Check out some important changes to the college athletic recruiting process including changes to financial aid, official visits, NCAA eligibility standards and more…
Athletic Recruiting at the Ivy League
The Ivy League is a conference consisting of some of the nation’s most competitive, elite, and historic schools in the United States. In no particular order they include: Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Princeton and Penn. Hundreds of thousands of amazing students apply and are rejected each year from these schools. The Ivy League eyes its athletic programs very carefully and are very particular about the high school athletes they accept and reject.
As a league, the Ivy’s monitor athletic admissions via a concept called the Academic Index. The academic index is not a secret, but it’s not something readily discussed by coaches and administrators. The academic index is a computed score of three components – SAT I, SAT II, and GPA (Class rank was removed in 2011 from the calculation). The better scoring your admitted class is, the higher the school’s mean AI, so Harvard will have a higher AI than say Dartmouth. Knowing where a recruited S-A falls in relation to the overall student body is a factor admissions uses when deciding on an applicant. The schools with the three highest Academic Index scores are Harvard, Yale & Princeton with scores usually hovering around 220.
We spoke with Jeff Orleans, Executive Director of the Council of Ivy Group Presidents (since retired) who helped explain the AI in more detail. “Ivy admission deans don’t use the AI to make individual admissions decisions, but rather to know where candidates who are recruited athletes fall within the total pool of all applicants to the school. Knowing an applicant’s AI merely lets a dean know where the student would fall within the school’s student body: the dean then makes an individual decision on every applicant, considering a wide range of factors in addition to high school record and testing. The issue is not who the coach recruits, but who the admissions office accepts.”
As is often the case, football has its own set of circumstances. Ivy League schools are allowed to admit an average of 30 players a year. Based on their scores, recruits fall into one of four categories or bands, something like A, B, C, D, with A being the highest band and the coach is allowed a certain number of recruits for each band. For instance, an Ivy football program may get 9 A, 14 B, 5 C, and 2 D recruits. The “D” recruits offer the highest risk and have the lowest (AI), as they will be the lowest academic qualifiers, but players the coach may want on their team. In this case, the school is willing to take a risk on these players, but because they are only allowing two of them in this classification, they are limiting their risk and in the long run, protecting the coach from having ineligible players, protecting the players by not putting them in a situation to struggle academically and protecting themselves by keeping up their reputation as a top academic university with high standards.
This model is used at every Ivy school, the only variance being the individual score range will vary from school to school, meaning one school’s lowest ban might have a range from 185 to 195 and another’s lowest ban might have a range from 176-186. This makes recruiting much easier for football at this level, as a coach already knows if a recruit can or cannot get into their school. If a player doesn’t fall into the school’s AI profile, the coach simply can’t recruit him, and won’t.
Other Ivy Sports
As for the rest of the sports, Orleans noted that the Ivy League clusters “Ivy Championship” sports (sponsored by five or more schools) and those are treated in the following manner. “Each school has a limit on the number of recruited athletes in these sports in any four-year period, based on which sports it sponsors (e.g., Columbia and Penn don’t sponsor men’s or women’s ice hockey, thus have slightly smaller limits). Within that limit, the school can apportion its recruiting as it wishes among sports and between years. But because it’s a rolling four-year total (i.e., same total for years 1-4, 2-5, 3-6, etc….) there’s an incentive to be pretty similar from year to year.”
The quality of these recruited student-athletes is also regulated: The mean AI of all of each year’s athletes at any school can’t deviate more than a set amount from the mean AI for the school’s overall student body. In layman’s terms, you need to be pretty close academically to the majority of students that attend the university.
NOTE: The minimum AI for all IVY League Schools was raised to 176 in 2011 (the max is 240). Also, the mean score at each school depends on the quality of the student body; therefore it will vary (slightly) from school to school.
How does the AI apply to the student-athlete? You can only control your GPA, and test scores, so don’t fret if you fit in the Index or not. One reason to not worry is that you might make the AI cut, but the coach is not recruiting your position this year. Since there are limits to the total number of S-A’s admitted, there is no room to push for a player who is not your top priority position wise. This is true at any school with selective admissions. If you think you are Ivy material, it’s smart to understand the AI. Once a coach sees your GPA, rank and SAT, they will have a good idea of what your AI is and if you are eligible to be recruited. Keep in mind that the admission dean and his or her office hold the ultimate say on your admission, not a coach.
Coaches protecting you
There are many coaches who don’t want to put you in a position where you may struggle academically, as it isn’t fair to you or them. You suffer academically and the coach and team suffer by losing an eligible player and one the coach may have been counting on to contribute to the team.
If you are an “iffy” student, playing college athletics will not make you a better student. The coach knows the time constraints and if they feel you will not be successful at the school, they may not push that hard for you, regardless of how good you are.
In many instances, you won’t even be recruited until the coach knows or thinks you can be accepted at the school academically. You may call them to talk about your fastball and the coach will want to talk about your SAT/ACT scores and GPA.
While the Ivy League does not use the National Letter of Intent program, they have what is called a Likely letter. The Likely letter is the Ivy League’s attempt to bring some certainty to the recruiting process. Likely Letters are provided to recruited student-athletes who have informed Ivy Coaches of their intention to play for them, have had their application reviewed by admissions, and the Likely Letter basically signifies that the Ivy School will grant you acceptance. In this case however, the Likely Letter is not binding like the National Letter of Intent, and it is possible for recruited S-A’s to tell Ivy coaches what they want to hear in order to secure more than one Likely Letter from Admissions. Because Ivy admission slots are so precious, coaches try to discourage this, but there is often nothing they can do about it.
Because the Ivy League does not use the NLI that other D1 College’s use, there is a lot of pressure put on recruits to commit to Ivy Programs. This isn’t something coaches necessarily want to do, but need to do. Anyone being recruited by Ivy Schools may often be told that while a spot on a team is open now, it may not be in several weeks (or after you walk out of the coach’s office) and that delaying your decision will only force the coach to offer your spot to another recruit who may be more interested in giving a verbal agreement and who may be landing at the airport in 30 minutes. This is the unfortunate aspect of not having access to the NLI program that legally binds recruited student-athletes to a school for one year.
Summary – Ivy Coaches cannot guarantee you admission and do not make admissions decisions – admission personnel make these decisions. While a coach may tell you that you will get in, there are cases where S-A’s are denied admission by the admissions board after a coach has extended a verbal offer. This sometimes happens when a new admissions director or athletic director is hired or the school got some bad publicity with other S-A’s and is trying to avoid accepting future players that may struggle academically. In most cases, if a coach extends a verbal offer to you, your credentials have been reviewed by admissions and the coach has received the OK to extend an offer. Rarely will a coach extend an offer before your information is reviewed by the admissions department, but this obviously doesn’t mean you are guaranteed admission. Recruiting at the Ivy League is fierce business and while all Ivy Schools are top academic institutions, they take their athletics very seriously. Because admission spots are so precious and there is no NLI program, Ivy coaches will compete very hard for the same athletes and will often pressure you to apply early or to give a verbal offer. If you are a talented athlete and a gifted academic student, then you can increase your chances of being accepted to an Ivy school provided that you are ready to commit.
What do college coaches look for?
What are college coaches looking for?
While some college coaches are looking for the prototypical athlete, big, strong, & fast, most coaches are simply looking for student-athletes that are 1) – Good athletes, 2) – Good athletes at their particular sport, 3) – Good academic students, 4) – Interested in their college, and last but not least, 5) – A good person.
Coaches seek out players that want to compete at the college level, can compete at the college level and that can succeed academically and socially at the college level. While some coaches sacrifice academic achievement when recruiting athletes, it’s important for coaches to know that you can gain admission to their university on your academic merits and you have the discipline to do the academic work that is required and that you will enjoy the university you have chosen.
There are many student-athletes who concentrate too much on athletics and think their athletic skill is enough to gain admission to college and get them through college. While all schools have different criteria for admittance, if your academic achievements is insufficient to gain acceptance to the school, it will not matter how good an athlete you are. Most college coaches will ask about your academic record first, because if you can’t get accepted to their school, they aren’t going to waste any additional energy in your recruitment.
As far as athletic ability is concerned, coaches simply want student-athletes that want to compete at the next level and have displayed a passion and desire to play their chosen sport. You don’t have to be the strongest, or the biggest, or the tallest athlete to succeed in college depending on the level you choose, but you have to be better than the majority of the high school athletes you compete against. Only a small percentage of high school athletes move on to play in college.
Since the college recruiting process is now a global process, meaning, coaches now look further away for student-athletes and student-athletes look further away for schools they can play at, it’s important for you to be able to distinguish yourself as a quality student-athlete. While this is often difficult to do, it’s important for you to market yourself through phone calls, letters, videos, & recommendations from instructors and coaches.
It is also important for college coaches to see you play, and usually in meaningful games. What’s a meaningful game? It’s a game that has some importance as to the outcome. While coaches attend showcases to scout players, rarely will a coach recruit a player off a showcase performance alone. That coach needs to see that player play in meaningful games to see how they perform under pressure, how they treat their teammates, opponents and ref’s or umpires, how they handle winning (and losing) and how they prepare for the game before the game.
One of the other factors that many parents and students overlook is the fact that coaches want to recruit players that have shown an interest in not only learning about their college and program but an interest in being part of their program. While athletic and academic talent are important, a coach needs to know that you are truly interested in their team and school, otherwise they will be apprehensive about recruiting you.
Athletic Resume Writing
Athletic recruiting resumes were all the rage back in the 80”s and early 90’s. The Internet didn’t exist and the only way to communicate your information to college coaches was via a recruiting resume sent in the mail. How times have changed. There is still a place for the resume, so let’s talk about some of the things you can include and where you might use them.
In 1973 Dave Winfield, the former major league baseball player graduated from the University of Minnesota. At 6″7″ and 250 pounds, Winfield was an imposing figure in the athletic world. Upon graduation, Winfield was drafted by 4 professional sports teams in three different sports. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres (baseball), the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and Utah Stars (ABA) and the Minnesota Vikings (football). Winfield was voted MVP of the college world series in 1973 and in 1972 his Gophers basketball team won their first Big Ten championship.
Winfield’s athletic resume in college was impressive and gave pro teams lots of stats. It was missing just one thing though, football stats! You might be interested to learn that Dave Winfield did not even play football in college. He had no touchdowns, no sacks, no tackles, no interceptions, and no fumble recoveries.
Many parents and students are now asking me, Do I still need a recruiting resume and what should I put on it? The answer, maybe and it depends.
Dave Winfield was able to get recruited to a professional football team with no stats to speak of. If he tried to create a football resume, it would have said College World Series MVP and 6’7″ – 250 pounds and the rest would have been blank!
Parents are obsessed with stats. In most cases they want to create a 2 page resume that has every stat their son or daughter has ever accumulated in high school. The problem is college coaches do not recruit stats and stats tell them very little about you as an athlete or as a person. One of the best quotes I saw from a college coach was as follows. “There are like 20,000 high schools that have a boys varsity basketball team in the country, and thus there are 20,000 leading scorers for every team. But just because those 20,000 kids lead their team in scoring doesn’t mean they will get recruited or can get recruited even though they have the best stats on their team!”
I myself played one year of high school baseball, and my stats were not that impressive, but I had a great arm and glove (an impossible stat to display on a piece of paper), I could dunk a basketball at 5’10” (hard to display athletic ability through stats), and for fun I used to catch fly balls in the outfield using my bare hand (they don’t have a stat for this!) Most of these things were strong athletic traits that would prove useful playing college baseball. Somehow I managed to walk on and start at a Division I baseball program without any high school stats of any significance.
Dave Winfield got drafted in football because he was an amazing athlete and really tall, and really fast, and really strong and really big. He also had the fortune of being able to display his skills to pro scouts for several years in college.
So what role can a resume play?
A resume can play several roles. A resume can be used to give to coaches you might come in contact with at tournaments, camps or clinics, tryouts, or showcases. It should be used as a supplement to what I will explain in the next paragraph. If you are going to an event, grab 30 resume’s and keep them in the car. You never know when you will need to hand it out. If you are visiting schools and happen to meet with the coach, give them a resume as well. They may have your information already, but it will serve as a refresher. I attended a football camp to watch the son of a parent who had purchased a book. During one of the breaks in camp activity the head coach from one of the colleges approached the father and asked about his son. The father reached into a notebook he had and pulled out a resume for his son and handed it to the coach. The coach had all the information he needed in seconds and the coach filed it away in his notebook. When asked what type of college his son might be interested in, he said “his mom would love it if he attended a Liberal Arts College!” It was a great open-ended answer to a college coach who coached at a “Liberal Arts College.”
In reality, most if not all college teams have an online recruit form on their team’s website. This form will allow you to submit information to college coaches that will be sent right to them. The online recruit form is an important first step in the recruiting process. Filling out this form signifies to the college coach that you are interested in possibly playing for their program and found their school by doing your own research. You will not get recruited by simply filling out this form, but you probably won’t get recruited if you don’t fill out this form. The form and information you are submitting are simply a way to get on a coaches radar screen, a way of saying, coach this is who I am, this is where I am, this is what I do and I am interested in possibly playing for your program.
Many families want to throw stats at a college coach and say coach, look at these stats, my son/daughter leads their team in goals or scoring, and won the league MVP, and hit .400 for their summer team, and scored 20 goals in field hockey, and ran for 12 touchdowns, and was 9-0 in tennis matches, and had 14 rebounds vs. [insert high school here].
None of that matters!
These numbers don’t tell coaches how athletic you are, how driven you are, how hard you work, how good a teammate you are and so forth. These are the things college coaches need to know and they cannot be easily conveyed via an athletic resume. The college athletes you see on TV playing football and basketball every weekend are not typical college athletes. Most college coaches try to recruit strong academic students who have a passion for playing athletics and want to come to THEIR school.
Are there sports where stats can be useful?
Sports like swimming, track and field, or golf have tangible stats (times or distances) that can be turned into something meaningful. Your 100 meter dash time is your 100 meter dash time, it is something that can be compared to something else and interpreted in a meaningful way. Same with swimming. If you swim a certain event in a certain time, take those times and compare them to different college swimming programs. Golf is a little tricky, because a golf handicap is often manipulated or lower if you always play at your home course, so college coaches in most cases will look at your tournament scores on a local, state, and national level.
So what about other sports?
What if you were a field goal kicker and successfully kicked 5 out of 15 field goals? Would you want to list those stats on a resume? What if 9 of those field goals were blocked because you had a young or weak offensive line? What if you were 1-20 hitting on your baseball or softball team, would you want to list that you are an .050 hitter? What if 18 of your at-bats were fly-outs to the warning track in center field 400 feet away (balls you just missed or hit to the wrong place?).
What if you were a goalie and went 7-10? Would that stat help you get recruited? What if your defense consisted of underclassmen or key defensive players were hurt during your season, or your offense couldn’t score to help your team win?
My friend hit .438 his senior year in high school. He was one of the league leaders. He didn’t get recruited because he wasn’t that good a hitter or fielder for that matter. He just happened to hit .438 his senior year.
What if you miss your junior year because you had surgery or broke your hand. You have no stats to speak of. Can you not play college athletic because you have no stats? Of course not, you just have to sell your abilities.
Ok, so what can a resume include?
Your recruiting resume can include the following. The goal here is to provide college coaches important contact information, academic information, and to give them some insight into what you have accomplished thus far in your athletic endeavors. You will not get recruited because of a resume, it will only serve to peak a coaches interest, which is all you can really hope for.
Contact Information – Full name, address, phone #, email address.
Personal – Date of Birth, names of parent(s), or legal guardian.
Academic information – Name, address, and phone # of high school, graduation date, GPA (and the scale it’s based on (usually a 4.0 scale but some schools are 6.0), class rank, PSAT/SAT/ACT scores. The academic information will be really important to college coaches, they need to know you are close to what their school typically looks for in a student-athlete.
Athletic information – One way is to provide a summary of each year you participated. It’s a good way for a coach to read how you progressed from year to year. Here is an example.
High School Golf – (2010)
Junior year I was captain of the varsity golf team, and played the number one position. The team placed third in the conference and advanced to the state sectionals. Individually, I advanced through state regional sectional qualifying to make it to the state championship where I placed fourth. I was honored as the team’s MVP and ended the year with a 36 average for nine-hole rounds and was 10-0 in match play events.
Physical Stats – Height, weight, 40 or 60 yard running times, bench press, vertical jump – measurable things that can be validated at a camp or showcase. Most coaches are skeptics about this data until they see it for themselves, but you can include it! And for some sports like football or hockey, college coaches will want more information on your physical abilities.
Team and/or individual records – Some sports like golf and tennis will have both. You will have an individual match record and a team record. Try to put things in context. Telling a coach you went 9-0 in match play means nothing, but telling a coach you went 9-0 in match play with a 9-hole stroke average of 37 is more meaningful.
Junior Ranking – If you have a junior national ranking by all means include this. But if you have a junior national ranking, you may not need to send detailed resumes to coaches, as your ranking reveals your talents already. Some sports like swimming or tennis recruit based on the national junior rankings and each college knows the caliber of athletes they can realistically recruit based on their individual ranking.
Jersey – Colors and number for home and away. If a coach shows up for a game they can find you more easily!
Any pertinent statistics and how you ranked on the team and in the league – Don’t go crazy with individual statistics. Without supporting information, it won’t mean much. Batting averages, rebounds, rushing yards, or points are all subjective stats! There is much more college coaches need to know.
Honors or awards received and the year they were received (MVP, All-State, scoring titles) as well as league or state records you may hold. These can be listed separately or within your yearly descriptions. Again, these are subjective. Being MVP of your league doesn’t mean you are deserve or are getting a full ride to Stanford.
References – Name and phone # of HS and summer or off-season coach, athletic director, and guidance counselor, instructors, personal trainers or camp directors you have worked with (make sure these people know you put their name down so they are not surprised if and when they get a phone call from a coach). Only use a name that can and will help you. A good reference from someone reliable will do more for you than any stats you list will!
Schedules – You can include a schedule of tournaments, camps, showcases or important events you will be attending throughout the year.
College Recruiting Services
There are many different recruiting services out there. While most, I believe have good intentions, some of them use fear tactics with parents to sell their service. Here is some information I found on a college recruiting expert and what they communicate to parents and students during speeches.
Attending a college camp will not really help your recruiting efforts.
Let’s be honest, if you are a college coach and you run a camp in the summer for 100+ high school athletes who may be local or may be from different parts of the country or region, you are doing it for two reasons: (1) to supplement your income or the income of the school, program, or assistant coaches. And (2) TO GIVE YOURSELF ACCESS TO HUNDREDS HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES WHO MAY BE INTERESTED IN YOUR SCHOOL AND PLAYING FOR YOUR TEAM.
If a coach has a doubt about a recruit, they may ask that recruit to attend their camp. While attending a football camp at Ohio State probably won’t get you recruited by Ohio State if you don’t have the size, speed, and skill to play there, here’s the hidden benefit. There is a good chance that the Ohio State camp will have coaches working at the camp from many different smaller colleges throughout the state or region. This is a common practice. As a rule of thumb, two schools that compete for the same student-athletes will not mix and match coaches at a camp (so Ohio State will not be inviting the Michigan coaching staff to their camp, in theory anyway), but a D1 school might have a bunch of coaches from D2 and D3 schools working at the camp and vice versa. A small D3 school can and will bring in D1 coaches to assist because the D3 coach knows the athletes they will be looking for at their camp are not going to be top D1 material and there is no fear of the D1 coach stealing campers in their next recruiting class. This isn’t a theory, this happens all the time, I know because coaches and players tell us.
Here is a quote from a D1 coach “Our campers get a feel for university life and the soccer program; this helps them evaluate us. Meanwhile, coaches are evaluating campers in an intense week of training; it’s an important part of our recruiting process, and many potential players have been identified in their way.” Take any camp invitation you get with a grain of salt. Some parents wonder whether the coach is interested in them if they get a camp invitation, and the simple answer is that, the coach won’t be interested in you until he or she sees you perform in live athletic competition of some capacity. If you are attending camps at colleges that fit your athletic talents and are communicating to the coaches that this school is indeed one of your potential choices, a college camp can be a huge boost to your recruiting efforts and can give you a distinct advantage over other players that have the desire to play for that school but haven’t given the coach a chance to evaluate their talent.
Write one paragraph about yourself and send it to 500 schools and if you really want to play, send out 180 letters to D1 schools, 300 to D2 schools, and 400 to Division 3 schools. No recommendations, no highlights, no press clippings.
Any 500 schools (or 880 using the second method)? While I do not advocate sending coaches an entire pile of newspaper clippings from when you were 12 years old, coaches need information on you and from you in order to make decisions. A recommendation from your coach or instructor can help as long as your coach or instructor has some sort of past athletic success that will make his or her recommendation mean more. My former summer coach played Division 1 baseball, was drafted by the Oakland A’s, is in the athletic hall of fame at his former college, and has coached summer and amateur baseball for over 30 years. Do you think college coaches listen to him when he calls them or writes recommendations for kids? You bet they do! If your coach is not that knowledgeable and writes you a recommendation, it’s probably won’t have as much weight.
As far as sending your “paragraph” to 880 schools, that’s borderline ridiculous! You need to target schools that are the right academic, athletic, and social fit. But before you do that, you need to find out what you are looking for and when you do, you will find that the number of schools that meet your criteria is much less than 500. Sending letters (or emails) to 500 schools is simply too many and it will be too difficult for the majority of these schools to recruit you. Waste of time and money. Recruiting is about building relationships, not sending out 500 random letters.
This advice doesn’t even address the problem of ability and where you can realistically play at and encouraging people to write 880 letters to colleges is just plain ridiculous as many kids don’t have the ability to play at that many schools and without factoring in finances, majors, size of school, location, and team needs, you are simply wasting your time.
If you haven’t received 25-40 letters, coaches don’t know who you are!
Why is 25-40 the magic number? What if you receive 24 letters or 17 letters? Doesn’t this mean that 24 college coaches know who you are? Yes it does. There is no magic number, some recruits receive 300 letters some receive 3. The key isn’t the number, it’s where they are coming from and what opportunities present themselves. If you get 20 letters from 20 schools and 15 are from schools you are interested in and can possibly play at, then who cares about the other letters you didn’t receive! Focus on the letters you did receive, respond to the coach and provide them everything they requested in the letter. If you get one letter from a school you like and get recruited, no one is going to care that you only got one letter.
You are not a D1 prospect if you don’t have at least 150 letters by the end of your freshman year.
As Frank Costanza says, “SERENITY NOW!” Some kids in high school don’t even play varsity in their freshman year and college coaches don’t watch JV games. Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity team as a sophomore and you know how he turned out. How many letters do you think he got his freshman year when he was 5-8 and weighed a 130 pounds playing jv basketball? Frank Thomas walked on to the Auburn baseball team. The only scholarship offer Shammond Williams (an NBA point guard) got was for band, so he walked on to North Carolina. Rocco Baldelli (former centerfielder for the Tampa Bay Devil rays) was the number 9 batter on high school team his junior year. His senior year he was the number 6 player in the June baseball draft. Kids mature at different ages, some gain 30 pounds, some grow 6 inches, some get stronger or faster, and depending on the level of talent at your school, you may not even get a chance till junior year. My high school basketball team had 4 starters go onto play college basketball in one year, do you think any sophomores got playing time that year as the team marched towards the state championship? NO! There are also varying degrees of Division 1 and while the Notre Dame football program can afford to send out 150 letters to one recruit, the Iona baseball team or the Sienna soccer team probably can’t and won’t for that matter, but they too have scholarships to offer. I played Division 1 baseball and didn’t even play baseball in high school my freshman, sophomore, or junior year! The only kids getting 150 letters by their freshman year are the very elite men’s and women’s players throughout the country that are mature beyond their age.
AAU, junior Olympic and Club sports don’t translate into scholarships and coaches only go see players they have already heard of.
Neither does playing 18 games at the high school level in the middle of Montana. Getting recruited is partly about exposure, and the more you play and the further you play from home, the more chances you have to be seen by college coaches. First off, how do college coaches hear of players? Well, they go to games, tournaments and camps and see players. That’s their job. They go to events to see players for the first time, not just players they have heard of. College coaches usually migrate to events where they will see more student-athletes of skill. AAU and Olympic development teams don’t take every kid that has a glove or a pair of cleats; these programs are usually for more skilled players who dedicate more time to the game.
With that being said, if a college coach has to choose a game to go to (a high school game or AAU tournament) they are probably going to choose the AAU tournament. Playing AAU and Club ball doesn’t guarantee you will be recruited, but it’s a step in the right direction. A D3 coach I know in New York begged his school for 2 years to let him fly to Las Vegas for an AAU tournament. He finally got to go this year and there were 70 teams in attendance and he will be actively recruiting many of the players he saw at the tournament. Why did he want to go to this tournament? Because he knew he would be exposed to 1,000 high school basketball players that most likely want to play in college. His other option was to attend 300-500 high school basketball games to see that many skilled players, which option would you choose? I know other coaches that recruit their entire team from a single tournament each year. Since your high school season takes place at roughly the same time as a college season, college coaches do not have the time to see you play much or at all during high school and the summer is an extremely important time-period for college coaches to recruit.
The Providence College Lacrosse team just signed 11 players from 9 states one year to National Letters of Intent. The majority of players were discovered and scouted at premiere lacrosse tournaments and showcases that took place throughout the summer. This is the only time the coaching staff has to recruit and they go to where the top players are playing and they get to see 100 to 200 kids play in a single day.
Another D1 baseball coach said that at one point 20 of his 32 players on his team were recruited from a single tournament held each summer in his state. Players who don’t attend this event are at a huge disadvantage come recruiting time.
You aren’t a Division I prospect just because you receive a few letters. If you don’t get at least 100 by your junior season, forget about getting a full ride to a D-I. Instead, keep the mail from the smaller schools.
Did you hear the story about a football prospect who got 180 letters from the University of Nebraska and never ended up getting one calls from the coaching staff and didn’t get recruited by them. In reality, after football and basketball, there are very few individual programs that will send a 100 letters to one prospect! The only teams that can do that are nationally renowned teams at schools with lots of money, but there are hundreds if not thousands of D1 teams that can’t afford to send a 100 letters to a single prospect. On personal phone call from a coach will do more for them than 20 form letters. There is a D1 lacrosse coach that has a recruiting budget of $200 dollars for the entire year. How many letters do you think they send out with that budget? Step away from the D1 being talked about here which is D1 football and basketball, i.e., the players you see on TV on Saturday afternoons or in bowl games and NCAA tournaments. There are many D1 schools and teams you have never heard of that while they are D1, they simply don’t have the money or exposure to send out thousands of letters. They are small schools with small programs, with coaches that often recruit in their home state or the surrounding area, but they still have scholarships to offer.
Just because you received a letter doesn’t mean you are being recruited! Colleges send out thousands of letters to recruits.
Now I am confused. First you tell me that if I get 100 letters that I am a prospect and have the potential for a “full ride” because colleges know who I am and are interested in me. Now you are telling me that just because I got a letter doesn’t mean I am going to be recruited. Which is it? If colleges send out thousands of letters, why should I be excited because I got one of them, when you are telling me not to be excited? – In reality, a letter doesn’t mean that much and many big time programs do sent out a lot. What you are really interested in is college coaches who call you personally. A coach might send out 500 letters but only make 100 phone calls to their top recruits and wait and see what they get back from the 500 or so letters they send out. Getting a letter doesn’t mean you are being recruited and getting a letter doesn’t mean you are not being recruited. A letter simply means a coach has your name and address and is aware that you play a sport. What happens next is ultimately up to you. You can either try and build a relationship with that coach, or you can wait for other letters and phone calls that may never come.
The other way to look at this is, If colleges send out thousands of letters to many kids who aren’t being recruited, then why are you encouraging me to send out thousands of letters to colleges? If the college letter has little meaning to me, why would my letter have any meaning to them?
Sample baseball resume
This is the baseball resume for Jack Harris of San Antonio Texas. This is a fairly extensive resume and the family covered all the bases (no pun intended). Here they have individual statistics, covered hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, fielding and versatility, arm strength, work ethic & desire, awards, and most impressive of all, comments from coaches that Jack has competed against. They chose to include some medical information which is important for coaches to know and while that may scare some coaches away, the family has noted that Jack has not missed a game in 3 years due to his condition. They concluded by providing the full contact info for the family, the high school, the high school coach, and the tournament select coach. There is one critical piece of information missing from this resume and that is academic information. Jack has been diagnosed with Dyslexia and while he has been taking regular high school courses, his best efforts have not produced a high GPA or SAT score. That was a family decision, but had they chosen to include it, that information would have been neatly displayed similar to the rest of the resume. Is this resume a little over the top? Perhaps, but the recruiting game is one that sometimes requires being over the top
April 19, 2003
JAMES JACKSON “JACK” HARRIS
’03, Reagan High School, San Antonio, Texas
SS/OF, Throws Right, Bats Left, 5’11”, 180
High School stats through 24 games:
Team: 18-6 overall, 10-2 in District 26-5A-largest classification in Texas
YEAR PA AB H BA Sgl Dbl Tpl HR TB Slug BB HP SAC OBE OBA R RBI K SB
2003 86 64 32 .500 15 8 2 7 65 1,016 19 1 2 2 .628 27 33 8 7
2002 101 75 34 .453 20 9 0 5 58 .773 20 2 3 5 .604 35 29 11 3
2001 94 75 35 .467 21 8 2 4 59 .787 14 4 1 4 .606 27 16 11 11
Jack Harris – HITTING FOR AVERAGE
2003 HS .500 (24 games) against 5A pitching, leads team in BA, BB, OBA
2002 HS .453 (30 games) against 5A pitching, led team in BA, BB, OBA
2001 Select .582 (41 games) against top level select pitching
2001 HS .467 (23 games) against 5A pitching, led team in BA, BB, OBA
2001 .625 Junior Olympics, Tucson, Arizona
2000 Select .589 (48 games) against top level select pitching
2000 .619 Junior Olympics, Tucson, Arizona – top 10 of 1100 players
Jack Harris – HITTING WITH POWER
2003 HS 6 Homers, leads team in HR (7), Doubles (8), Triples (2), Slugging (1.016%)
2002 HS 5 Homers, led team in Slugging and Total Bases
2001 HS 4 Homers, led team in Slugging and Total Base
Jack Harris – THROWING HEAT
Gun readings: 92mph from the OF, 91mph from SS and up to 93mph from the mound.
On defense Jack throws a straight ball – with fingers coming straight down over the ball.
On throws from the field there is no tail or curve. His throws have good 12-6 backspin.
Jack Harris – EXCELLENT SPEED
Jack has been timed as low as 6.6 seconds in the 60. However, he is usually between 6.75 and 6.85 seconds.
Jack Harris – VERSATILE IN THE FIELD
Although a natural Shortstop, Jack played Centerfield in 2001 and 2002 in HS and made one error in 58 games. He has excellent range and gets a good jump on the ball.
Some scouts were “projecting” Jack as a Middle Infielder – they said he didn’t have the 6.6 speed they were looking for at CF and he didn’t have enough power to play LF or RF.
Instead of being “projected” as an infielder, Jack decided to “show” his skills in the infield. He moved to Shortstop for the 2003 season and is playing very well. He has great lateral range and has a good backhand. His throws to 1st are very hard and on-target.
Does Jack Work at His Game?
Jack takes thousands of cuts and hundreds of grounders each week. In addition to high school practice, he works out on a ball field right outside his back door almost daily.
His forearms are rock-solid and have been for several years. This is from swinging the bat – not from lifting weights.
In preparation for the HS season, he usually hits 3-4,000 balls a month for 4 months – outdoors and in all temperatures and with wood.
He has worked with many instructors. For the last two years he has seen Rocky Thompson (former Cub) for hitting and Rob Swain (former Indian) for defense on a regular basis. They come to Jack’s home and give lessons to Jack as well as several other players.
Can Jack Hit With Wood?
Jack uses wood bats in his cage at home daily. He usually hits 3 buckets of 50 balls each evening.
Jack has been to many wood bat tournaments and showcases and has plenty of pop off of wood bats.
He has hit balls out of Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg) and Minute Maid Park (Houston) in showcases using wood bats.
Jack’s Only 5’11”, will he grow?
Who knows? However, his dad is 6’7” and his 21 year-old brother is 6’2”.
Isn’t Jack sick?
Jack came down with Type I Diabetes during his high school freshman season (March 2000). He takes insulin daily using an insulin pump. He checks his blood sugar regularly and watches what he eats. Jack has taken charge of the situation and is handling it very well. He has never missed a game in the past 3 years because of diabetes. The only games Jack has ever missed were 3 games at the start of the 2002 HS season due to a broken toe.
Has Jack Signed a NLOI?
Jack signed with San Jacinto College in Houston on a full scholarship. San Jack is the #1 ranked JUCO in the country and has a superb program. Although courted by many good programs, Jack has not signed with a D-1 program – yet. Teams making offers include: Houston, Baylor, Auburn, Alabama, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Does Jack Want to Play Pro Ball?
Yes. And he wants to take the fastest track to get him not just to pro ball but to the majors.
The “fastest route” might be:
1) Go to San Jacinto and then sign a pro contract in 2004 or 2005, or
2) Go to San Jac and then a D1 before signing a pro deal in 2006, or
3) Go to a D1 before signing a professional contract in 2006, or
4) Or it might mean signing a professional contract right out of HS in 2003.
What Awards Has Jack Won?
2002 All-State, Outfield – Texas HS Baseball Coaches Assn. *
* Jack is on track to be named All-State for 3 years in a row in Texas 5A baseball. Only a few players have ever done that in Texas history. He is the only player in the state in 2003 that can accomplish this.
2002 Team Texas, Sunbelt Junior Classic – THSBCA, led team in RBIs
2002 1st Team “Super Team” – San Antonio Express-News
2002 All-City, 5A OF, 1st Team – San Antonio Express-News
2002 1st Team All-District Outfield – District 26-5A Coaches
2003 Selected for the National Top Prospect Showcase at Tropicana Field by Perfect Game
2002 Rated “Top 10” at the Team One Regional at LSU
2001 All-State, Outfield – Texas HS Baseball Coaches Assn.
2001 All-City, 5A OF, 1st Team – San Antonio Express-News
2001 1st Team All-District Outfield – District 26-5A Coaches
2001 MVP – U of Houston Select Camp/Tournament
2002 “We have always liked Harris. We’ve seen him much better than he showed at Tropicana. He did have some stitches put in his elbow while attending. Still he showed great bat speed and hitting ability and one of the strongest outfield arms at the event. He’s just a natural hitter, very aggressive with great hitting ability. He ran a 6.92, but we’ve seen him run better. Definitely a top prospect! 91 from the OF” — Perfect Game Report after PG National Top Prospect Showcase in Florida (June 2002)
2002 “He is probably the toughest out in the city. He can hit to any field, go short ball or hit it out of the park. And he adjusts to any pitching. You try your best to keep him off balance and not develop a pattern, or he will pick it up.” — Churchill HS Head Coach Hector Rodriguez (5-31-02 newspaper article)
2002 “He’s the best player in the district.” — MacArthur HS Head Coach Paul Lindy (5-31-02 newspaper article) In 2002 Jack went a combined 4 for 5 in two district games against MacArthur, including a homer and two doubles. He drove in six runs and scored five in a sweep of the district’s second-place team.
2001 “I talked to Andy Ford at Perfect Game the other day and he spoke very highly of Jack’s performance at the Baylor showcase. In fact, he thought Jack was probably the best pure hitter there.” — Randy McLain, Ohio Thunder (2001)
2001 “Tough kid. Really wants to play. Average hands w/good feet, has a 3rd base arm strength. Athletic. Swing is stiff, but has quick hands through the zone. Has a lot of raw pop, just needs to clean up mechanics to create some looseness in swing.” — (Midwest Prospects Showcase June 2001)
Contact info for parents, high school, high school coach and summer/AAU coach all appeared below.
Mistakes in the athletic recruiting process
The college recruiting process is often paved with a myriad of mistakes by parents, students, and high school coaches. Some mistakes are fairly obvious, others are not. The Making of a Student-Athlete was designed to help parents, students, & coaches avoid these mistakes. Here is a brief list of common mistakes that can really put you at a disadvantage in your recruiting process.
- Parents often believe their son or daughter is better than they actually are, and assume they will be recruited and they wait for their mailbox to fill up with scholarship offers or wait for phone calls from coaches.
- Student athletes overestimate their ability and often believe they are better than they actually are, assume they will be recruited and they wait for their mailbox to fill up with scholarship offers or wait for phone calls from coaches.
- Student-athletes often underestimate their ability and assume there must be players out there just as good as they are and they often don’t pursue more opportunities.
- Parents and student-athletes often see other athletes get recruited and assume the same thing will happen to them since “I am better” or “I am just as good as they are.”
- Parents and student-athletes often feel anything less than an athletic scholarship to a D1 program is unacceptable. As the emergence of camps, showcases and private instruction takes on a new and more important role, many families feel that they need a scholarship to justify the time and expense they have already put into athletics.
- Student-athletes get a letter in the mail from a coach and think they are being recruited and think they are now a top college prospect.
- Parents and student-athletes assume that if they are talented enough on the athletic field, that their grades do not matter much because a coach will get them into the school.
- Parents & students don’t realize how rare a full scholarship is. Aside of Division I football and basketball, most scholarships issued to players are partial scholarships and most college teams have only a few scholarships to divide up to several players or the entire team. There are many D1 programs with teams that are lucky to have 2 or 3 scholarships for their entire team, which may consist of 30 players.
- Parents and students assume their high school coach will handle everything when it comes to the recruiting process.
- Parents & students do not always know how to evaluate athletic ability accurately. Success on your team or league does not mean you are ready to be a college athlete or capable of receiving a college scholarship or even competing at the college level.
- Parents & students to not always know how to evaluate the talent and skill level of college athletic teams and often end up applying to schools that are too strong athletically or maybe too weak athletically.
NCAA Conference Links
Division I Schools
- America East Conference
- Atlantic 10 Conference
- Atlantic Coast Conference
- Big 10 Conference
- Big 12 Conference
- Big East Conference
- Big Sky Conference
- Big South Conference
- Big West Conference
- Central Collegiate Hockey Association
- Collegiate Water Polo Association
- Colonial Athletic Association
- Conference USA (C-USA)
- Eastern College Athletic Conference
- Gateway Football Conference
- Hockey East Association
- Ivy League
- Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
- Mid-American Conference
- Mid-Continent Conference
- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
- Midwestern Collegiate Conference
- Missouri Valley Conference
- Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
- Mountain West Conference
- Northeast Conference
- Ohio Valley Conference
- Pacific-10 Conference
- Patriot League
- Southeastern Conference
- Southern Conference
- Southland Conference
- Southwestern Athletic Conference
- Sun Belt Conference
- Trans America Athletic Conference
- West Coast Conference
- Western Athletic Conference
- Western Collegiate Hockey Association
Division II Schools
- California Collegiate Athletic Association
- Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference
- Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
- Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
- Great Lakes Valley Conference
- Gulf South Conference
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- Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
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- Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
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- Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
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- Sunshine State Conference
- West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Division III Schools
- Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
- American Southwest Conference
- Capital Athletic Conference
- Centennial Conference
- City University of New York Athletic Conference
- College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
- Dixie Conference
- Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
- Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
- Middle Atlantic Conference
- Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association
- Midwest Conference
- Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
- New England Small College Athletic Conference
- New Jersey Athletic Conference
- North Coast Athletic Conference
- Northwest Conference
- Ohio Athletic Conference
- Old Dominion Athletic Conference
- Pennsylvania Athletic Conference
- The Presidents’ Athletic Conference
- Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
- Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
- State University of New York Athletic Conference
- University Athletic Association
- Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
College Golf Resume
Is your golf resume ready for college coaches? Below is a sample resume for Jerome Andrews, who used this to help secure a full golf scholarship to the University of South Carolina. While the paper resume has faded a little in its usefulness, it still has a place in the recruiting process, especially if you are attending events where several college coaches are in attendance and it’s very easy to hand to coaches in the short term.
While his golf skills contributed to most of his success, this resume gave potential college coaches a quick and clear understanding of his golf skills. Attached to the resume were several letters of recommendation from his high school coach and each of his instructors as well as a yearbook photograph. Also included in each recruiting package was an original cover letter addressed to each individual coach expressing his interest in continuing his golf career at the college level. His grades and test scores were included in his letter to each coach.
All the information in this resume fit on one printed page and was neatly organized giving college coaches the ability to quickly see the success Jerome enjoyed as he matured through the high school and junior ranks. While many individual scores were left out, Jerome placed well in many national tournaments and college coaches were well aware of the level of competition he was facing and the general scores needed to constantly place in the top 20 of many of these national tournaments. In this case, individual scores for each tournament were not completely necessary. It was also not necessary to include many local tournaments at the State level because of his strong national schedule and success. In some cases, state and local tournaments can be very important to college golf coaches especially if you do not always have the ability to play in many national AJGA & USGA tournaments.
Name: Jerome Andrews
River Forest, IL 60305
Birthdate: August 21, ****
School: Oak Park/River Forest High School
201 N. Scoville Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
- IHSA State Champion – 1987
- IHSA Regional Champion – 1987
- Fenton Invitational Medalist – 1987
- USGA Jr. Amateur Sectional Qualifying Champion – 1987
- Oak Park Country Club Jr. Club Champion – 1986
- Big Foot Country Club Champion – 1983,1984, 1985
- Illinois PGA Jr. State Champion 1983, 1984
- Western Suburban Silver Conference Medalist Champion – 1984
- IHSA All-State Team – 1986-1987
- High School MVP Award – 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
- Pioneer Press All Area Team – 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
- Participated in 25 National Jr. Tournaments
- Current USGA Handicap: 1
High School Golf – 1985 (Fall)
My sophomore year, I was co-captain on the varsity golf team and played in the number one position. The team placed third in conference and advanced to the state sectional qualifying. I was the conference champion medalist and qualified through regionals and sectionals to make it to the state championship. I placed among the top 20 finalists and was awarded the team’s MVP with an average nine-hole score of 39
High School Golf – 1986 (Fall)
My junior year, I was captain of the varsity golf team, and played the number one position. The team placed third in conference and advanced to the state sectionals. Individually, I advanced through state regional sectional qualifying to make it to the state championship where I placed fourth. Again, I was honored as the team’s MVP and ended the year with a 36 average for nine-hole rounds in all match play.
High School Golf – 1987 (Fall)
As a senior participant, I remained the varsity golf team captain playing the number one position. The team was undefeated in match play, the school’s first conference championship title. I was medalist in every team match and averaged 36 for nine holes. I placed second in conference championship title and was awarded the MVP. I was the regional medalist. I also won the Illinois State Golf Championship and became the first Illinois golfer to place in the state finals four consecutive years.
Following is a list of tournament activity other than high school golf competition
- USGA Jr. Amateur Qualifying – 1st Alternate
- AJGA American Jr. Classic – Qualified in age group-won-lost
- AJGA Great Lakes Buick Open – 25th Place
- Chicago District Golf Association Stroke Play Championship – 6th Place
- Chicago District Golf Association Match Play – Failed to qualify
- Illinois Amateur – Failed to qualify
- Oak Park Country Club Jr. Club Champion – 1st Place
- Big Foot Country Club Jr. Club Champion – 1st Place
- USGA Jr. Amateur Sectional Qualifying Champion – 1st Place
- USGA Jr. Amateur-Qualified-lost, top 64 qualifiers
- AJGA American Jr. Classic – Qualified in age group-Won-Lost
- AJGA Midwestern Jr. – 20th Place
- AJGA Great Lakes Buick Open – 20th Place
- AJGA Tournament of Champions – Missed qualifying
- AJGA Oyster Reef Invitational – 4th Place
- AJGA Midwestern Jr. Championship – 5th Place
- AJGA USF&G Jr. Classic – 9th Place
- AJGA Great Lakes Buick Jr. Open – 14th Place
- AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions-Qualified-19th Place
- AJGA Boys Championship – 18th Place
- AJGA Woodlands Jr. Classic – 20th Place
PGA Golf Professional
The Oak Park Country Club
High School Golf Coach
Oak Park/River Forest High School
PGA Golf Professional
Greenlefe Golf Resort
Why college athletes fail
The NCAA graduation rate for athletic scholarship student-athletes (any amount of money received) that graduate from the college they enroll in full time as freshman is roughly 60% within 6 years of enrollment. This means that 40% of all college athletes receiving scholarship money, transfer, leave their school, or do not graduate within 6 years. Here are some of the reasons…
- Student-athletes choose the wrong school socially for them. Some schools are too big, other are too small. Some schools are too far away from home, others are too close. Some schools have a diverse student-body, others have students that are all the same. Some schools are in big cities, others are in the middle of nowhere. Some schools don’t have enough activities outside of school to do.
- Student-athletes choose the wrong school academically. Perhaps the school was too difficult with many required courses that were simply too hard or demanded too much time. While athletics can compound this problem, there are many majors that simply are not for “everybody,” whether you are an athlete or a regular student. Many engineering, chemistry or physics programs require long hours in the classroom as well as labs that student-athletes simply cannot miss.
- Student-athletes choose the wrong coach. Many student-athletes land on a team with a college coach they just don’t mesh with personally and small conflicts of interest turn into bigger problems regarding playing time or attitude.
- Student-athletes choose the wrong playing style. Many football and basketball players complain that the team and coach does not run the type of offense they are used to or the type of offense they can excel in and use their athletic talents better.
- Student-athletes lose interest. Playing college athletics sounds great, but waking up at 6AM and running every day, going to class for 4 hours, going back to practice, and then lifting weights later at night is a serious commitment in time and effort and is not for everybody. You must be extremely passionate about your sport to play in college at any level and must be prepared to play that sport in the fall, winter and spring…
- Student-athletes lose their financial aid. Financial Aid is reviewed each year and can often fluctuate without notice or warning from year to year. One year you could be getting $10,000, the next year you may only qualify for only $4,000. Athletic scholarship money is also evaluated year-to-year. At the coach’s discretion, he/she can remove your aid, reduce your aid, or increase your aid from year-to-year.
- Student-athletes get injured. Many careers have been cut short by serious injuries. When athletes get injured and cannot play, many become depressed and instead of focusing on their studies with the additional free time they have, they do very little of anything.
- Student-athletes don’t take their academic studies seriously. Many student-athletes are not student-athletes, but rather athletes who are inconvenienced by going to classes. If you are not committed academically to a school, you will not succeed. The whole point of college is to get an education, so you need to focus your energy on your studies first.Student-athletes don’t realize the time and effort commitment that they are getting involved in and the sacrifices they are going to make. After classes and practices, you are left with very little free time to do school work and be social with your friends.
- Student-athletes don’t handle coaching well. There have been many talented high school players who didn’t receive any coaching in high school. When they get college they often receive more coaching and more discipline than they are used to. Players often interpret this increased attention and instruction as negative, thus leading to conflicts with the coaching staff.
- Student-athletes sign with the wrong program. Many student-athletes select programs because they think it is the “best” program and they have little regard for how many current players are on the team or how many other players the coach has signed or is recruiting.
- Student-athletes don’t communicate with their coach effectively and rather than asking what they need to work on to get more playing time, they take their lack of playing time personally and they start to complain or distance themselves from the team and coach and simply go through the motions not expecting to play much.
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