When BASIS Oro Valley senior Trevor Hecht signed a letter of intent to accept a golf scholarship at William and Mary last month it went largely unnoticed. Although Hecht was accepting a scholarship to a Division I program, he had never played high school golf and was a bit of an unknown. Hecht hopes to shine a light on athletes who attend charter schools.
BASIS does not offer golf as a sport and they are not a part of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, so Hecht was not able to play high school golf. He earned his scholarship solely on his performances in junior golf tournaments. This is not unusual, as most college sports look more towards club and tournament play than varsity competition, but it showed some discrepancies in how high school sports operate in the state of Arizona.
Students enrolled in independent charter schools cannot compete in AIA events unless the school joins the AIA. Most charter schools do not pay the fees to compete at the AIA level and their athletes are unable to compete in AIA events. Hecht and his family looked into trying to compete in varsity golf, but to do so he would had to have transferred to an AIA school. In fact, Hecht gave a lot of consideration to enrolling at Canyon Del Oro, but in the end did not want to leave the academics and familiarity of BASIS, a school he has attended for most of his academic career.
“That was one of the hardest decisions, if not the hardest decision, I have had to make in my high school career,” Hecht said. “That was one of my dreams, to play on a high school golf team. I had friends there, but I did not want to compromise the education I was getting at BASIS.”
Oddly enough, had Hecht been home schooled or enrolled in an on-line or alternative school within a public school district, he could have competed in AIA athletics. Since he attends a school that has the option of joining the AIA but has chosen not to do so, he does not have those same choices.
While it worked out for him, Hecht feels this puts many charter school students at a disadvantage, especially those who cannot afford to play for top club travel programs or afford to compete in tournaments, many of which are out of town or even out of state.
“I was able to make it through BASIS and have an athletic career in college,” Hecht said. “Just because I am able to do that, does not mean others will be able to do that.”
Most college sports, save for football, recruit more based upon travel team and tournament play, but having some solid high school performances can open doors with schools.
Hecht first started golfing when he was five years old as a way to bond with his father, but it wasn’t until a few years later that he started to compete. Hecht played club basketball as well, but when he turned 14 he wanted to “aggressively pursue” one of the two sports, and felt golf was his better opportunity to compete at a high level.
In 2014 he realized he might be able to golf at the college level when he finished second at the 2014 Tucson City Men’s Amateur.
Over the past year and a half he began the recruiting process. He started out by contacting college golf programs and when there was mutual interest he began taking unofficial visits to college campuses. He took more than 10 visits, but it was William and Mary that caught his eye. He loved the campus, he loved the academics and the golf program. The school also happened to be his father’s alma mater and the school his older sister attends.
“When most people hear that they assume that is why I chose the school, but it really was a coincidence,” Hecht said.
The school checked off all the boxes for what Hecht was looking for in a school and a golf program.
“William and Mary caught my eye,” Hecht said. “It is one of the best academic schools in the country where I can still play Division I golf, that is something I really strove for. There are not many programs that you can look at that are high up academically and athletically.”
In addition to his standout golf career, Hecht has gotten it done in the classroom. He was named to the 2016 FCWT All-Academic team and the 2016 Optimist Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team as well as being a National AP Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society.