Frequently Asked Questions about Recruiting
When should I start the recruiting process?
The recruiting process starts really depends on the sport. The recruiting process can start as early as the eighth grade.
During your Freshman year you will want to meet with your high school counselor and come up with an academic game plan. Make sure you are meeting all the needs of the NCAA and NAIA in addition to the specific colleges that interest you. Look for summer camps that will help you develop as a student-athlete and gain you some valuable exposure to coaches as well.
During your Sophomore year research programs you are interested in and contact coaches. The summer after your sophomore year you should consider attending the camps held by those teams.
Your Junior year is the most important in the recruiting process. This is the year coaches will be looking at your statistics and the admissions department will be looking at you academic achievements. Make sure you have already established a relationship with coaches so that when your senior year starts they already know you are interested in their program.
By the time you start your senior year you should have narrowed down your list of possible schools to five or six. If you have not already established a relationship with the coach you should do it now.
What is an unofficial visit?
An unofficial visit is a visit that you take to a college campus at your own expense. Unofficial visits can be taken at anytime and as many times as you would like. While on an unofficial visit the athletic department is allowed to give you up to 3 tickets to a sporting event, but no other perks or gifts.
What is an official visit?
An official visit is a visit that you make to a college paid for by the team or athletic department. The school is able to pay for transportation, lodging, meals and reasonable entertainment for the recruit while they are on their visit. The visit may be up to 48 hours long. Official visits can only be taken in an athlete’s senior year and each recruit can take five.
Where can I find the recruiting rules and regulations?
Recruiting rules change every year. Check with the NCAA and the NAIA to make sure you have the most accurate information. You should also be able to review the rules in the compliance department of the athletic department that you are interested in. Make sure you review all the rules while you are in the recruiting process. Don’t make yourself ineligible because you didn’t know the rules.
How important are grades and test scores?
Getting good grades and having good test scores is just as important as having good statistics in your sport. A coach can only recruit you if you are academically eligible to compete at that specific school. Not only do you have to qualify for the academic requirements of the NCAA or NAIA but you will want to make sure you know what the academic requirements are for the school you are interested in attending.
Don’t believe the myth that a coach can get you into the school if he wants you bad enough. A coach still has to answer to the University and NCAA or NAIA on the GPA and graduation rates of their athletes. Most coaches won’t gamble on a student-athlete who hasn’t demonstrated he can handle the academic responsibilities of the school.
Remember you’re a Student-Athlete. You need to perform in both.
Are you prepared to pay for college even if you have an athletic scholarship?
An athletic scholarship is a great way to get a quality education while competing in the sport you love, but just because you are good at your sport doesn’t mean that the cost of college will go away. A majority of athletic scholarships are partial scholarships.
What kinds of schools can offer athletic scholarships?
NCAA Division I & II schools, NAIA schools, and some Junior Colleges are all eligible to give athletic scholarships. NCAA Division III schools are able to give other types of scholarships and financial aid.
How important is timing when I’m trying to get recruited?
Timing is everything. Coaches recruit based on what they need to complete their team. If you play a position or do an event that the team is currently strong in chances are they will not need to recruit you. When looking at programs you will want to research their current roster to see what their depth chart is relative to your talents.
How early can I give a verbal agreement?
You can give a verbal agreement at any time in the recruiting process. This verbal agreement is telling a coach that you intend on joining their program. You should keep in mind that a verbal agreement is not binding if there is a coaching change or if you have a career ending injury a school does not have to offer a scholarship. Even though a verbal agreement is not binding student athletes that brake verbal agreements are not looked favorably upon. Once the signing date for your sport approaches you will sign a NLI with the school that will make the scholarship agreement binding and official.
Should I sign early with a college?
Signing early means that you are signing a National Letter of Intent (or NLI) with a school in November of your senior year. This does not mean that you are giving the school a verbal commitment.
When am I allowed to contact college coaches?
According to eligibility rules you are allowed to contact college coaches at any time. It is against the rules for a coach to contact you at certain times but if you initiate the conversation or contact they can reply. Make sure that when you make contact you have something noteworthy to tell them or have well thought-out questions to ask–you don’t want to be known as the recruit who wastes their time.