Blake students highlight their sport commitments

Blake students dedicated to playing sports in college.

Emma Burke, Contributing Writer

There are many ideas that come to mind when people state that they are committed to playing a sport in college. What does it mean? Binding or not binding? Academic override? There is a lot of ambiguity behind the word “committed”.

Athletes that are at high levels for their sport continuously get the same questions over and over again: “Are you going to play in college?” Especially for seniors, when someone discloses that they play a sport intensely, they usually jump to the conclusion of playing in college. Some people love solely playing sports in high school, but for others, many will play in college. The reason for the repetitive question of playing in college is because there have been so many people in high school committing to D1, D2 and D3 schools all around the country. Some students are committing as early as 8th grade. However, there are a lot of questions behind the word “commitment” if people are committing even before high school.

Jim Arnold shared his interpretation of what committing to a college sports team means, “It depends on the year… When they sign that paper for that school, that is where they are going to go.” Jim Arnold, while working at Gustavus and coaching basketball, experienced some of the sports recruiting himself. In addition, Greg May, coach of Blake Boys Varsity Hockey and Associate Athletic Director at Blake, states that “with the commitment, there is an unwritten rule, an honor, that if the team is committing to you… They have a spot for you academically.” This means that when an athlete applies to the school that they have committed for athletics, they will accept your application due to the commitment between the student and the college team.

On a student-athlete level, according to Bjorn Holm ‘18, committed to play Division 1 lacrosse at the Air Force Academy, he understands “commitment” as: “Once someone commits to a school, the coach at that school has to honor that by reserving a spot for you on the team and helping you through the admissions process, and you have to also commit to working hard.” Holm committed to the Air Force the summer after his freshman year, and he states that: “Lacrosse use to recruit players very early, but the NCAA just put new regulation on recruiting where it has to be after June 1st of your junior year for both boys and girls lacrosse.” Similarly, Sophie Skallerud ‘18, a commit to Dartmouth College for Division 1 lacrosse, states that she “started the recruiting process going into 9th grade.” With the new regulation of recruiting deadline, many coaches have to continuously watch the players they want and note their progress.

Regarding the admission process, being “committed” does not necessarily mean that the coach is going to pull some strings for a particular student if that student does not meet that college’s standards. As stated by Skallerud, “commitment” means to her that“It does not necessarily mean you will get in, but you have to reach a certain standard that you and that college coach have agreed upon.” Kyra Willoughby ‘18, committed to play D1 hockey at Harvard University, explains that, “I had to actually do an interview, and write a fairly good essay… Each person has different requirements that they have to meet: its conditional like an ACT score.” Similarly, Williams College, where CC Wallin ‘18 is committed to play D3 hockey, has a process called support points, “where it depends on the player’s strengths and weaknesses to help them get in during the admissions process.”

There seems to be a consensus on the definition of “committing” to a sports team, and, although processes are getting earlier and earlier, there have been efforts to slow it down.