To Apply for the 2020-2021 click here

Dudley's Domain

Cardinal Academic Path

For this edition I would like to touch on our academic process for our student-athletes. Each player submits a transcript to our program for evaluation. We are evaluating two specific things in our initial look.

The first is obviously what the actual core GPA is of the young man and if the core requirements for the NCAA have been satisfied. If the core requirements are not satisfied the student-athlete must then satisfy them prior to enrollment in our program or then becomes a JuCo track player. The path depends on how many of the core requirements are absent. Our program does not allow a player to replace any of their high school courses as a mode of credit recovery. The NCAA only allows 1 replacement after the senior year begins, so this avenue is a moot point for most of our student-athletes.

The second is which core course path will be most beneficial to this particular player. As a rule, we attempt to get our players in transferrable core classes. For example, their highest available English or Math, a History class, a Public Speaking or an introductory class for their major. Our players that attend the local junior college typically will take a placement test to evaluate their skills for English and Math. Predominantly our prep, low test score guys will end up in Math 098 (Elementary Algebra) or Math 099/100 (Intermediate Algebra with Support) and/or English 098/099 (Writing & Reading for College). These classes shore up deficiencies from the high school curriculum and bridge the gap to collegiate subject matter and rigor. These classes are only for institutional credit. However, most student-athletes will test out of these classes following our program because they either progress in their subject matter knowledge without improving their ACT/SAT or they improve their test score enough to bypass these classes at their four-year school.

Our academic philosophy equips our outgoing student-athletes for success for collegiate learning at their four-year schools. The coursework they accumulate while at Birmingham Prep will be transferrable to their core classes within their major and also benefit their test score growth in accompaniment with our ACT Prep course. Below are a few examples of our course recommendations for past players and does not reflect availability for future player's and their classes.

Business Management Course Plan:

Public Speaking

Introduction to Business

English or Math Requirement

Pre-Physical Therapy Course Plan:

Introduction to Kinesiology

Public Speaking

General Psychology or English/Math Requirement

101 Placement Plan:

English 101

Public Speaking

Fine Arts Requirement (Music or Art Appreciation)


Dudley's Domain

By Coach Charlie Dudley Birmingham Prep's Associate Athletic Director, Recruiting & Offensive Coordinator

Why Prep?
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In these uncertain times where the virus has wreaked havoc on hundreds of thousands of high school seniors final high school days, I wanted to write something that many coaches, players and parents do not always view as an option; a prep year. Prep football has a speckled reputation as some programs are consistent and offer a great on-field and academic product, whereas others are fly by night and underhanded at best. There are a few programs, like ours at Birmingham Prep, that value the academic standing of the student-athlete and provide several services to keep the student-athlete on a trajectory to succeed regardless of their football future.

First, who is a "prep player". For us here, our prep player can be anyone with a core GPA above a 2.0. Within that classification, we delineate between student-athletes who have a core GPA between a 2.0 and a 2.29 as opposed to a 2.3 or higher. From there it becomes a matter of test score. For example, if a player has a 2.1 core GPA and a 14 ACT, typically we will direct them to become a JuCo track player. The reason for that track is due to the distance and typical knowledge gap shown by their academic record. While they would be in an ACT Prep class, the likelihood of them carefully raising their test score without getting flagged would be an arduous process without much success. However, we believe in an individual academic plan where each player's track, case, discipline and abilities are accounted for during the evaluation process. For a typical prep player, they have a GPA above a 2.3 but a low test score, usually around a 16. This test score deficiency allows for a high probability for an eligible score after our 6-week ACT Prep class and the subsequent test in September. Other prep players include guys that lack high school film for whatever reason. Some need film because they play at a huge program and have untapped talent or another year to mature, while others got injured their senior season. There are several players who have come from small schools or schools with several coaching changes needing more consistent film for their next level journey. These players would be classified as a prep player as well.

Every single high school football player in America dreams or has dreamed at some point of playing college football. That much is undeniable. However, how many think logically and realistically about life after football, which for most comes quicker than they desire? When I joined this program Coach Sanders and myself wanted to be different academically than most prep programs. When you look at a prep program, a lot will enroll their guys in online classes with very little guidance and minimal oversight. If a player has grade or test score problems and needs a prep, what in their academic record indicates future success or discipline to manage online classes? Nothing. That's the answer. Nothing. Personally, I have done online classes more than most. Both of my Master's degrees and the majority of my doctorate work was done via distance learning while working full-time. However, I was not 18 or 19 years old when I entered into any of those programs. In fact, my academic record as an underclassmen at Auburn University is a roller coaster ride of dropped classes, gaps and major changes.

So, we took a different approach and had our guys enroll at a local community college. Here they can take traditional classes while also being a traditional student. One of the biggest problems young people have in making the adjustment to college is discovering who they are. Our program is designed with that in mind. We believe we can provide training wheels of sorts to allow our student-athletes to dip their toe into college classes, college social life and ease into a newly discovered self-discipline. That self-discipline comes through all of the important aspects of a young mans life in our program. Our players go to church and participate in weekly bible study in addition to their academic courses, strength program and football-related activities.

The ministry aspect of our program contains more than just going to church and bible study. Recent studies show that 65-70 percent of young adults stop attending church once they reach college age. We believe that a spiritual aspect to your life is important. While our team attends a non-denominational church, many of our coaches are members of specific Christian faiths from Catholic, Baptist to Methodist. Our focus is to create the habits of a relationship with God that can transcend rules of a certain faith but direct a person to a personal relationship with God. Many programs attempt to take a common sense approach to their academics and overall mission. We think that is somewhat short-sighted because common sense has become increasingly less common. At Birmingham Prep we want you to have an individual track where you develop in more ways than just football. Our goal for you is to achieve your goals, even if you dont know what they are. Our goal when we started discussing our goals was to get as many guys signed as possible to 4-year schools. That is still a goal for us and one that were reaching over 85 percent of the time. Personally, my goal is for each guy that comes through our program is to discover their purpose, even if their purpose to just to attend college without football. Purposeful living continues to be something that drive me each day to help people achieve what they believe they can or never could and realize to control what you can control.