But when it comes to pursuing college scholarships for their two youngest sons — Marquis, a sophomore at Blake, and Myles, a freshman at Good Counsel — the Robinsons are getting some help from the National Collegiate Scouting Association.

The Chicago-based company focuses on helping student-athletes find college scholarships. Its services, which vary in price and can cost up to $1,000, are free for the Robinsons, since Myles, who plays football, recently received an “Athleadership Grant” from the NCSA.

“The process of recruiting, especially for athletes, with NCAA regulations that are constantly changing, [is difficult],” Nadine Robinson said. “So it’s good to affiliate yourself with a program such as NCSA that is up to date with all the guidelines, to help you along in the process.”

What the NCSA tries to do is “give a family a snapshot of whether or not sports is realistic for their future,” said Chris Krause, the company founder and CEO. “If so, how do we turn that 1,700 [schools] pie, which is daunting, down to maybe 100 schools that are realistic and really target [them] based on major... part of the country... and quality of academics.”

There are a number of opportunities out there for high school athletes to go on to the next level — whether it’s Division I, II or III — but the key is knowing how to find them and attract attention.

“We always stress to [Marquis and Myles] that a lot of people are looking for big D-I scholarships, they’re out there at a premium,” Stacy Robinson Sr. said. “But there are some great, great schools out there that aren’t D-I schools and you would love for your kid to have a scholarship from and get their degree and go on and have a productive life, and have a great college experience but also a great athletic experience.”

Krause points out in his book Athletes Wanted that it isn’t the big Division I sports schools that sit atop the college rankings by U.S. News and World Report, so athletes shouldn’t be consumed with Division I opportunities. Also, he says that just getting a scholarship shouldn’t be the final goal.

“Focusing on the scholarship is like focusing on mile 10 of the marathon,” Krause said. “Success is graduating with a meaningful degree and the skill set that you’re going to need to go out and be a productive member of society.”

The college recruiting process can be tricky and overwhelming as well as extremely competitive. This is about business through all three divisions. The smallest detail could separate one student-athlete from another, and make the difference in who receives the scholarship offer.

It is important that student-athletes and their families be proactive in the process. Get help if you are unsure of the best moves to make.  Relying solely on school counselors who might not be fully aware of NCAA rules can be costly.

“It’s key to get as much information as possible,” said Stacy Robinson Sr., who admits he wonders if he could have done things differently for his oldest son. “Find out those areas where you’re weak and get help – sometimes you don’t spare the price, you just do what you’ve got to do.” 

Monica McNutt was an All-Met basketball player at Holy Cross Academy who went on to star for the Georgetown women’s team. She will be offering advice to high school athletes who are looking to make the leap to college sports

Got a question for Monica, or an idea she can use for a future post? Leave it here in the comments, or email her at hss@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter at @__MCM__.


Managing the expectations of multiple coaches (March 27, 2012)

Coping with the ‘bad’ coach (March 20, 2012)

Dealing with injury (March 13, 2012)

The dual-sport dilemma (Feb. 20, 2012)

Making the most of your college experience (Feb. 14, 2012)

Handling your parents and coaches (Feb. 7, 2012)

Dealing with that special breed of fans: Your parents (Jan. 24, 2012)

Advice for the young star athlete (Jan. 17, 2012)

Offseason is right time to get with the program (Jan. 3, 2012)

Managing to stay close to the game (Dec. 20, 2011)

Leadership, Tebow-style (Dec. 13, 2011)

The importance of attitude (Dec. 6, 2011)

Fine-tuning your “mistake response” (Nov. 22, 2011)

Looking beyond the stat sheet (Nov. 15, 2011)

Battling the “dumb jock” stereotype (Nov. 8, 2011)

Taking advantage of your athletic resume (Nov. 1, 2011)

College recruiting: Finding a program that fits you (Oct. 25, 2011)

Navigating the recruiting process: “Get a clue, control your career” (Oct. 18, 2011)

Secrets to success: Food and rest (Oct. 11, 2011)

Introducing “Transition Game” (Oct. 4, 2011)