Athletes learn the importance of communication and connections


Hailey Tallman

Foothill alumnus Melissa Jimenez speaks to students about playing sports at the collegiate level. Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press
Foothill alumnus Melissa Jimenez speaks to students about playing sports at the collegiate level. Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press

Students who are considering pursuing athletics into college gathered in the Black Box on Friday for information on college scholarships, communication skills, and other athletic opportunities.

“It has always been my dream to play sports [in college],” said junior Andrew Nyznyk of his decision to attend the meeting.

Foothill alumnus Melissa Jimenez, the assistant women’s basketball coach at Santa Barbara City College, spoke to the students about athletic programs and how important academcs are even for “the jocks.”

The 2012-2014 grade point average requirement for all California athletic programs is 2.5. If athletes maintain only this GPA, they are required to spend 20 hours a week in study hall, while a higher GPA requires only five hours.

“The foundation is academics, and you guys are learning that at Foothill Technology High School,” Jimenez said.

Female athletes were also featured in Jimenez’s speech. She stressed the even higher expectations that are placed upon women. She then supported her claim with Nike’s video focusing on female athlete empowerment.

To establish and maintain a healthy college life, the student also must stay away from unhealthy activities. Jimenez mentioned the high stress the students will be under in college athletics, but they will also be too busy to take part in the regular college student’s atmosphere.

“70 percent of students in college are under the legal drinking age of 21, meaning that, if drinking, they are taking part in illegal activities,” said Jimenez.

Athletes are also subject to rules, regulations, curfews and bylaws, making it very difficult to stay above water.

The first and foremost rule a college student must uphold is the necessary grade requirements. Next, the student must find the time to follow all of the guidelines and rules. Lastly, the student must maintain physical, and mental toughness.

Jimenez spoke of the stress a coach in college will put on their athlete to become better, and more mentally strong.

“A lot of students don’t seem to understand directional criticism,” she said.

Both Nyznyk and junior Kayalin Akens-Irby wondered how they could get colleges to notice them through sports.

“But what would be my first step in getting noticed by colleges?” asked Akens-Irby.

“Is there anything you can do to get yourself noticed?” asked Nyznyk.

Jimenez advised the students to fill out recruitment questions to let colleges know about them. Then, after they have has established a relationship, they should keep communication with their college advisor.

To get noticed, a student should email the college first. College advisor’s are always looking to see if the students can handle that certain college’s athletic program.

“Will high school injuries affect my acceptance?” asked junior Danny Alcantar.

A medical “redshirt” and an academic “redshirt” allow both one mistake in academics and in health for all athletes explained Jimenez.

“How does recruitment work?” said junior Tyler Cobian.

Jimenez explained the first step is to contact the college, and then if a student is accepted, they have eligibility to receive an academic scholarship.

Jimenez ended with the idea that academics plus the athletic factor will get a student into college.

Many of the students found the meeting informational, and some learned more than they expected to.

“I didn’t think she would go through it step-by-step,” junior Melissa Fox said.

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