Scout encourages academics, planning to win scholarships

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(Courtesy photo) Independent scout Shawn Mosqueda.

PRIEST RIVER — This current age of skyrocketing college tuition rates and baristas with college degrees and mountains of student loans is a scary time to be a parent. Nonetheless, college is a route many parents and students want to take. The question is how to do it without taking out a mortgage for a bachelor’s degree of uncertain value.

For some students their athletic gifts are a vehicle to get them down that road with as few out-of-pocket expenses as possible. Local scout Shawn Mosqueda has scouted athletes for four years now, and has helped local athletes such as Brittany Krampert and Morgan DeMent earn college scholarships by proving their value to educators both as a student and as an athlete. The former Spokane sports writer scouts student-athletes from across the country, but mainly from Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. He said he got into scouting after somebody asked him to do so, and found that he loved the ability to guide and mentor aspiring young people.

“I just really love the idea that I can help families and athletes save money on college especially with the exploding cost of college education.”

His specialty is on the major sports, but he has handled student-athletes from many sports and is helping high schoolers as far north as Bonners Ferry and as far south as Lewiston.

“I found out there were a lot of athletes and families who have no idea of how to start the process and what’s involved. It’s cool to see them light up and get excited that they have the possibility of going to college,” he said.

Mosqueda has a library of information for interested parents and potential college student-athletes at his website, www.shawnmosqueda.com. He said that he’s happy to help people take a “do-it-yourself” approach to college planning through the information on his website.

“I’m always willing to help anyone interested who wants information,” he said, but he added that he has to be very selective of whom he scouts because of his limited time. He is available 24/7 to student-athletes he takes on, he said.

Mosqueda had some important advice for parents and student-athletes thinking about going to college and wondering how they could get an athletic scholarship.

First, he said the process is akin to a dating game or a job interview. It’s a dance where the student-athlete is looking for the right chemistry, the right academics, the right athletic opportunities -- and coaches are looking for the same thing in a student-athlete.

Second and therefore, the objective is to identify which coaches and colleges the student-athlete wants to “date” or “work for.” The key to this, said Mosqueda, is to attend camps at your student-athlete’s desired college(s). If neither the parents or student-athlete know which college that is, then Mosqueda said to “contact as many colleges as possible.” Either way, the objective is to spend time around the coaches and players, he said.

“Send them a skills video, game footage, transcripts, background information. See who starts to bite. Contact the assistant coach or head coach. Go visit the campus, work out with the teams if possible. Go to every single college camp that you can to build rapport with the coaches. They’ll get more information on the athlete in their camps because they can see the athlete on a more personal level, see his attitude and character. Those are the things you can’t see on game footage necessarily. Those college-specific camps are really important for the coaches to evaluate the athletes,” said Mosqueda. He said that they’re equally important for the student-athletes to see what the coaches are like. They provide opportunities for asking current players questions about how practices are run and to see what the coaches are like.

Importantly, Mosqueda said this process of dating and interviewing should begin by the summer prior to the student-athlete’s freshman year of high school. By about that time, many athletes know which sport they want to focus on, he said. They don’t need to abstain from other sports, he said, but they should use their off-season time to focus on those skills, such as how Priest River’s Morgan DeMent has played club softball during her summers. She signed a letter of commitment to play softball at Skagit Valley College Jan. 27.

He said unless a student-athlete is planning to go to a college that is part of a longstanding family tradition and there is basically no chance that he or she will want to go elsewhere, kids shouldn’t verbally commit to any college early. Also, Mosqueda said that since a verbal commitment is not legally binding but is simply “a gentleman’s agreement,” if a student-athlete commits early and assumes that the college will uphold the commitment when it comes time to graduate, that kid may find himself in the five percent or so of verbal commits whose college changes its mind and leaves him or her grasping for backup schools when most of the top-level schools and scholarship money are gone. For that reason, Mosqueda said, “They need to be reaching out to as many colleges as possible to find three or four that are a good fit.”

Mosqueda said student-athletes should keep 3.5 grade point averages or higher in order to maximize the number and quality of schools interested in them. They should also persistently be in contact with coaches, with whom they can ask questions about the program, their coaching philosophy, and just develop a coach-athlete relationship. NCAA rules do apply to these contacts but there’s a lot of misinformation out there about the issue, Mosqueda said. At camps, however, student-athletes can talk to coaches openly. “Generally speaking, those camps are where everything happens for verbal commits and where relationships form.”

Mosqueda has a scouting agency and has no agents on payroll with the company, he said. He added that he is not a runner for an agent. His objective is to “touch people’s lives and help them make the best decisions for them,” he said

For more information, go to www.shawnmosqueda.com, call 208-691-8511, or reach him via social media @ShawnMSCOUT on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/SMosqueda.Agent.

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