additional year at a prep school; creating a 3-year advantage for the player in our example verses the youngest potential player in the class – 20-years old compared to 17-years old. College’s at this juncture must also consider the same physical and emotional measurable as when they being evaluated by a high school coach – but at this juncture experience, gym time, and reps by virtue of sheer numbers comes into play. The prep player in this example has had 1094 days or roughly three years of practice, training, and game play that the youngest in this same scenario has had.

This is the battle and the determination that players and parents must make and what they ultimately have to compete against for a chance for paid education; its each individuals families determination if this playing field is truly level or if THEIR respective child has THEY had the same time and opportunity would THEIR child or player be able to obtain a free education?

The 3rd opportunity arises actually while in college where a player can use a redshirt year. A redshirt year is student athletes may attend classes at the college or university, practice with an athletic team, and dress for play but may not compete in games. Using this mechanism, a student athlete has up to five academic years to use the four years of eligibility, thus becoming a fifth-year senior.

Sticking with this example, assuming the redshirt year took place as a freshman – we have a situation where a 22-year old man would be competing for a scholarship potentially against a 17-year old player. Not only a scholarship but playing minutes and playing time.

If you think you might reclassify, you need to keep more things in mind than the average player/recruit.

· Make sure your academics are in order. Once you change the date you plan to graduate, either earlier or later, your options for “fixing eligibility issues” are reduced quickly.

· Check to see if you are allowed to graduate early or take classes after graduation. The need for tax dollars means some schools limit or prohibit students from graduating early. The lack of tax dollars means classes for students who have graduated are disappearing.

· Complete eligibility requirements in an academically sound manner. Graduating from high school early might seem like a good idea until rushing through school work leaves you ineligible.

· Consider other aspects of high school. Graduating early might mean no prom, no graduation ceremony, or even no senior year. Going to prep school might mean watching friends go off to college while you stay behind.

· Watch your athletic eligibility. Delaying your enrollment for more than a year or graduating early to focus on your sport before starting college can cause you to lose some of your eligibility.

Once the above information is considered, understood, and addressed the final questions becomes simply this…..?

If you could ensure your child a free education valued at $280K or more derived from $20,000 per year at the high school level ($80K total), and $50,000 per year at the college level – simply by having your child reclass or attend a prep school prior to college allowing them to obtain a degree and leave school debt free would you do it?

The potential is present and everyone will not receive a full-ride or any at – but is it a parents responsibility to provide their child every opportunity for success and maximize the available vehicles to provide this chance? If you end of paying for college anyway what have you lost; or have you gained an extra year with your child at home with you to be part of your family, to teach and mold them, and to create memories that will last a lifetime? 

There is no “right” answer as its all depends on the individual family as to what is the best path for their respective child. The purpose of the article is to explain what all players are up against to obtain a college scholarship.

At the D1 level there 347 schools; each year each school has roughly 3 to 4 scholarships available – which tabulates to 1041 to 1388 scholarships available for players. Traditionally the most “sought after players” are your top 200 to 300 ranked players by the various scouting services – with the top 30 attracting your “blue blood” schools and the Top 100 attracting what is considered “high major” interest. There are always out layers but this is roughly how it goes at the Division I level.

Given this knowledge being ranked #126 in any class will give you free education just as position #56, #26, or #6. A player can only get one scholarships and only attend one school. For first generation parents (parents with kids going thru the 1st time) it important to understand the process. Look at the schools that the Top 200 players attended in prior years (go back 10 years) and we are sure that at birth if the doctor told you as parents that your son would have the option to attend some of the schools seen there for free – close to 100% would take it on the spot.

Rankings don’t mean anything prior to high school some say; but ask yourself in the 18-months from the start of the every high school player’s freshman year do YOU think it’s HUMANLY POSSIBLE for the 7 primary high school scouts:

Paul Biancardi, Evan Daniels, Eric Bossi, Jerry Meyer, Adam Finkelstein, Brain Snow, Brandon Clay and a handful of others…..

To independently identify who the top players are, go to watch them play, evaluate them when depending on the school, the player, and the level of competition combined with some playing Freshman, JV, and Varsity basketball are all varied and come to a conclusion?

Is it a sheer coincidence thereafter that their presentation is very similar to the top middle school scouts? Maybe even possibly!!!! They communicate with them directly to get an idea of where to start?

Anytime you see a statement that rankings don’t mean anything ask them the aforementioned question and listen to the reply; as well always checks to see if the source is someone who is ranked themselves or engages in the extensive process of ranking players. People often fear what they can’t conquer and hate what they don’t understand.

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