PROVO — Brains and shoulder pads.
If you are a walk-on football player at BYU, you’d better be able to do more than walk in the classroom or you won’t ever walk into the locker room or onto the field.
Evolving academic strategies at BYU are becoming a gauntlet for BYU athletic coaches who target recruits, then try to get them admitted. It is far different from what other competitors deal with and not by a small margin.
Is it a big hill to climb? “It is,” said BYU assistant football coach Ed Lamb.
Is it a hurdle in recruiting? “Absolutely,” he said.
Is the standard for getting a walk-on admitted to BYU higher than the NCAA eligibility standard? “Oh, yes. We are talking about a much higher standard than the NCAA standard. This is hard,” declared Lamb.
As if meeting standards of the school’s honor code wasn’t enough, getting a walk-on admitted is a major achievement these days. A walk-on at BYU is going up against thousands of other admission requests each year, and doing it on his or her own.
“It is a dynamic that is a real challenge for us right now,” Lamb said. “Our academic or admissions strategy with BYU changes every year. There was a time when if we had interest in a football player that had decent grades, we could just get him into school. That isn’t the case anymore. We have no magic wand. There is a daily conversation — a fight and struggle — some may say.
“We can’t use the term ‘preferred walk-on’ in the same way Utah or Utah State or Southern Utah can use it. We can’t guarantee admission to somebody who just qualifies to go to school anymore. Those other schools can say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ll take you as a preferred walk-on.’ For us, we have to go through the entire admissions process. Even with our scholarship players, we have no guarantee for admission.”
This is a very big deal, bigger than many realize, as the university has evolved in the bar it sets for new students. Lately, it’s becoming very selective.
BYU walk-on home runs like Chad Lewis and Dennis Pitta are the goal.
“Some would call it a fight or struggle with admissions,” said Lamb. “We aren’t oriented that way. We want to be in line with admission policies and what they require. We want to be honest with ourselves.
“Many of our top recruits want to be …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News