Blue Chip Athlete

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by USAFA2019DAD, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. USAFA2019DAD

    USAFA2019DAD JJB6596

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    I've read on this site about prospective student/athletes at the Academy being selected as "blue chip" recruits. Can anyone tell me more about that designation and what it means in terms of how it might affect the admissions process? Thanks.
     
  2. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    it means the standards can be waived (test scores, GPA, Rank) to a certain extent. For example if you have a 550 SAT verbal and the minimum standard is 600 the coach can go to the english departmant and ask for a waiver. I don't think it is rubber stamp it is up to the department head, because at the end of the day you still have to be able to handle the academics. It may also help with getting and AD nomination if needed. This is all I know I am sure others have much more to add.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Ummmm, it's not EXACTLY how you put in there texas. I admit, that when the academy finds a very promising athlete, they will most definitely do what they can to get them in. But standards are NOT WAVERED. You have to realize that the average Academy appointee has scores WAY ABOVE the standards. But the athletes are NOT WAVERED to go below those standards. They may get an LOA from the athletic department, that gets them an appointment with ANY nomination. They can even get some nominations. But those athletes most definitely meet the minimum standards the air force academy has set up.

    Now, Blue chip, which is similar to most colleges, is the same at the academy with a couple of twists. In normal recruiting, you have Blue chip and walk-ons. Blue chips are ON THE TEAM. They probably have a scholarship. Walk on's MIGHT be on the team. And they MIGHT get a scholarship. Maybe it's a combination where they are on the team with no scholarship for the first couple years.

    Now, with the academy, there are no scholarships. But, the academy does allow walkons. They do this immediately following Basic Training. (Unless it's a Spring sport, and they have it later). Those who are BLUE CHIP are ON THE TEAM. Those who aren't blue chip, and want to try out for the team, can go and try and be a walk-on.

    Now, one difference with the academy compared to the regular colleges. Lets use football as an example. An average college team will recruit approximately 18 athletes per year on scholarship. Sometimes it's a combination of MORE than 18 with PARTIAL scholarships. Point is, they are paying these kids to go to their school and play ball. They definitely are going to play them. Because as long as the kid doesn't get in trouble, they can't take away his scholarship. So why give a scholarship to someone you're going to keep on the bench. The academy, doesn't have scholarships. SO, they recruit approximately 50-60 BLUE CHIP PLAYERS for football. Walk-on are slim to not at all. Now, by the time the first season is over, (Because there is not such thing as a red-shirt year), the coach will have eliminated about 15-20 of those 50-60. They still are at the academy, go to school, graduate, become commissioned officers, etc... Just not on the team any longer. By the time spring training is over, that freshman class of 60 is down to about 30-35. By the time the sophomore year is over, that class will be down to about 20-22, which is about what a normal school would have with scholarship athletes. But, because the academy can't get the 350 lb lineman or the 2.2gpa running back who run a 40 in 4sec flat, they have to blue chip QUANTITY and work out the rest in the first season.

    So, that's the difference between blue chip and walk ons and how air force and the academies do it. They do NOT Waiver the standards for athletes. Not going to happen. It just APPEARS that way, be cause the aver gpa of the freshman class is 3.86 while the standard is lower. And the average ACT is 29-30, while the standard is 25-26, etc... Later... mike....

    P.S. My son was a blue chip recruited athlete, but AFTER he already accepted an EARLY November Presidential Appointment. It just meant that he didn't have to "Walk-On" and "TRY-OUT" for the team.
     
  4. Marine75-78

    Marine75-78 Member

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    usafa2019dad - is your student just in 8th grade??????????
     
  5. USAFA2019DAD

    USAFA2019DAD JJB6596

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    Marine 75-78

    Yes, my son is going into 8th grade. He is a track athlete (Discus and Hammer) and he's caught the attention of the coaches at USAFA and USNA with his performances this season. He also has a 4.6 GPA and wants to study aeronautical engineering. Seems like a good fit and just want to find out more about how academics and athletics mesh at the academies.
     
  6. jinsprings

    jinsprings New Member

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    Isn't it also true that most if not all recruited athletes for the USAFA go to the Prep School for a year and then go onto the Academy?
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The prep school is not a farm club for academy athletics. The prep school is designed for applicants who other than isolated academic issues, are prime candidates for the academy. Usually it's say; good GPA, but they bombed the SAT/ACT; or excellent ACT/SAT with good gpa, but they bombed science classes. Is this to say that there aren't athletes in the prep school? Of course there are some. But that isn't the primary goal of the prep-school. In the 2012 class, that my son is in and was also a recruited athlete, only a few of the 50-60 recruited athletes came in from previously attending the prep-school. I think for 2012, there were like 4-5. The overwhelming majority came straight into the academy. Matter of fact, when my son applied to the academy, we thought that the air force prep school might be a good alternative if he did't get an appointment. The academy was quite clear that there was no way in the world that he could ever attend the prep school. His grades, scores, class rank, etc... were way too high.

    Now, I won't lie and say that the academies didn't get in trouble in the past by using the prep-school as a way to get athletes into the academy that normally there was no way in the world that they could have gotten in on their own. But that was a while ago, and they got into a lot of trouble for that.

    Of course both the academy and prep-school are ultimately at the discretion of the academy. And both have certain standards that have to be met. And yes, the athletics department has a certain number of slots for the academy that they get to fill. But those student/athletes still meet the minimum standards. And if those minimum standards aren't met, but they are on the boarder where a little academic assistance can help, then the prep-school might be an option. But to put it in it's simplest form: The majority of prep-school students are not athletes.

    But back to the original poster. Your son, and his grades, seem very good and on track for the academy. If he continues to do well, his athletics will definitely help him increase his chances of getting into the academy. The athletic department is allowed so many slots to fill. And being your son is also doing well academically, he'll have 2 paths to get into the academy. But a lot also depends on his sport. Remember, the academy recruits say 50-60 for football, but not all 50-60 will stay on the team. Eventually, only about 20 will. E.g. this past senior class I think had about 15 football players on it. But when they started, there were about 50-60. But on other teams, they don't get as many people going for their sport, so they tend to keep those on the team. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  8. beaves

    beaves New Member

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    Going into eighth grade? Knows what he wants to study? I would advise letting him enjoy the rest of middle school and then high school before thinking about college...especially college athletics. I bet he'll have a lot more fun that way. Can coaches start recruiting in the 7th grade?...
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Because the academies don't actually give out college scholarships, even in athletics, there really isn't anything against NCAA rules to stop an academy from speaking with prospective students. However, the academies aren't stupid. At younger ages, they are meeting these kids through normal fairs, community events, open house, etc... Word of mouth, newspapers, etc... There are different coaches who double as recruiters for different parts of the state. So they keep abreast with the local papers and news on high school athletics. Not saying that a junior high school teacher couldn't contact schools about an 8th grade athlete, but the academy, as well as most colleges/universities, realize how many times a teenager will change their ming between 8th-12th grade. Exactly 25,326 times. (I counted). So, they like to keep these individuals in their list for future contact. They'll send them the occasional invitation for special events and normal greetings. Around 10th grade, they'll be re-reviewed for their grades and interests, and they'll see where it goes from there.

    Sounds like your son is developing "OPTIONS". That is the greatest thing a parent can give and/or teach a child. Have options. If a child decides they WANT to work at the Mini-Mart, and work their way up the corporate chain, and own a few of the franchise some day, then more power to them As long as they are choosing Mini-Mart because they WANT to, and not because they HAVE to; because they have no other options. The ultimate goal for your son, and you as his parent, should be that come the beginning of his senior year, that he has applied to at least 5 colleges/universities that he REALLY WANTS to attend, and that he has been accepted to ALL of them. Next, that his grades and/or athletics have been stellar enough to receive as many scholarships as possible. If your son can have the option to go to 5 different schools, all of his choice, then that is the best you could ever ask for. Even if he says he wants the air force academy now; or ANY particular school, don't let him only strive for that one. A lot of things change in a young person's life. I don't care if he is somehow given a 100% guarantee to go to the academy or a particular school; make sure he applies to at least 5. Make sure they are ones HE would like to attend. You just never know what the future holds.
     
  10. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Oh yes there is!

    The D-1 SAs are a part of the NCAA and follow the same recruiting rules that govern the other institutions except in one case - they are allowed to make contact a little earlier than a non-SA due to the nomination process.

    You may want to review the official NCAA & USAFA rules and regulations regarding recruiting, boosters, and allowable contact with prospective student-athletes.

    US Air Force Academy - NCAA Compliance

    NCAA Recruiting Rules

    For instance, if Christcorp has donated any money to the USAFA athletic department or any USAFA sports booster organization, he is considered a booster. If he has any contact (written, oral, face to face, etc) with a prospective student athlete, he (and the USAFA) is in violation of the NCAA rules overseeing contact with prospective student-athletes.
     
  11. USAFA2019DAD

    USAFA2019DAD JJB6596

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    Christcorp:

    I couldn't agree with you more about OPTIONS. That is exactly what I want my son to have-as many options as possible. I just want to expose him to what is out there in terms of colleges and universities. Right now he wants to study aeronautics and work for the AF. I understand that his desires could change tomorrow. But, I feel that its incumbent that I inform him about all the great options out there. USAFA just being one of many. Ultimately its going to be his choice.

    As for Beaves: I don't think there is anything wrong with a 13-year-old knowing what he wants to study. I knew at 13 that I wanted to be an attorney and now I am a superior court judge. Guidance from my parents at young age made my goal a reality. If I "let him enjoy" middle school and high school (which I plan on letting him do) "before thinking about college" then his ability to go to a service academy will have passed him by. So, I think I'll pass on that bit of advice. And yes, colleges can recruit in junior high. My daughter plays Division I volleyball now and received her first college inquiry in 7th grade--it is how things are done nowdays.
     
  12. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    Christcorp, not exactly.:wink: Coaches are allowed to speak with prospective recruits about a year earlier Summer between SO/JR year vs July 1 of Pre senior year for regular schools. This is because the process and nominations have to start much earlier than regular schools. But they are under the same recruiting rules as regular DI schools and a recruiting trip paid for by the academy counts as one of the students 5 allowed visits.
     
  13. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    DIvision I, II schools cannot recruit in jr high. Any coach initiated contact other than an informational letter is a violation. Parents my contact the coach and the coach is allowed to email back or send an information packet. They are allowed to look at prospective students but any discussion if forbidden.

    As a dad whose has gone though the process with a top 20 recruit, I would say relax and let it happen don't worry about recruiting until soph year at the earliest. It will happen when it needs to and you have plenty of time. The landscape will change much (especially with the new conference alignments) between your son's 8th grade year and recruiting time, don't add pressure.
     
  14. USAFA2019DAD

    USAFA2019DAD JJB6596

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    TexasRocks

    Believe me, I'm not adding any pressure to my son. We are taking this all very slow. According to the NCAA rules, an individual does not become a "prospective student-athlete" until the first day of the 9th grade year. That is when college coaches must curtail their contact of SAs. At that point, coaches can only send out questionnaires and information on their school's camps. Once the individual becomes a junior, the school's contact can increase (i.e. emails and recruiting packets). Up until that first day of their freshman year in HS, the coaches can talk to anyone who isn't considered a "prospective student-athlete" pursuant to NCAA rules. That is what been done in my son's case.

    Believe me, I'm sure the coaches at USAFA and USNA know what they're doing and would not knowingly violate any recruiting rules.

    All I was trying to do by my initial post was to get some information about athletics and the academies. Thanks to those responders who helped out with my initial question.
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Texas and Luigi; you are totally correct about the NCAA. However, without scholarships involved with the academy, they can use many other methods of speaking with prospective applicants. They just don't have to do it through the athletics department. Now, to be completely honest, if you've got this 4-5 star athlete, with a 2.7 gpa, and the air force, army, or navy is talking to them, then you better watch, because the NCAA will be on their a$$. However, it's not hard to communicate with the 3.5+ gpa student if you're one of the academies. I never said they didn't have ANY rules. They most definitely do. I've filled out enough NCAA paperwork. But because the academy doesn't officially recruit athletes, there's just different ways to keep in contact with an interested applicant.
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My sons were both "blue chipped" athletes, but since they were recruited for (hold your breath now) fencing, they still had to "try out." I don't think there was much debate over them making the team, but they still had to go through the try-out process.

    There was nothing waived nor any standards lowered for my sons, though of course, fencing is not a revenue sport. But, they did receive the early LOA's, which made decision making here a much easier go.

    To the OP: I would not push too hard for any school or program, service academy or civilian school, or even for a major at this point in your child's scholastic career, particularly if there are athletics involved. I'm not saying your kid isn't a genius and an Oympian to boot, but many many MANY things will change between now and three or four years from now.

    NCAA rules: I know the fencing coaches knew exactly when and how to contact my kids and they violated absolutely no rules regarding the NCAA recruiting prohibitions and regulations. Still, the PARENTS should know the rules too, and it wouldn't hurt if the kids themselves were up on such things. Lots of things can get sticky and you don't want to have a problem in regard to athletics when you are choosing between a service academy and State U.
     
  17. beaves

    beaves New Member

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    As for Beaves: I don't think there is anything wrong with a 13-year-old knowing what he wants to study. I knew at 13 that I wanted to be an attorney and now I am a superior court judge. Guidance from my parents at young age made my goal a reality. If I "let him enjoy" middle school and high school (which I plan on letting him do) "before thinking about college" then his ability to go to a service academy will have passed him by. So, I think I'll pass on that bit of advice. And yes, colleges can recruit in junior high. My daughter plays Division I volleyball now and received her first college inquiry in 7th grade--it is how things are done nowdays.


    I didn't say there is anything wrong with knowing what you want to do, that's great. But, you're not your son. Guidance and pressure are two totally different things, and I hope you don't confuse them. The time will come to worry about college, and I would take the advice to let him enjoy MIDDLE school before worrying about college. High school is the time to prepare and start exploring options. I am only speaking from my experiences and knowledge, but if I was worrying about where I was going to college in the eighth grade, I would have spent a whole lot more time on that, then preparing for what was going to get me into college. Fun and preparation can both be accompanied my each other. If he really wants to attend a service academy, he will find a way to do so.

    And I would just refer you to Luigi59 and Texasrocks for your recruiting policies. Seems like they know what their talking about...
     
  18. Bundy

    Bundy Member

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    Like fencersmother, our son was also a blue chip fencing recruit. The impression we were under was that as long as his grades, test scores and the rest of the "total person" factors the Academy normally looks for met USAFA standards that his talent in the sport would make him a priority candidate for an appointment. This essentially turned out to be the case since he received an LOA fairly early - last November if I recall. Since he really wanted to go to the Academy all along, this definitely helped him formulate his plan B college plans.

    While I suppose others could view the blue chip process as special treatment, our son worked EXTREMELY hard in his sport to put himself in this position. We had no idea that when he began fencing at the age of 10 that it would help him attend USAFA. At that age, that possibility wasn't even on our radar. He was just doing what he loved.

    Like most other things in life, effort = results. Congratualtions to each class of 2014 appointee on your own unique resume of accomplishments that earned you your appointment.
     
  19. firmament

    firmament Member

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    In response to the statement in bold above:
    No, it isn't how it is done. You can shop your kid around and chat up as many coaches as you want, but coaches don't tend to break the NCAA rules for anyone. We had a family friend whose relative (very big name NCCA Division I coach of a successful team) came to several of our then junior high aged children's games and at one point he told the kids that he wouldn't be shooting the breeze with them anymore because it might be viewed as an NCAA rules breach. Now, let me say that again, in junior high they were told the contact would seize so that there would be NO QUESTION of impropriety when the time to recruit came about. And the time did come about and my now grown child was recruited. That's how it is done in the NCAA world. And like things happen in the NCAA world, the coach switched colleges during said recruits senior year. We received a head's up before the news hit the headlines the next morning. Our recruit could follow the coach or stay at the school. Opted for the school and didn't look back.

    At the AFA you can be a blue chip recruit, but as we all know, at a school like this you need more than good looks and athletic prowess to make it in the door. And someone should break it to you now, that in most sports at the AFA you ARE trying out whether you were "blue chip" or a walk on. All spots on any team are up for negotiation at a Service Academy. There is not an athletic scholarship to lose, coaches don't have to account for money spent on the athlete if you don't make the cut, keep the grades, or chose not to continue in the sport once you get there. Your athlete might be the best thing to happen to his sport since sliced bread, but at the AFA the mission is simple: you are at USAFA to eventually serve your country - no small feat - not to play ball.
     
  20. tcollins15

    tcollins15 New Member

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    I have never posted before, and have utilized this site for a great deal of valuable information through the years--I do however feel compelled to post on the comments regarding Blue Chips and admission to the academy.
    Firstly, No roster spot is ever guaranteed at USAFA--even for a "blue chip" athlete. In addition, while we would all like to think otherwise, admission accommodations ARE made for IC's. My son (now a grad) was recruited for a revenue sport at USAFA. He was also recruited at other top notch universities. While he is very bright (and received a 33 comp on his ACT's) his GPA at his very competitive HS was less than stellar. In fact he fell well below USAFA's minimum and the middle to lower 50% of at least 3 other top notch universities vying for his services. The USAFA coach adhered rigidly to all NCAA guidelines, however, I can tell you that his GPA was NEVER an issue. He was reassured that if he stayed the course and finished his senior year "in the same condition he started it," he was assured a place in the incoming class. He received his LOA long before he received his congressional nomination.
    He had multiple special "privileges" following acceptance--was able to stash electronics and his phone in his IC locker and received multiple passes. He missed training and beat sessions and got to play the game he loved.
    Bottom line is that IC's ARE treated differently--very differently--from recruitment to whom they eat with.
    My son graduated this spring--he made a difficult decision early his sophomore year--as it became apparent that he would be a bench contributer
    he chose instead to focus on his very large academic challenges. He left the team and concentrated on the very large academic gaps still obvious from high school.
    When he threw his hat at graduation, we were all thankful that his athletic ability afforded him a chance. At the end of the day though HE is the one who turned that chance into success.
     

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