Whether you’re getting started on the recruiting scene or you’ve been at it for awhile, there are more rules than you can to keep track of. Fortunately, the burden is on the coaches to abide by the rules.
However, it’s especially good to be familiar with the recruiting calendar, because it will affect your expectations.
“Why aren’t any coaches calling my kid?” “When are we allowed to visit campuses?”
These are just a couple questions parents and athletes ask at one time or other.
The NCAA has a great resource page that answers the most-asked questions, especially about recruiting calendars. And that’s the topic of this week’s post.
NCAA member schools have adopted rules to create an equitable recruiting environment that promotes student-athlete well-being. The rules define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted.
Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of student-athletes.
The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a contact?
A contact occurs any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face contact with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college’s campus.
What is a contact period?
During a contact period a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.
What is an evaluation period?
During an evaluation period a college coach may watch college-bound student-athletes compete, visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents. However, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college’s campus during an evaluation period.
What is a quiet period?
During a quiet period, a college coach may only have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents on the college’s campus. A coach may not watch student-athletes compete (unless a competition occurs on the college’s campus) or visit their high schools. Coaches may write or telephone college-bound student-athletes or their parents during this time.
What is a dead period?
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
What is the difference between an official visit and an unofficial visit?
Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by college-bound student-athletes or their parents are unofficial visits.
During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the prospect, lodging and three meals per day for both the prospect and the parent or guardian, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event.
The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.
What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete when the student-athlete agrees to attend a Division I or II college or university for one academic year. Participating institutions agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Other forms of financial aid do not guarantee the student-athlete financial aid.
The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to receive financial aid or participate in sports.
Signing an National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process since participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already signed letters with other participating schools.
A student-athlete who has signed a National Letter of Intent may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she will lose one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at their new school before being eligible to compete.
What are recruiting calendars?
Recruiting calendars help promote the well-being prospective student-athletes and coaches and ensure competitive equity by defining certain time periods in which recruiting may or may not occur in a particular sport.
Yesterday, I was talking with a woman who recently completed her volleyball career at one of the top D2 schools in the nation. She gave me some good insights that I wanted to pass along to you. Her husband, also a star athlete, added to her advice. The conversation lasted only a few minutes, but here’s what I learned:
1. If you can’t compete at the D1 level, don’t. She told me she was too short to play D1, so she didn’t try to get onto a team at that level. Instead, she went with a program that was a good fit, and was a scholarship athlete on a championship team. She had a great experience. I’m sure she actually could have played D1 somewhere, but probably not in a quality program where she ended up. Continue reading
I just received this comment and question from a student-athlete. His question is not uncommon, and his thoughts about his situation are not uncommon either. I thought that his question was so important that I’d answer it here for you, too.
Q: I’m going to be a Sophomore next year and I might go for Varsity football. I play quarterback and I’m almost 6’0. I have good grades. What do I have to do to get a scholarship to a D1 school? Where I live is a small town and our Division is D4, so it harder to get scouts to look at you and to get scholarships. I would do anything to get to a d1 school. I always work hard and try to be the best that I could. What should i do?? Continue reading
Although most athletic scholarships are one-year renewable scholarships, there is a move towards four-year guaranteed scholarships. That’s good news for student-athletes. According to the Indiana Business Journal, the Big Ten made a startling announcement late last month:
“The Big Ten Conference said [Tuesday] that it supports guaranteed four-year scholarships and improved medical coverage for its athletes.
“The league announced in a statement signed [Tuesday] by its 14 presidents that it proposes working within the NCAA structure to provide greater academic security for its athletes by guaranteeing scholarships for four years, even if an athlete can no longer compete or has left for a professional career. Athletic scholarships are typically awarded on a one-year renewable basis. Continue reading
College campuses are about to open across the country for the Fall semester. The TV will be swarming with football games, and every one on the field will be a scholarship athlete. D1 schools, at least.
So how did these guys get a scholarship? How did coaches find them? What does it take to be a scholarship athlete? How can my son or daughter get a prized athletic scholarship next year, or the year after that… or the year after that?
These are good questions, and they deserve answers.
Yes, coaches of all sports are looking for scholarship athletes, and they’re looking year-round. Recruiting is a big business, and coaches must be as good at recruiting as they are at coaching. That’s the difference between an average program and a great program.
How does a high school athlete, get in the cross-hairs? In a good way, of course. How does he or she get on a coaches’ radar? I was interviewed by a reporter a couple days ago and told him what I tell you… take the initiative. Don’t sit back and wait, or you’ll miss that scholarship.
Do you really think all those scholarship athletes you’ll see on TV this fall were somehow just “discovered” by their coaches? Some yes, but most no. They had to do some work to get noticed. And that’s what we have been pounding into the minds of our Recruit-Me families for over a decade. Here are some fast-start actions:
1. Pull together a database of colleges you’re interested in. Get the coaches’ contact information. It is all available online on their websites.
2. Begin crafting your introductory letter and email. Keep it short.
3. Begin shooting your performance video. You can put in on YouTube when you’re done. That way, you can send coaches there when you contact them.
I also want to urge you to get some help. You’ll find some resources on our website, and there are also other places you can go online to enhance your athletic scholarship experience.
Now get started.
As you start the new year, are you looking for new ways to get recruited? First, you need to come to terms with the fact that college coaches will not make the first contact. You MUST take the initiative and contact THEM. That leads me to the second point, the topic of this post:
Contact coaches the right way. It means there are wrong ways that just don’t work. And taking one of those wrong approaches will probably kill a coach’s interest before you get started with them. As we’ve worked with parents and athletes, we know there are some approaches that are just misguided. We’ve seen people trying to do these things and none of them are effective. They are usually harmful to your chances, too.
Let me run down a few of these for you. The first one is sending out scores of identical “Dear Coach…” emails. Coaches can smell out a spam campaign a mile away. If they get a non-personalized email, then they’re just going to generally hit delete. Now let me make it clear– there is a role for email contact, but not this way.
Another wrong way is to make the first contact by mass mailing DVD’s to coaches. Most coaches don’t want to take the time to watch an athlete’s video until after they’ve done some screening of the athlete’s facts and stats. It’s easy to get misled into using this DVD mass mailing approach, because there are a lot of local and national athlete video production services. They’ll create a great looking video of you (or your son or daughter). They’ll add that cool music, the title, the captions; these are good to have but don’t use them for introducing yourself or your son or daughter to a coach. That comes later.
Another wrong approach is just filling out a questionnaire on the school’s website. These days, just about every program has that fill-it-out questionnaire. You’re going to blend in with the crowd if you try this as the introductory approach. You don’t want to blend in. You want to stand out. You’ll eventually be filling out a school’s questionnaire, but not as the first contact. It’s really a bad approach.
If your son or daughter wants to get on a coach’s radar, wants to be recruited by certain schools, how should your family do it? The best method is something I personally learned early on with my twin boys and what I’ve been teaching families for years. It’s this: Create a well crafted introductory packet to send to the college coaches. This information needs to introduce the athlete to the coach in a very personal way, one that gets their interest and makes them want to know more about the athlete.
It should give the personal and athletic details that a coach wants to see at first glance so they can make a quick screening decision. You should be selective on what you write, and should provide just the right information to get the coaches’ interest. It’s really important that you make a good first impression.
For instance, there’s a kid from New York that we helped with his introductory package. His dad was so excited about the results that he emailed us within a week. He told us that within five days, two coaches from Division 1 schools had already contacted his high school coach to check up on him. This family did a good introductory package, it was powerful.
So keep in mind the first two things you need to know in order to break the scholarship code: first, you can’t just sit back waiting to be discovered and, second, you have to contact the coaches the right way so they’ll begin a relationship with you.
This is just a small piece of the scholarship and recruiting puzzle. Your Recruit-Me Premium Membership will provide you with all the tools and coaching you need to break the scholarship code and get an athletic scholarship. If you’re ready to get started, then I encourage you to enroll in our Premium Membership so we can work with you all the way through the scholarship process.