COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Most high school athletes' dreams are to get noticed by a college coach, but the harsh reality is even the most talented seniors can sometimes come up empty-handed on signing day.
Muscogee County Schools is doing its part to help seniors avoid falling into the ineligible category.
Junior Shantel Wells, a guard for the lady Hardaway Hawks basketball team said her athletic regimen consists of three components: "Good grades, hard work, good work ethic."
Shantel and her parents attended the district's College Athletics 101 workshop for young aspiring athletes Tuesday evening at the Public Education Center on Macon Road.
"We now know the importance of keeping the GPA up and not settling for a standard GPA as well as the importance of taking the ACT/SAT," stated Shantel's mother, Kimberly Wells.
Kristen Davis, a former employee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA, gave first-hand information to high school and middle school students in attendance to keep them academically prepared.
"You don't want the horror story of someone from this district not being eligible to go to a big time school because of academics," Davis stressed to the audience.
Davis says it can happen, but coaches like Kendal Mills, who leads Shantel and her teammates on the court, says it's important for his students to succeed on the field and in the books.
"Establish that work ethic off the court and hopefully you'll have good things happen for you during your senior year," Mills says.
It's a message Shantel hears on the court and at home.
If you're wondering what you should be doing to make sure your child will be eligible for college sports, school officials suggest that you talk to school advisors or guidance counselors to be sure your child stays on top of their game.
Remember, NCAA regulations are always subject to change.
Click to view the NCAA Eligibility Center Quick Reference Guide for more information.