Coaches speak out in their own words

Coaches speak out in their own words
June 03
11:17 2021

I am always looking to try new things with the sports section, so when a friend of mine suggested I reach out to coaches to touch on issues in the sports world, I immediately jumped on the idea.  

My goal was to ask coaches questions that deal with issues on the national level, but more importantly, topics that deal primarily with sports in the Triad area. The first question that came to mind was the reclassification of student athletes to gain another year of eligibility in high school.  

The response from some of the area coaches was more than what I expected. I gave the option of remaining anonymous so that more coaches would be willing to speak with me. Some chose to remain anonymous, while others insisted I use their names. Here are a few of the responses to how coaches feel about reclassification of high school athletes.

Christopher Geter, boys basketball coach:

“My view on reclassifying student athletes varies. I believe there are certain situations where reclassifying is a good option. There are only two situations I deem reclassifying is a good option: 1. If that student athlete doesn’t have the GPA or test scores to enter a D1 or D2 college; or 2. If that student athlete has had a serious injury and it hurts his chances of being recruited.

“Now there are some ugly truths that are not publicized about reclassifying. There is no guarantee they will earn a scholarship. Reclassifying is nothing new and it may be quickly reaching a point where it is no longer an effective strategy. Some kids are not built for certain levels of competition. The comp is way more competitive than public schools. Lastly, reclassifying is expensive. Remember, another year of school may mean picking up the tab for tuition at a private or prep school for their senior year and add another year of club sports, camps, equipment, and etc.”

Local coach who chose to remain anonymous:

“On your topic, I used to hate it, until my son was put in a position that reclassifying was beneficial. He broke his ankle his senior season in the second game of the season. He was able to reclassify to get his senior season back.  Did it help him on the court? Yes, mentally and getting signed. That changed my mind on it, due to injury. But, on the other end, for those that are doing it because they aren’t getting the offers, I kinda lean away from it. If you are able to play, without injury, there are other routes to play at the next level. Most aren’t doing it for academic improvement, it’s all sport related. As a coach, it’s just like the transfer kid. So many kids are transferring because they think another school/coach can get you a scholarship. I’ve always believed, and witnessed, if you can play, colleges will find you. We are not a powerhouse, but each year I’ve been here, I’ve had a player sign.”

Richard Daniels Jr., boys’ varsity basketball coach for Walkertown High School:

“I think that reclassification has become the norm in sports. Although I don’t always agree, in some instances it works in the kid’s favor. There are kids that need it because of grades and there are some that need it for recruiting purposes. The “new” goal is to give kids an advantage over certain kids in order to get recruited. Some may look at it as wrong, but for a parent that does not have the resources to pay for college, it works in their favor.”

Antwan Steele Sr., youth sports coach:

“At first I was someone who was against reclassifying students. Now that I have worked and coached in the school system for a couple of years now, I see why it was created as an option. I feel that it should only be allowed for specific situations. If a student has moved from state to state or needs an educational accommodation in the classroom, I could understand that option. But, nowadays parents are supporting their kids wanting to create super teams. Also, they are comparing the talent level of their child’s age group and placing them with the age group that is a year younger. This gives that child an extra boost of confidence and athletic advantage that they would not have if they stayed with their age group.

“Now, from a coaching standpoint, a high school coach would benefit from that. But that same coach knows that it won’t matter on the collegiate level. On that level, everyone was all-state and all-conference where they were from. So, you really have to show what you can do. Also, there will be athletes who have redshirted or even went to Juco or the military. So, in a sense, your 18- or 19-year-old child is playing against 20- 24-year-old young men who are stronger, faster and more mature. That’s why the number of athletes that actually make it to the professional level get tremendously smaller once you get to the college level.

“So, it helps some athletes who deal with injuries, as well. It kind of gives them time to heal and train back to 100%.  My child is someone who could benefit athletically from reclassifying; however, it would not make sense educationally. He did not go to kindergarten due to him being in the private sector in preschool. Once he started school, we enrolled him at a charter school. His teacher suggested he go to first grade because of how smart he was. So, my child is really in the class of 2025 by age, but class of 2024 by grade. If we reclassify my child now, it would not make sense educationally. He was a freshman taking sophomore courses this year. So, if he were to reclass, he basically loses a year in the classroom.

“My wife and I are education-first in our household, no matter how talented my child is in sports. My child graduating early and having a chance to get an associates degree and a high school diploma at the same time is more important in our household. I’ve noticed sports are more important in most households nowadays. In my opinion, they should have more in depth requirements for students who can reclass.”

I want to thank all of the coaches that reached out with their varied responses. Please check with us in the weeks to come for more topics and responses from area coaches about local and national topics.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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