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October 12, 2021

Recruiting Horror Stories™: My Grades Cost Me Scholarship Offers

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Recruiting Horror Stories™ are posted every Tuesday to provide athletes’ first-hand experiences of what can go wrong during the recruiting process.

To get to the next level of your athletic career, you need to have good enough grades. Frank Cascio, a baseball player from Hillsdale, New Jersey had to find this out the hard way. 

The Beginning

Freshman year of high school, Cascio’s grades started to take a tumble: “I was immature, arrogant, and young, and I made things a lot harder for myself having to battle from behind starting off high school on a bad note.” 

This marks the very beginning of Frank Cascio’s recruiting horror story: “I… thought baseball was going to get me where I wanted to get,” said Cascio.

After sophomore year, his coach told him he needed to turn it around and wake up if he ever wanted a shot at playing baseball in college. Schools were afraid to take a chance on him and coaches weren’t sure if he would be able to bring his grades up over time. 

Related: Former Major League Baseball Player, Starvin’ Marvin, Offers Recruiting Advice to Athletes

Trying to Turn it Around

Going into the fall of his junior year, he tried to turn his grades around, but he still came up a little short. The main trouble now was trying to find a school he was happy with and that would take him, even with his rough academic start. 

His talent and skills on the baseball field, however, did not let him down. Junior year of high school he dominantly batted .435 average, 5 home runs and 22 rbi’s. Plus, he made all-county and all-state honorable mention. 

But Grades Were Still a Hindrance

Coaches from schools like UNC Asheville, Rollins College, Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. John’s all took interest. But, grades were still a hindrance. All these schools crossed him off their list when they saw his academics. Time was ticking and he was unsure where his future was going. 

Going into the fall of senior year, Cascio finally got an offer from Lasalle University. But, the offer was dropped once they discussed grades. “At this point I just did not know what to do and started to feel hopeless,” said Cascio. Soon after, UPenn invited him on a visit. This was the furthest he had gotten, but Cascio told them that his grades were not good enough and he knew he would struggle if he attended an Ivy League school. 

Related School Ratings: UNC Asheville, Seton Hall, Rollins College, Rutgers, St. John’s, La Salle University, University of Pennsylvania

Making a Change

“I was fed up and finally decided to make a change once and for all and go 100%,” Cascio went on to say, “I worked on myself mentally, physically, and academically and… I made honor roll my senior year, it felt amazing.”

Now that he finally had grades coaches could work with, an old coach and friend who is a recruiter helped him land a school. They sent a highlight tape to John Delaney, the head coach of the Quinnipiac University baseball team. Delaney called Cascio within minutes of watching the highlight tape. 

Related coach rating: John Delaney

Learning a New Position

There was just one problem: Cascio is an outfielder, but Delaney wants him to become a third baseman. Frank had to learn an entire new position in less than a few months if he wanted to commit to Quinnipiac. 

Delaney said, “do whatever you have to do to get yourself ready for third base, and we will talk soon.” This of course was very hard for Cascio, and when playing third base over the summer he felt like he never played the game of baseball before. “I was afraid of the ball and felt like… I’ll have no shot of playing.” said Cascio. But he kept at it by attending the summer camp hosted at Quinnipiac, and ended up exceeding expectations on third base.

Related: URI Soccer Player Discusses the Transfer Process and What DI Coaches Want to See 

One Obstacle after Another

Coach Delaney said to Cascio at the end of the camp, “It was a lot more than I thought it was going to be.” Filled with excitement and opportunity, Frank was dealt another blow: Delaney said “we may have a problem with grades and we have to make sure we can get you in.” 

Cascio did not want to lose out on this opportunity because he loved the school, campus, coaches and team: “It felt like this could be the home for me for the next four years,” said Cascio. 

Coach Delaney fought for him because they felt Cascio would be a key contributor to the team. 

The NCAA eligibility center cleared him when he was hit by yet another obstacle. Cascio had failed an English class his freshman year of high school, and he needed a higher gpa to balance out the new SAT score scale. They discussed options and decided on him taking a summer class. 

Related: Recruiting Must-Dos: Academic Requirements and Eligibility

Cascio battled through it and wound up passing the class with an A, wiping out the old grade and earning himself a place at the school and on the team. In closing, Cascio said, “nothing about the recruiting process was smooth and easy, and everyday was an obstacle, but with some hard work, dedication, and the mentality to never give up I finally became a Division I baseball player. My dream at last.”

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE