At most colleges, sports are a big part of the community. In order to fill teams with members, coaches are constantly recruiting, reviewing and searching for new players.
Secular campuses usually have a pattern of putting sports before school. That is, athletes are not required to keep up certain academic standards that other students who are not athletes would have to comply to.
At John Brown University, those in the athletic department want their players not only to do well in the game but also to excel in the classroom. Keeping with the model of JBU’s Head, Heart, and Hand, athletic directors want their players to play hard, think better and reach out to their peers.
Athletes at JBU are required to keep up a GPA of at least 2.0, and, while religious identity is not a requirement, coaches integrate religion into their teaching and interactions with their players. The coaches at JBU tell potential players that JBU is a Christian environment, which requires some extra tasks such as chapel credits.
Jason Beschta, head coach of the JBU men’s basketball team, explained two main things he looks for when searching for athletes. One of those main things is talent, but he also looks for another important aspect: attitude.
He asks questions like: “Are they coachable?” and “Do they work hard?”
Beschta wants to see players working hard on and off the court as well as players being willing to learn.
“We believe we can develop players,” Beschta said.
Jeff Soderquist, the head coach of the JBU women’s basketball team, has a different process. Recruiters might contact a coach about a promising athlete or coaches might see a potential student’s performance at a tournament.
Soderquist believes that a lot of investigation goes into a future athlete. They look for athletic performance as well as academic performance to evaluate if the student will be able to excel at JBU, Beschta said. However not every evaluation is exactly the same.
Soderquist also said that transfer students are harder to recruit because they cannot bring over their GPA. Usually when someone transfers from one school to another their GPA is transferred with them. At JBU, the policy is different. Soderquist also talked about how the move can be very difficult for any student in general. He said freshmen usually have a semester to adjust to things, but a transfer athlete has no time to adjust to the new atmosphere, classes, or schedule.
Scotts Marksberry, head coach of the JBU men’s soccer team, said that he doesn’t want to “bribe” people into coming to JBU. He wants people who want to come to JBU.
“I probably do some type of recruiting activity 6 or 7 days per week, year round,” Marksberry said about the process. “Some of those days, recruiting takes up my entire work day. At other times, an email or text might be all that we need to do in a day.”