Printed with permission from studentathleteworld.com ( http://www.studentathleteworld.com/signup/athlete)
It seems like everyone who watches ESPN, logs on to Rivals.com, or watches high school sports has an opinion about how to get recruited. You need to be very careful here! Even people who mean well sometimes just don’t fully understand the reruiting process from the college coach’s point of view. Below are some of the major myths we commonly hear.
1 – If you are good enough, college coaches will find you
This is an age-old adage that is often heard throughout the recruiting process and is both out-dated and incorrect. These words are often spoken by an older coach who wishes to dismiss any thoughts by the student-athlete or parent that they should market themselves to institutions by sending out their information. The fact is that this statement is true if you are one of the top 100 players in the country, have already received a great deal of accolades by your sophomore year, and most likely already have several scholarship offers in hand. This is simply not true for most student-athletes outside of the top 100. The only way they will know about you for sure is if you send them your profile and express your interest in them. Recruiting is now a global process and despite your skills or success in high school, it is extremely easy to be overlooked by college coaches who have thousands of athletes to scout and hundreds of potential venue’s to scout them at. College coaches don’t read your local town paper and they probably don’t attend your games and only the top 1% of high school athletes are truly discovered. Your performance on the field or court will go a long way toward determining whether or not you get a scholarship offer. You need to be getting results that place you near the top of your competition if you want to get noticed. However, there are other factors which will determine whether or not you get an offer including; grades, character, work ethic, coach-ability, etc.
2 – If you receive a letter from a coach, you are being recruited
Coaches send out thousands of letters to high school athletes they may or may not have heard of and there are probably 500 kids tearing open the same exact letter you received. Receiving a letter means a coach knows your name and knows you play the sport they coach. Respond to the letter and follow-up with the coach. Until the coach calls you, invites you to the school and makes you a formal offer to join their program, the letters don’t mean too much.
3 – I made All-State so coaches will be calling me
Coaches also have limited resources and if you don’t let them know that you want to play in college and get a scholarship, they can’t recruit you. The athlete who contacts coaches first and takes control of their recruiting is the one who will get the phone calls.
4 – Only the schools that send you letters are interested in you
The schools that send you letters initially got your name from somewhere (colleagues, scouting services, camp list, all-conference lists, your coaches, or your personal contact) Just because you have never received a letter from a school doesn’t mean they are necessarily not interested, it may just mean they don’t have your information. The only way you will truly know if they have any interest or not is if you submit your profile to them so they can evaluate you as a prospect.
5 – Recruiting starts Senior year
While some of the more aggressive parts of the process do happen when you are a Senior, those who wait to START the process as Seniors are often disappointed. It’s a common occurrence to have verbal offers out and accepted for a graduating class as early as 18 months before your high school graduation. In high profile sports, verbal offers are accepted as early as middle school! Regardless of the level of play, recruiting starts behind the scenes far earlier than you think or know about.
6 – College coaches only recruit top players
Top level NCAA DI schools only do. But in some sports there are as many as 1,800 colleges to choose from. College coaches recruit anyone they think can play at their program and recruit anyone who shows an interest in their program. Just because you are not the star of your team does not mean you cannot play in college. There are many players that do not start because there are other talented players at their positions, but many of those players have the skills to play in college as well.
7 – I can walk on at the school of my choice and eventually get the chance to play
Most walk-ons end up good Intramural players. The media glorifies the walk-ons that make it, for good reason, because few do. Coaches over-recruit because college coaching is competitive. Thousands of kids each year find themselves cut after “try-outs” that are little more than admissions tricks to raise school enrollment.
8 – College Coaches just throw mass mailings in the trash
It really depends on the school and sport. Many college programs make sure somebody takes a look at ALL incoming profiles and they at least send an e-mail or form letter to that prospect. Still other college coaches have admitted that they do throw them in the trash or only look at a few. It’s best to follow up our mailings with a personal note. Many schools will respond. Some will not recruit you. That’s why you need to target 100 schools, not 10.
9 – Coaches do not like being contacted by prospective athletes
Quite the opposite, coaches hope to hear from good athletes who are interested in their program. Some blue-chip athletes come to their attention naturally, but often there aren’t enough for a coach to fill his or her roster. Many high school athletes don’t want to make contact with college coaches because they are afraid the coach doesn’t want to hear from them. For smaller schools, even some minor Division I schools, they need and want to hear from potential players. These schools don’t have the budgets to fly around the country looking for qualified players. These schools rely on word of mouth recruiting and they also rely on some potential athletes making contact with them.
10 – My coach handles all of the recruiting stuff for me, I don’t need to worry about it
Some coaches are very good at helping their players get the opportunity to play sports in college and have a great feel for the recruiting process and how it works. However, there are a lot of coaches who don’t feel like this is a large part of their job description and don’t do as much as others in terms of contacting college coaches and sending out game films. Whether or not your high school coach excels in this area or not, you must realize that this is YOUR life and that you and your parents have to do everything in your power to make your dreams a reality. You must send your profile to every school that you are interested in.
11 – High school coaches are qualified to determine if I am college athletic material
While many coaches are, some are not and many never played their sport in college. The bottom line, there are many factors that determine if you can play in college and your high school coach may have no idea what your potential may be.
12 – You shouldn’t send your profile to a school unless you know you would like to go there, and you should probably only send your profile to a couple of schools
In order to give yourself as many options as possible when it comes time to pick a college, you need to send your profile to ANY school in which you may have an interest in attending. This way you can slowly narrow your list of potential choices after you gauge which schools have an interest in you. Remember, if you do not send your profile to a school, there is very little chance that they will offer you the opportunity to play for their university.
13 – Most of these ‘scouting services’ that I have heard about are scams
In any business there are people that will take advantage of you. Most of the businesses I’ve come across offer a great product. Some charge way too much. With us it’s pretty simple. We are going to provide the services of e-mailing your profile, making you a professional highlight film, providing a college scouting report on you, and providing unlimited guidance throughout the process. These are valuable services. Let us show you what we will do and our record of success. This program is not for everyone, but for those that match our ideal profile, we can really SAVE you a lot of money.
14 – Division I programs have big recruiting budgets
Some of the larger schools with top notch football and basketball programs do have large recruiting budgets but most do not. There are very few college coaches that have the ability to fly around the country to recruit players and have an endless coaching staff that they can send out to scout, especially when their team doesn’t generate any money for their school, which is just about every D1 team that doesn’t play football or basketball.
15 – Division III Schools are weaker athletically
In some cases yes, but in many cases no. Many Division III programs have very talented athletic programs that are better than many DII’s and even DI schools. They are still talented and dedicated athletes who wanted to continue their athletic career in college. If you think you can just stroll onto a DIII program you are in for a surprise. If you haven’t watch a top 25 DIII game and you think this way you are severely limiting your choices.
16 – I can’t go to a Division III School because I need an athletic scholarship
Many DIII schools offer attractive financial aid programs and you should not overlook any school, even if they do not offer athletic scholarships. Many student-athletes go to DIII schools for free because they are good students with family need and used leverage to get the best deal. If you get a $5,000 athletic scholarship at a $30,000 DI or DII school you still have $25,000 a year to pay! The amount of scholarship is not important. The bottom line price you have to pay is.
17 – All colleges offer athletic scholarships
Only Division I & II colleges can offer athletic scholarships (plus Junior Colleges and some NAIA schools). Division III Programs can only offer financial aid and academic grant money for top students. While DI and DII colleges can offer athletic scholarships, after football and basketball there are many programs that may only have 1 or 2 scholarships for their entire team and they will divide that money up to several players.
18 – Most athletes get a full athletic scholarship or no scholarship
Full scholarships are very rare and most coaches divide scholarship money up between several players. The only guaranteed full scholarships are for DI basketball and football. Every other sport and team divides money up to many players and no other team or program is guaranteed to be fully funded.
19 – All Division I & II programs have scholarships available
While the NCAA mandates how many scholarships a school can offer for a particular sport, it is up to the school whether or not they want to and can offer the number of scholarships allotted to them. Example: Division I baseball programs are allowed to offer 11.7 scholarships to their entire team, but many division I baseball schools may offer only 3 or 4 scholarships and that will be true for other sports as well.
20 – Bad grades won’t matter if your talent is good enough
Part of this statement is true. The best skilled athletes always attract the most attention from college coaches. The problem is that a coach must look at the athlete’s transcript, GPA and SAT/ACT scores. The coach will have to see how these match up with the school’s minimal requirements. If the athlete does not meet the requirements, the coach will be forced to drop the athlete from their recruiting list, even if the athlete would be a tremendous asset to the team. Recruiting athletes can be expensive for coaches and schools. Most coaches won’t invest their time and money recruiting an athlete who is not going to be admitted into their school, or is going to fail out or become academically ineligible. If you don’t have a 3.0 GPA or higher, over 50% of NCAA DI programs won’t be able to get you past the admissions office. Grades are becoming the single most important factor in recruiting. Admissions and administration offices are putting more pressure on athletic departments to recruit athletes that succeed once they get into school. Sure you may be ‘eligible’ to be recruited as a D1 athlete with a 2.3 Core GPA, 820 M/V SAT, or 17 ACT, but unless you are a top blue chip athlete, not many schools are going to recruit you.
21 – Showcases, camps, and clinics alone will get me recruited.
The main problem with showcases is that if 100 players will attend and Division I coaches will be watching the same five or ten players. That’s how showcases work. The coaches have already identified the potential DI student-athletes that will be there, and they use the showcases as a means of evaluating those specific players. With few exceptions, college coaches go to showcases with a game plan and go to evaluate current prospects, not find new ones. If a Division II/III level player is intent on going to a showcase, it is critical for that athlete to pinpoint around ten schools they are interested in and find out which showcases those schools will be attending. Just showing up to any random showcase and hoping to get discovered is not a good idea as they will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the better players and not gain much from the experience. Also, realize many of these events main purpose is to generate revenue.
22 – There are very few scholarships for women.
Legislation which mandates equal sports opportunities for college women is partly responsible for the increase in scholarships for women. Some coaches say they are having trouble giving away the scholarship money available for these and other women’s sports because currently there just are not enough women applicants.A major reason may be that many do not know these sports exist for women at the collegiate level.