Readers Voice - Ninth graders, are you ready to hit the academic year running?


Well, we are creeping on towards the end of June and while the emphasis so far this summer has been basketball fundamentals and building strength for the fall season, let’s not forget about the academic year that is creeping up on us. 

Last week we tossed out a particular scenario and asked for viewer feedback…

Scenario: I am a soon-to-be senior in South Dakota and I would like to play college sports next year. I think I could play in college but my grades have not been good in high school and I feel like this might hurt my chances of playing in college or even getting accepted to college. 

My G.P.A. is barely north of 2.0
I haven't taken my ACT yet
Can I retake some classes I did poorly in this summer?
Is there anything on-line classes I could take?

What should I do?

The response to this question was terrific and provided some real answers to student/athletes and parents that are looking into playing sports while getting their education at the next level. 

NINTH GRADERS – You need to hear and UNDERSTAND this…

“This starts in grade 9 and you must be taking care of grades and classes then. As soon as you set foot in school in Grade 9 your clock starts and you have four years to complete 16 core courses if we talking d1 or d2.  (DI and D11 are Just a bit different in what your gpa can be and a bit different in what classes are mandatory.” – Trevor

Discussion: If you really want to play sports in college while pursuing a degree there is nothing better you can do to aid your chances than pay attention to your academics, right from the day 9th-grade starts. Are you going to hit that classroom with your mind focused and ready to do the very best you can? One of the biggest things about staying academically sounds is to stay on top of things. There are no dumb questions: If you fall behind, ask questions. If you fall behind, ask for help. Developing solid study habits early in your academic career will help set the tone for four years of solid classroom work. 

(Back to the scenario: Grades suck, what do I do)

You can go to Junior College if you’re grades aren’t good enough. It does help to have a good ACT OR SAT. If you do, your GPA is basically irrelevant there. 

Can I retake classes: 

As far as D1 you can NOT retake more then 1 core course. So you can fix one class online or the following year, or summer. 

NAIA rules are different: 

If you’re talking NAIA their rules are all different and you may still be able to fix a few classes. 

(Thoughts from Trevor)

 What to do if you find yourself in an academic hole: 

Unfortunately, you have placed yourself in a hole.  Not a hole that can't be climbed out of but non the less a hole. Options: junior college, prep school.  The odds are slim if any that a college will give a scholarship.  If accepted to a college you will probably have to walk on and be red shirted to prove your academic focus – Mike

My grades stink and I haven’t taken the ACT and I’m a senior: 

(What are you doing about this? Have you thought about it this summer and are you studying or are you going to wait until the ACT test is given this fall and hope for the best?)

There are resources: 

Go to Khan academy they have free videos. Take the ACT as early as you can that way you know what it’s like and you can study for ACT, SAT. They have youtube vids, and from Khan academy, resources at book stores. Work on that ACT or SAT score. If not there is always junior college - Joel 


Khan Academy is GREAT - Jessica

Khan Academy is FREE: They have vids for ACT, SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, GMAT, CPA, Nursing, elementary math, algebra, calculus, everything. Youtube has vids too. I would concentrate on the ACT, SAT, because if you have a low GPA but strong score they (colleges) would prefer the stronger score – Joel 


GO TO a Junior College: Go to a JUCO to build your grades up then transfer to 4 year school - Dalton 

Visit your School Counselor: 

I would highly recommend this student meeting with their school counselor to go over options for improving your GPA. They will be in the know to share if retaking classes for a higher grade is an option, online classes available, whether dual credit is an option or other options not thought of. I will say as a school counselor at the middle level myself, that many academic minded students on the east and west coasts do a second senior year in hopes of getting into their desired college. This means they are taking more electives and move past the required credits...but it delays graduation for a better chance at regular or early decision at top tier schools. Caution with athletics added onto this, as SDHSAA or the equivalent could have rules and/or restrictions on # of seasons competing – Jules

Thank you to our readers for some tremendously enlightening and thoughtful responses. 

If you have additional thoughts, comments or suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you...