Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cheering at D II

Earlier last year, the NCAA launched the "I chose Division II" campaign. The campaign uses a hexagon for its framework, six "sides" of a DII student athlete — Passion, Balance, Resourcefulness, Service, Learning and Sportsmanship.


At NSU, many student-athletes were recruited by Division I schools, but they ultimately chose DII NSU because they can still play their sport, but can also be a common student.


A significant percentage of high school student athletes would love to cheer at a DI school. Plus, with college-athletic specific networks such as ESPNU, CSTV and the Big Ten Network showing college sports around the clock, our obsession with DI sports is greater than it has ever been.


As a result, DII always has been looked upon as a "back-up."


Some student-athletes choose a DII school because they did not receive any DI offers, but they still want to continue cheering.


And there's nothing wrong with that. It's better to cheer at a lower division than not cheer at all. But here's the thing — for some high school student athletes, DII is not the last resort.


Along with cheering at a Division I university comes high expectations, a huge time commitment, and a lot of pressure from alumni, faculty and fellow students.

No, Division II sports aren't the last option. For a lot of people, it's the first.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What do college coaches look for?

What do college coaches seek in high school cheerleaders?

If a cheerleader is talented, a college coach will find them. If they are good enough, there will be many coaches on all levels who want some of their attention.

But talent only is one element in the equation. An athlete's makeup, character and interpersonal relationships with teammates, parents and coaches speak volumes.

And there is one thing that stands out above all else.

If you're a lazy student, then why would anyone want to take you as a player? There is no reason for you not to work hard and work smart. You have to ask if you're a leader or a follower. There are plenty of followers in the classroom.

There are certain steps each player must take to be qualified to cheer at the college level. They include graduating high school, taking core courses in math, science and English, and earning strong ACT and SAT scores.

Some cheerleaders feel it is important to visit colleges during their Junior year, but don't take them unless you're serious about the school. Don't waste your time, your parents' time and the school's.

Another avenue is for athletes to scope out rosters on the Web and project who may be there to see if there is a spot for them.

A player must find the right fit.

College coaches know that lazy students make for lazy cheerleaders. Off-the-field stuff matters. I'll do my homework. I'll talk to as many people as I can to find out what kind of a person the cheerleader is.

I'll show up to their high school practice. I'll see who was the first out of their car, who was the last in after practice.

Cheering in college is the best for teaching resiliency. It's not going to be easy.