With Northwood becoming 3A for the 2013-2014 school year, questions are being asked about the amount of exposure student athletes will get because of the increase in population and competition.
Athletic director Jason Amy thinks the quality of the athlete is more important than the size of the school.
“If you have a woman golfer who is hitting roughly a 76-77 average, the school size does not matter,” he said. “If you have [a school with] a large amount of people that are doing well, you will get more recognition and more [athletes] to look at.”
Students have a different perception than coaches. Freshman Shontai Totten believes that senior basketball player Shelby Wolfe deserved more recognition than she received from colleges, and attributes her lack of exposure to the size of Northwood.
“I feel like [Wolfe] should go to a D1 college if you ask me,” Totten said. “[She wasn’t recognized] because we go to a small school in the middle of nowhere.”
Boys’ basketball coach Russ Frazier believes that the size of Northwood is not the factor that will build exposure, but the school’s proximity to universities and the competition Northwood will face by going 3A, will grant student athletes a higher chance of being seen by college recruiters.
“Exposure is something that is granted to people by their location,” Frazier said. “The closer you are to metropolitan areas, the closer you are to universities. I think in the case of Northwood, we are close to some universities and I think that’s an advantage to us. I also think that going from the conference we are in now to being with more competitive schools will help us more with exposure.”
Amy attributed the high number of scholarships that Northwood student athletes received last year to the success of Northwood’s overall athletic teams, which he believed was weaker this year than last.
“Obviously, with the success of a team, you’re going to get more recognition, so that’s why I think a lot more kids got scholarship opportunities [last year], just because we had a better sports season,” Amy said
Frazier agrees that individual athletic success does not guarantee college recruitment. He also believes that one way for Northwood athletes to promote themselves to colleges and separate themselves from students who attend larger high schools is to outperform those students in academics.
Football coach Bill Hall thinks that despite the beliefs of many student athletes, the recruiting process starts as early as freshman year.
“They will play around their freshman year and their GPA gets really low and then they’re playing catch up,” Hall said. “I have college coaches come in all the time that want to see kids as freshmen and sophomores as well as juniors and seniors.”
Mike Cragg, senior associate athletic director for Duke basketball, says that the recruiting process can begin early, but said that talent is the main factor for recruiting, and that school size or location has virtually nothing to do with the amount of exposure student athletes receive.
“No matter where a kid comes from, no matter if it’s a small town or big city, if they are talented enough they will get discovered in this day and age, especially with basketball,” Cragg said. “School size isn’t really the important part; it honestly just depends on talent.”
–By Madison Roberts