Myths Of The College Athletic Scholarship

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Almost every parent of a high school sports star dreams of their child earning a major college athletic scholarship.

But, receiving a college scholarship or even nailing down partial financial aid can be a trying experience that tests the patience of coaches, parents and high school students.

There could, however, be help on the horizon to ease the tensions and frustrations of the process.

It will come in the form of a longtime authority on recruiting and scholarships who has been invited to the Rim Country by Payson High School Athletic Director Dave Bradley.

Bob Chmiel, a former Notre Dame recruiting coordinator, is scheduled to present "The Realities of College Recruiting," a program free to the public at 8 p.m. Nov. 29 in the high school auditorium.

Chmiel, who also served as an ESPN sports analyst and has worked under legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Bo Schemblecher and Lee Corso, is associated with Jack Renkens the founder of Recruiting Realities. As the organization's founder, Renkens has written several books on the recruiting process. He says the goal of Recruiting Realities is to educate and motivate coaches, counselors, parents and student athletes in the collegiate recruiting process.

Renkens said he also formed his organization to help erase the large number of myths that surround the athletic recruiting process.

In his presentation to the Payson audience, Chmiel is scheduled to answer queries on the value of academics in recruiting, what avenues are available for student athletes who are not being recruited, and unheard of opportunities available to high school athletes.

He'll also talk about the importance of NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA recruiting standards and how college programs obtain athletes' names and addresses for their initial recruiting.

Chmiel also provides a four-year high school step-by-step process and information on how to research schools that meet an athlete's academic and athletic interest and how to get into their recruiting pools.

Suggestions are also offered on how students can be funded by schools that do not offer athletic-related aid.

Chmiel is slated to provide hints on which camps and clinics to attend to help athletes gain more all-important exposure and how to schedule home visits from recruiters.

Bradley said he hopes Chimel also gets across to parents that there are not many Division I scholarship opportunities available for student athletes from small town Arizona high schools.

In fact, PHS has never had an athlete receive a full ride Division I athletic scholarship.

In 2000, PHS baseball star Bryan Zumbro received a $300,000-plus scholarship to the U.S. Air Force Academy, but it was as a cadet, not specifically as an athlete.

Last year, PHS produced one of its finest football players ever in running back Luke Apfel.

The elusive speedster set a school record for rushing, was named all-region, all-state and voted the most valuable player in the Arizona Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game.

As good as he was, Apfel was only lightly recruited by Mesa Community College.

Apfel eventually enrolled at Northern Arizona University where he walked-on to the football team. He is now a member of the scout team defense.

While Bradley wants athletes and the parents to set their goals high, the reality is that the best scholarship most Class 3A athletes can hope to receive is some type of financial aid in the form of a tuition waiver or books.

PHS first hosted the Recruiting Realities program in 1999 when then athletic director Barry Smith encouraged Renkens to host it locally.

Smith said that he sent several Longhorn coaches to Prescott to hear a Recruiting Realities presentation and they returned to the Rim Country convinced the program contained information that would be valuable to local parents.

Bradley said the program will be especially meaningful this year because PHS has several younger athletes who, in the future, might play on the next level whether it is at a junior college, a NAIA school or at the NCAA level.

Earlier in the Nov. 29 evening Recruiting Realities is presented, the Longhorn football team will hold its annual season-ending awards ceremonies.

Bradley said he is hoping parents of football players can attend the awards program, then go directly to the Recruiting Realities presentation.

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