Athletic directors from the two traditional high schools in Los Banos brought in a presentation last week focused on student-athletes who want to play at the next level.
Charlie Pikas, Pacheco High School's Athletic Director, said parents don't necessarily understand what goes into being a college athlete. "It takes a lot more than just showing up and being good," Pikas said.
Rick Wire of Dynamite Sports spoke to both schools' student-athletes and their families in Pacheco High's cafeteria. Wire said most students-athletes are excluded from playing at the college level because of academics and the lack of preparation.
"When I say 'lack of preparation,' I mean not prepared mentally, physically and have no idea where to start as far as the recruiting process," Wire said.
A self-taught expert on the recruiting process, Wire started his research when his son showed signs of athletic promise in middle school. His son, Coy, will begin his 10th year in the National Football League this month.
Wire said 26 percent of student-athletes with scholarships leave college before the end of their freshman year. He said that's because they picked the wrong level, were too far from or close to home, or were not physically or mentally prepared.
"It's all about preparation," Wire said.
Parents of student-athletes who show athletic prowess at an early age, Wire said, need to start their research when the child is in junior high.
Visiting a Division I and a Division III school should be one of the first tests for student-athletes. "Let them feel what a big D-I program looks and smells like and feels like," Wire said. "Then let them go see a Division III and see the differences."
Most student-athletes, about 70 percent, playing on a scholarship are playing at a D III, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics conference or junior college.
Joe Barcellos, athletic director for Los Banos High, said a few student-athletes from Los Banos get an athletic scholarship every year. "We're just not a hotbed for scholarship athletes," Barcellos said.
Some of it is having a smaller pool to pick athletes from in a smaller city like Los Banos as opposed to Sacramento, Barcellos said. Also, it takes an effort for student-athletes in a small city to get themselves noticed.
Johnny and Rosemary Zamora, parents of Pacheco High sophomore Cruz Zamora, said they went to the presentation to research their son's future.
"He would like to play professionally," Johnny Zamora said. "Basically, what it is for us is for him to go to college."
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos