Dear Class of 2023, Welcome to an OPPORTUNITY of a LIFETIME

By Rich Winter

Wow, feels like you could feel a collective exhale from South Dakota as a bunch of kids just went back to school. Saw a few glum kids faces out there but that’s expected. We at Sacred Hoops wanted to take time to wish all of our STUDENT/Athletes success in the classroom.

For the incoming freshman in South Dakota class-rooms welcome to the next phase of your life. High school if fun, its a great time of life and it is also a proving ground for how successful you might be at the next level. If you are a freshman, we’d really like you to get down to business early and work on those grades.

Like to encourage this freshman class to make academics as strong a love and passion as you have for whatever sport is your favorite.

Sacred Hoops Co-Director Allan Bertram checked in on the subject


It is so important for students to get a good solid start to their academic studies in their 9th grade year.

So many students fall behind an entire grade level after their first school year due to attendance, failing to turn in school work, etc.

It is all about Effort and Attitude - Get To Class, Participate, and most importantly turn in your school work - If you do those things - You will be guaranteed to pass your classes

Don’t be afraid to ask questions


If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask a question…

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that a lot of us learn differently. And that’s OK!

But, that also means that sometimes, some of us, need things explained in a way that makes-sense-to-us…

Asking for something to be explained is the brave and right choice in a classroom…Take heart that we can guarantee there is another young person in the class with the same question.

We realize that a lot of young athletes across South Dakota have collegiate dreams. That’s awesome, Dream Big, but while your Dreaming BIG make sure you academic achievements and contributions to your community are something a college wants to add to their family.

A respected coach’s perspective - Division 11 Ladies coach:

“I watch the game first, look at the brochure, then eliminate the kids that have less than a 3.0 because, usually, even the girl who has a 3.0 is including A’s in gym class.  A team’s brochures inflate grades sometimes.  For those reasons, I like to see 3.5 and higher,”  she asserted.

Grades – a link to athletic opportunities

Here’s what we know:  the higher a high school athlete’s GPA and test scores, the more college doors that will open.  And the more doors that open, the more opportunities there can potentially be for the athlete.

Our coach friend said, “We mix athletic with academic money, along with need-based dollars, grants, and loans to come up with financial packages for our recruits.  The better their core GPA and test scores, the more academic money we can throw their way,” she said.  “Our school is expensive, so while we try to reduce the amount families pay, the best way athletes can impact that is to maximize their grades and test scores,” she added.