More On Those Scarce Athletic Scholarships

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My Jan. 7 Extra Points column was titled “Recruiting Realities Help for Parents, Athletes.”

In it, I wrote “PHS has never had an athlete receive a full ride Division I athletic scholarship.”

Two readers e-mailed to say I was off base.

Jana Wilson wrote that her son, Matt Wilson, received a full ride to attend Northern Arizona University where he now is a member of the Lumberjack football team.

Payson High School teacher Doug Eckhart wrote, “Jimmy Gressley was a PHS athlete and was on a full ride to ASU.”

Where the confusion exists with Matt is that the last time I spoke to him, during his senior year at PHS, I remembered him telling me he had some academic scholarships to NAU as well as an athletic one.

His mother writes, “He did have some academic scholarships before NAU signed him, so the NAU football program did not have to pay it all the first year… but the scholarship is full ride athletic.”

My apologies to Matt, one of the finest young men to ever graduate from PHS.

Regarding Gressley, I realized he was a freshman state wrestling champion at Payson High who went on to become an All-American at Arizona State.

But I didn’t consider Gressley because he did not graduate from Payson High. Midway through his career he transferred to Chandler where he eventually graduated.

But he was a former PHS athlete who eventually earned a full ride.

My goal in writing the article was to help parents and student athletes understand that receiving a full ride athletic scholarship is very, very difficult for a youth who attends a 3A school.

In the early 1980s, while I was football coach at Show Low High School, we had an excellent wide receiver defensive back who set a state record for most receptions in a season. I believe he still holds the record and I thought he was major college material.

But his senior year I could not get a D-1 coach or recruiter to even acknowledge he played the game and he never received a scholarship offer from a D-1 school.

Today, if parents look around the East schools they’ll find plenty of good athletes who are not being recruited.

So, for parents and athletes in small schools, it’s best to focus on avenues other than full rides as a means to get a college education.

Sign up now for youth hoops

The Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is taking registration for the third- and fourth-grade Jr. NBA Youth Basketball program

Registration closes Jan. 21 and costs $30 per child. The games will be played from Jan. 29 through March 12 at the Rim Country Middle School gym.

Also, registration for the town Men’s Basketball League began Monday, Dec. 27 and continues through Friday, Jan. 28. Games will be played at the old gym at Payson High School between Feb. 7 and March 17.

The cost is $250 per team and participants on every team must be at least 18.

Also on the P&R scene, Youth Spring Soccer registration will be held from Feb. 1 through March 18, with play from April 4 through May 14 at the Rumsey Park Multi-Purpose Fields.

The cost is $25 per child and the program is open to children in pre-kindergarten classes through the 12th grade.

For more information, call Trevor LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, extension 7.

WON to debut at Rosie

Western Outdoor News (WON) announced last week it would host a tournament Feb. 12 and 13, 2011 on Roosevelt Lake.

Dennis Pirch and Jim Goughnour, two volunteers who have been asked to help stage the tournament, expect it to attract 100 to 150 anglers.

While the FLW bass fishing organization is relatively well known in the Rim Country because it has hosted two tournaments the past two seasons, WON — a California-based bass organization — is making its first appearance at Roosevelt. WON does host tournaments at other Arizona lakes including Havasu and Mead.

The Roosevelt tournament will be the second on WON’s 2011 circuit that began Jan. 8 and 9 at Lake Shasta, Calif.

Following the Roosevelt shoot-out, other tournaments will be held at Havasu (March 26-27), California Delta (April 16-17) Clear Lake, Calif. (Sept. 17 and 18) and Mead (Oct. 15-16).

The biggie on the WON schedule is the Western Classic Pro Am championships Dec. 3-4 at Lakes Nacimiento and San Antonio in Texas.

Anglers in WON tournaments have the option of competing in either the Pro or AAA division. The entry fee for the pro division is $500 and the fee is $250 for AAA participation.

In the pro division, entrants receive 95 percent pay back. At the Western Classic, both the Pro and AAA winners will receive as prizes fully rigged Nitro bass boats with Mercury outboard motors.

For more information about WON, call Ashley Hartman at (949) 366-0030, ext. 38.

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