HOW COLLEGES RECRUIT To achieve your dream of playing college athletics, it is critical that you understand the recruiting process and where you are in that process. The recruiting process is divided into four steps. We will discuss each of these steps below. Be honest with yourself and determine if you are being recruited at the level you think you should.
Identification - The MOST critical step in the process. College Coaches use a variety of methods to identify athletes. Until identified you, you have NO chance of being recruited. You must get identified by as many schools as possible, as early as possible. Following are several of the most common means of identification used by Collegiate Athletic programs:
Regional & State Competitions - Regional Tournaments and State Championships offer centralized venues to see multiple players from a large geographic area. Not participating in these tournaments reduces your chances of being identified by schools outside your local region.
Summer Camps - Coaches use Summer Camps to identify prospective athletes for their programs. Most college camps identify Freshman and Sophomores that can be evaluated throughout High School. With 200-400 athletes in camp and several camps per year, you must be a true stand out to set yourself apart enough during camp to be identified.
Club Leagues & AAU Teams - College Coaches look to club teams and AAU ball to identify athletes that compete year round and at a level of competition that often exceeds that of the local High School.
Coaches Recommendations - College Coaches have a network of contacts between other coaches. Recommendations from your High School, Club or AAU coach can help get you identified. Identification through this method is limited by your coach’s time, willingness to recommend you, their contact network, and the past credibility of their recommendations.
Video is a big part of the identification process as it allows a college coach to evaluate a prospect in their office to determine if they want to watch a prospect in person. Because most colleges prefer short skills videos its important to include in the film the drills and footage that allows them to easily identify a prospect. And of course as a prospect gets older and improves the video needs to be updated. The importance of this tool is evident. Your video must “compete” with the videos from other qualified athletes being evaluated. A personalized, professionally edited video that shows a personal interview, a coaches recommendation, some personal conditioning, basic skills footage, and some key game footage will provide a college coach with needed information and a memorable way to evaluate your potential in their program.
Evaluation - The second step in the process is evaluation. This step begins with Qualification. This qualification and evaluation begins as early as your Freshman year.
Qualification - A questionnaire is sent to determine if you qualify for their program. Colleges mass mail hundreds, if not thousands, of initial letters and questionnaires. Receiving these letters means you have been identified, but does not mean you are being recruited. The number of questionnaires you receive indicates the level of identification you have achieved. Top recruits will receive several hundred questionnaires. Returned Questionnaires allow colleges to evaluate you academically and socially to see if you are a good student and a good citizen. Colleges use this information to sort through students, and “weed out” prospects that do not fit their program. If you are qualified, you will be evaluated athletically and compared with athletes across the country.
Evaluation Periods - The NCAA has restricted colleges to a limited number of preset days that can be spent evaluating student athletes. For detailed information, see your College Bound Student Athlete Handbook. College coaches will not recruit an athlete that they have not seen perform. Coaches can rarely come see you play. Therefore, they are relying extensively on video tape for their evaluation.
Recruitment - The third step, the desired step, is recruiting. You are not considered a “Recruited Student Athlete” until you are “Contacted” by a college. The NCAA has strict regulations concerning Contacting. Please refer to your College Bound Student Athlete Handbook for details. “Contact Periods” are approved, established, and regulated by the NCAA. A college cannot “Contact” you until after July 1st between your Junior and Senior year. You must have been Identified, Qualified, and Evaluated before the first available Contact Period comes around following your Junior year. To be considered a Recruited Student Athlete, a college must have “Contacted” you.
One of the following three conditions must have occurred for you to be considered Recruited:
You must have been contacted by the college via telephone at least 2 times.
You must have been contacted in person by a college recruiter at least once.
You must have been offered an Official Visit paid for by the College.
A few key points to remember:
Receiving Questionnaires does not constitute a Contact.
You are not the only athlete being recruited for a given position.
When contacted, determine the schools interest level by what they are offering. Official visits cost money. Are they interested in you or are they willing to spend resources on you?
Offer - The final step is the scholarship offer. Generally made through a National Letter of Intent (NLI). The NLI is a binding agreement between you and the offering institution. It commits you to attend class and compete for one year. If you attempt to get out of a signed NLI, it could cost you a year of eligibility.
The recruiting process is quite extensive and complex. You have worked hard to hone your skills and become a potential collegiate athlete. A clear knowledge of this process will help you, but the best way to successfully navigate the recruiting process is to have Roesle Sports Consulting on your side.
Dennis Roesle | firstname.lastname@example.org | (850) 723-2936