How to Play Sports in College

Get a leg up with our college sports Q&A with Upper Iowa University Assistant Football Coach, Daniel Lemke.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

The USC Trojans are a NCAA Division I powerhouse.

Do you dream of playing your favorite sport in college? While collegiate athletics offer great benefits and opportunities, they also require a lot of hard work. To find out more about what it takes to play sports in college, we spoke with Daniel Lemke, Assistant Football Coach at Upper Iowa University. Find out what he recommends for students who hope to be college athletes.

Summer camps are an important part of college recruiting.

How can student athletes determine what school is the best fit for their talent level?

Daniel Lemke: “Their high school coaches are a great resource to use. The coaches deal with college coaches on every level and can guide student athletes in the direction they should look Division-wise.”

What are some of the key steps in the recruiting process?

DL: “Depending on the level and sport, recruiting starts at various times. Summer camps are an important part of recruiting; student athletes get to know the staff and campus while coaches get to evaluate the athletes. As for commitments, that again depends on the level. Some schools will make offers early and some will wait to offer. When a student athlete knows where he/she wants to go, they should make a commitment to the coaches and school.”

How can students increase their chances of scoring a college scholarship for athletics?

DL: “To increase chances of scholarships, athletes should attend summer camps to gain exposure at schools they are interested in attending. Keeping grades up and scoring well on standardized tests will also help increase chance of scholarships. Obviously, talent level is a major factor along with how the student athlete will fit in at the school and with the system.”

College students also have the option of playing on intramural teams which are less competitive and more focused on having fun.

What are some of the challenges college athletes face that could affect their eligibility?

DL: “Academics are a potential challenge. Per NCAA rules, student athletes are required to maintain minimum GPA’s to remain eligible. Social factors can affect eligibility as well (i.e. legal issues).”

Redshirting and walk-on tryouts present a lot of questions for students who want to play college sports. How do these processes work and how common are they?

DL: “College programs need walk-ons to fill rosters. Each school and program differs in how they handle walk-ons and/or tryouts. Contact the school of interest to find out details. Redshirting is a very common practice. It is more uncommon to find true freshman competing at the highest level.”

Besides being able to play a sport they love, what other benefits do student athletes gain from playing at the college level?

DL: “The benefits of playing collegiate athletics are almost endless: character development, team work, time management, pride in the school, etc.”

Take Coach Lemke’s advice and get a head start on your college sports career by inquiring about summer camps early on. If you want to learn more about playing sports in college, check out Campus Explorer’s College Sports Guide.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

How is the NCAA Structured?
The NCAA Clearinghouse for Athletes and Performers
Playing Soccer in College: Intramural, Club, and NCAA Soccer
Intramurals on Campus

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