Everyone has an opinion about the college recruiting process. Friends, family, guidance counselors and coaches all have different ideas about what college recruiting is; however, opinions are very different than the hard cold facts.
What is the real truth about the college recruiting process and how does a student-athlete obtain opportunities?
Let’s start with four fundamental facts that will have an impact on any high school coach, parent or guidance counselor who is trying to help a student-athlete with college recruiting opportunities:
FACT No 1: There are more than 2,400 college athletic programs that make up the competitive landscape that is college sports. More than 1,600 of these colleges do not have the name of a state in their title – colleges with such names as Chapman, Coe, Oglethorpe, Occidental, Willamette, Wheaton or Worcester Polytechnic. All are excellent academic institutions that offer legitimate academic and athletic college opportunities and funding opportunities as well. Can you name even 25 different colleges that do not have the name of a state in their title? If not, you are a long way from having a sound college recruiting game plan.
RECRUITING RULE: Don’t play the “Name Game.”
Look at other colleges that have great academics, beautiful campuses, excellent environments and financial funding opportunities as well as good athletic options to participate in college sports. There are hundreds of schools out there.
FACT No 2: Less than .08 percent of all high school student-athletes will play NCAA Division I College Sports. If you have a student- athlete who is “elite”, you will know by his or her junior season and perhaps much earlier than that. Only about 10 percent of all college athletic programs are at the NCAA Division I level. More than 90 percent of all college playing opportunities are below the NCAA D-I level; therefore, it may be a good idea to expand your view if you want to achieve your vision of playing college sports.
RECRUITING RULE: Go where you’re wanted, not where you want to go.
Just because you see USC, Florida, Michigan or Duke on television, does not mean you can play there. There are more than 15 million high school student-athletes in the United States and Canada. Only five percent of senior athletes will move on and play college athletics; 99 percent will not be D-I student-athletes.
FACT No 3: More than 40 percent of all college student-athletes receive some form of academic funding. Academic funding is the No 1 way to receive financial assistance for college, even if you are a great athlete, not just a good athlete. It is important that students take both the SAT and ACT exams multiple times to achieve the best possible score. According to the NCAA rules, your scores cannot go down, they can only go up. The NCAA will take the highest portion of all your sub-scores and combine them together to provide you with the highest possible score for the test. This will provide you with the greatest number of college opportunities available and will assist you in qualifying for financial funding.
RECRUITING RULE: Be the best STUDENT-athlete, not just the most athletic student.
FACT No 4: There are more than 2,000 pages of recruiting rules, regulations and guidelines printed from seven different college governing bodies that outline eligibility guidance for the college recruiting process. Serious college prospects must sign up with the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers in order to receive written athletic scholarship offers and to take “Official Recruiting Visits” for any NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II or any NAIA colleges or universities. More than a decade ago, the NCAA established an academic clearinghouse. All high school transcripts, SAT and ACT scores had to be submitted to the clearinghouse by the various academic institutions, not by the student-athlete or parents. The clearinghouse name was changed in 2009 to the “Eligibility Center.” On September 1, 2 010, the NAIA established its own “Eligibility Center to better monitor and validate student-athletes’ academic eligibility and status.
RECRUITING RULE: A contact from a college coach is not a contract.
If you do not complete all eligibility requirements, you will lose opportunities. No matter who you are, or what sport you coach or play, there are questions that need to be asked and answered so that you do not make mistakes or cost yourself or an athlete potential recruiting opportunities. Spend enough time doing research to be of help, not a hindrance. Don’t just ask for opinions from anyone available. The best resource may be your local college coach. After all, who knows more about college recruiting than a college coach? Knowledge is power.