THE MYTHS & REALITIES
Many student-athletes have the dream of one-day playing college sports. In order for those dreams to become a reality a number of steps need to be taken to put one-self in the position to be recruited.
The days of sitting by the phone during your senior year and waiting for the phone to ring with a scholarship offer are gone. In today’s recruiting world, college coaches start to track good athletes in their freshman and sophomore years in high school. If you are a senior and have not received any letters or phone calls from coaches, your dream of playing college sports may be over.
Here are some numbers to remember – only 1 in 11 (9%) high school athletes play college sports and only 1 in 100 (1%) play Division I sports. Does this mean you can’t play college sports if you are a good athlete? No – it means that you must be proactive in the recruiting process so that you are in front of as many schools as possible by your junior year.
You must remember that there are the following divisions for college sports:
- Division I (Scholarship) 4 Year Schools
- Division II (Scholarship) 4 Year Schools
- Division III (Non-Scholarship – Financial Award Packages) 4 Year Schools
- Division I (Scholarship/Financial Award) 4 Year Schools
- Division II (Scholarship/Financial Award) 4 Year Schools
- Division I (Scholarship/Financial Award) 2 Year Schools
- Division II (Scholarship/Financial Award) 2 Year Schools
There are approximately 2100 colleges and universities that offer athletic programs within these guidelines, so as you can see, there are a number of opportunities out there if you want to play college sports.
The easiest way to understand the recruiting process is to understand the “Recruiting Funnel”.
At the top of the funnel, all the student-athletes that are being recruited are put into the top of the funnel.
Once all of the potential recruits are in the funnel, the following steps take place:
- Coaches analyze athletic ability of each recruit “Are They Good Enough To Play For Us?”
- Coaches look at roster openings/spots “Do We Have a Roster Spot Available?”
- Recruiting Questionnaire “Did The Student-Athlete Complete The Questionnaire”
- Calls “Am I Receiving Phone Calls From The Coaches On A Regular Basis”
- Video “Have Schools Requested Video Tapes Of My Games”
- Visits “Have I Been Offered An Official Visit or Visits To Schools”
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL
Colleges only have so many scholarships and/or financial packages to offer each year. A student-athlete can go through all of the above steps and come home after the official visit only to discover that there will be no scholarship/financial award offer.
My question is...Would you like to be in one recruiting funnel or several hundred recruiting funnels?
College coaches look at 3 attributes when recruiting a student-athlete
- Character: Coaches don’t recruit problems – they want high character athletes
- Academics: The better the grades, the more opportunities there are for the athlete
- Athletics: Coaches want athletes that are always working to get better
If all things are equal from an athletic standpoint, coaches will make their recruiting decision based on the character of the student-athlete and their academic success. Recent NCAA legislation has put a greater emphasis on academics and the academic standards will get even tougher starting with the 2008 high school graduating class.
Just think about missing out on $25,000 - $50,000 or even $75,000 worth of scholarships or financial award packages. This happens to student-athletes every year all over the country and most of the time, they didn’t understand the recruiting process and that scholarships and financial award monies were available to them based on their academic and athletic abilities.