Learning the recruiting process

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Every year I receive dozens of calls from parents who complain that they aren't educated in the recruiting process. They don't know the ABC's of how to get their son evaluated, how to get him exposure and how to deal with college coaches.

Recruiting is a business and parents have to understand that it isn't a social hour. The college coaches are the pros and the parents are the amateurs. In this game, it is no contest. But it doesn't have to be that way. Parents need to take a firm control of the recruiting process.

Here is a typical case: A parent said her son was her first child to experience the recruiting process and she had absolutely no idea that college coaches were evaluating athletes during their junior year. She wasn't aware that the process began so soon.

"We did send out his highlights to many colleges after his junior year but there was not much on the film to see and we received no response because he didn't get much of a chance to show what he could do for whatever reason," she said.

"We didn't have any relationship with college coaches. Only one school contacted him over his junior year but that fizzled out and we don't know why. The big push did not start until his senior year when I learned it may be too late. Luckily, I had a friend who knew a college coach and put the two of the in contact. The coach liked what he saw and things went from there."

What she learned from her experience and what she advises other parents who are about to embark on the recruiting process is that high school coaches need to explain how the process works during an athlete's freshman year, so they know what to be prepared for.

Parents who believe their sons or daughters have the potential to be a scholarship athlete in college should take the initiative from the outset. Talk to your high school coaches. There are many informative books on the subject. There is no excuse for not knowing everything you and your child need to know about the recruiting process.

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I would like to elaborate on Tom's comments. Parents and students need to also understand how long the odds are that their son or daughter will get a scholarship. Division I football and basketball are considered revenue sports and typically represent the economic engine of a college sports program. Only the very best athletes get those opportunities and that judgment is not based on awards, honors, stats, etc. It is based on projected potential. Go to the NCAA website and look at the odds for each level - high school through professional.

But don't be too discouraged. There are plenty of opportunities to play in non-revenue club and varsity sports. Some might involve an athletic grant-in-aid. Usually those scholarships are fewer and divided into "partial scholarships." Women have better opportunities then men because Title IX requires a 60/40 split of scholarships in favor of the men and much of that is eaten up by the 85 football scholarships.

The so-called "lower divisions" of athletic competition - Divisions II, III and NAIA offer lots of opportunity. Division III schools are not permitted to give athletic grants-in-aid, so instead, the GOOD STUDENT/athlete may be awarded an academic or merit scholarship with the implicit understanding that they will pursue their sport although they are not required to do so. Often called something like a Presidential or Regents' Scholarship or some other name, these scholarships look at the total student, not just their athletic profile. The trick, as Tom alluded to, is to get noticed by those schools because their coaches don't have the recruiting budgets that the revenue sports do in Division I. Fortunately, thanks in part to technology, it is much easier to "be discovered." A college planning consultant who is expert in finding the right fit - academically, financially and athletically - can be an invaluable asset in this regard. But as Tom said, it is up to the parent and the student athlete to put themselves in a position to maximize the opportunities to play a sport in college.


You continue to provide great advice and information for student-athletes and their families, as you have for like 100 years?:)...thank you.
As someone who works in the recruiting field I applaud your dedication to these families. Parents need this information earlier then they are getting it. As you mentioned freshman year is when they should be starting the process of educating themselves.
As a former D1 student-athlete I chose to get involved in the recruiting business to assist families with this overwhelming process. I read every one of your articles and you are always right on the money with your advice. Student-athletes go through this process only once and they need to get it right! My goal is to reach these families with good, solid recruiting advice and individual guidance as early as possible so they are not receiving what I like to call "bleacher" advice from other parents as overwhelmed as they are.
Keep doing what your doing so well!


And this is where I come in. I am a high school football coach, who as a parent, also had to learn tons about the recruiting process. I graduated in 1980, so it was a 23 yr. gap between my recruiting and my oldest son's. There was so much I didn't know. And I got schooled well in the process.

By the time my youngest son got to this stage, I was very well prepared. I knew when, where, and how to do things. He's now on scholarship @ Winona St. Univ.
My experiences and the desire to make sure that other parents and players didn't go through what I went through inspired MyRecruit.org.

My little recruiting consultant service was began just for parents like the one we read about in the blog. I don't get kids scholarships. I show kids and parents how the process works, what needs to be done, the timetables for different things that are part of recruiting, and how to build those oh so important relationships with college coaches.

Parents have also been duped by "recruiting services." Which makes it hard for me because by business gets lumped in with those services. What they do (which is very, very little) is not what I do. I know I got duped by a highly respected service based right here in Chicago. I paid big money, wound up doing ALL the legwork that I thought I was paying them to do, and then they had the gall to put the Winona State logo on my son's profile as if they had ANYTHING to do with him going there. I was appalled.

Parents, getting your kid recruited is a daunting task. It takes time, money, perserverance, and patience. Most of all, you can't "wait around." That's the WORST thing you can do.

haha the comments made sound like their from Chris K. Athletes dont need to to waste money on recruiting services. They cant get you a scholarship neither can your coach. Its up to you

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on January 3, 2010 11:39 AM.

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