Understanding Recruiting Profiles
A recruiting profile can be your link to communicating with college coaches. This is where you can tell college coaches all about yourself both academically and athletically. As a potential recruit, it’s your job to make your recruitment happen. Below you will learn how recruiting profiles are used and how they benefit you during your recruitment.
Creating a Recruitment Profile on Your Own
If you have not taken the time to create your very own sports resume than get started right now!This should be your guideline when it comes to reaching out and communicating with college coaches. It’s important to include ALL your sports specific information along with your grades and SAT or ACT test scores too.
How Recruiting Profiles Can Increase a Recruit’s Exposure
The purpose of recruiting profiles is to make college recruitment easier. Online profiles make it easier for recruits to get their information out to college coaches, plus recruiting profiles are easier for coaches to search through and review quickly.
Updating Recruiting Profiles is a Must
Recruits who are enthusiastic about setting up a recruiting profile must make sure to complete it and to continue to update it throughout their recruitment. Updating profiles should happen often, and include grades, test scores, stats and current video footage. Most of the time, updating information will be the job of recruits. It’s up to them to keep current and maintain all profile information to ensure college coaches take notice.
Services that Create Recruiting Profiles
There are many recruiting services out there. Once you decide having an online profile will be the right choice for you it will be extremely important that you learn as much as you can about the service and how it will assist you in getting recruited.
Questions to Ask as You Learn About Companies Who Host Recruiting Profiles
- How much will the service cost?
- Can you send out your profile to college coaches of your choice?
- Are college coaches you are interested in members of the hosting website?
- Will you be able to see which college coaches reviewed your profile? How will you be notified?
- What is the success rate for recruits in your sport making it to college competition when they have their profile on a specific website?
- How many college coaches will have access to your online recruiting profile?
Recruiting Profiles Are Not a Guarantee
Just because you create an online recruiting profile do not think that you will be recruited by a college program. Recruiting profiles are an easier way to gain exposure, but ultimately your recruitment is up to you and how much time and effort you dedicate to the process.
Additional Recruiting Tips:
- Getting coaches to respond to your emails
- The Dos and Don’ts of College Recruiting
- Find the right college fit
Junior walk-on AJ Barker, the Minnesota Gophers’ leading receiver, abruptly quit the team this past Sunday, November 18th. His reason for leaving stemmed from a dispute between Barker, head coach Jerry Kill, and the athletic training staff. Barker injured his ankle October 27th while scoring a touchdown vs. Purdue.
The trainers and coaches felt that had Barker followed their instructions he would have recovered from his injury by now and returned to the lineup. Barker feels that the training staff didn’t have his best interests at heart. Barker also claims that Kill has been publicly berating him while privately kissing up to him and telling him how important he was to the team.
Any way you look at it, this situation stinks for both Barker and the University of Minnesota: Barker doesn’t have a team to play for and only has one year of eligibility left. The best case scenario for Minnesota is they lost their best receiver; the worst case scenario is they may lose some recruits due to the bad press.
Lesson 1: The Relationship With Your Potential Coach Can Make or Break Your College Experience
This is exactly why we say you need to spend your time developing your relationships with coaches throughout the recruiting process. If it turns out that you and your coach don’t get along then your college athletic experience can take a serious turn for the worse.
You can get to know potential coaches by talking to them as much as possible while you are still in high school. You can also try to contact some current team members to ask them about the team and coach. Sometimes you can get a better idea of a coach’s personality and style by hearing from the kids who already play under him than you can from only talking directly to him.
Lesson 2: Social Media and the Internet Are Not the Best Places to Vent Your Problems
Barker took to Twitter and Tumblr to explain his position. And what was the result? A 4,000 word rant explaining why he quit. Whether his position is right or not, these types of things can snowball out of control once the internet gets involved. By discussing things publicly, Barker is bringing the media and fans into this mess. Other coaches at schools may hesitate to recruit Barker because they may think he has too much baggage for what he brings to the table; after all, we all know the internet and social media has caused prospects to lose opportunities in the past.
Lesson 3: In most cases you should follow your trainer’s advice
Barker claimed that the trainers didn’t have his body’s best interest at heart, but in his letter he explicitly states that he didn’t always ice his ankle because he didn’t like how stiff it felt after icing it. That sounds like pretty standard advice from a trainer. If you aren’t going to follow their directions, make sure you have a completely clear line of dialogue with them and the coaching staff about why you are uncomfortable following their instructions.
Lesson 4: Barker Has More Power to Transfer Because He is a Walk-on
Barker can simply say that he wants to transfer because he is a walk-on. Barker does not need a signed release to talk to other coaches. He can start talking to them about transferring immediately (now that he’s off the team). On top of that, he can transfer anywhere he wants and not have to sit for a year, which means he could go to a rival school and play against Minnesota next year.
If you signed a scholarship you will need to get a release from the athletic department just to talk to other coaches. They can also restrict what schools you are allowed to transfer to, and they usually don’t allow you to go within the same conference.
Lesson 5: Don’t Quote Your Mother’s Best Friend
Barker tells Kill in his open letter what his mother’s best friend thinks about the coach:
He’s an ego-maniacal, self-centered, narcissistic jerk who appears to care about no one but himself, and certainly not AJ’s health. And AJ just happens to be his best player, who he obviously will sacrifice at the drop of a hat
Even if Barker is right in this whole situation, bringing up name calling from his mom’s best friend just looks childish. If you want coaches to take you seriously then you need to act like an adult. Barker doesn’t sound like an adult when he is talking about his mom’s best friend in his letter. Hopefully for Barker coaches won’t avoid recruiting him because of this, but coaches look maturity in the athletes they recruit, and childish behavior like this brings up some serious red flags.
In the 11th week of the college football season, Kansas State sits at number two in the BCS standings. No one predicted that in the fourth week of BCS polling that Kansas State, who began the season ranked number 22 in the AP Poll, would play defending-champs Alabama for a national title if the season ended today.
Some of the credit goes to head coach Bill Synder, who at 73 has over 45 years of coaching experience. Some of the credit belongs to Kansas State’s veteran roster. But a lot of the credit has to do with Kansas State’s recruiting philosophy.
So What’s Different at Kansas State? Junior College Transfers
They recruit more junior college players than most schools. We have talked about the benefits of junior college players on a college team before, but even Georgia coach Mark Richt tries to keep the number of junior college athletes in each recruiting class limited to three or four. Since 2010, Kansas has signed 24 junior college transfer athletes- an average of 8 athletes per signing class.
Junior college transfers spend at least one, but usually two years playing in junior college; this makes them more mature and ready to play at the NCAA Division I or II level immediately, whereas freshmen don’t have as big of an impact on a program. Having more athletes on a team that are both physically and mentally mature can bolster a roster and make a team already deep with upperclassman, like Kansas State, that much better.
There Are Some Negatives to Going to Junior College Though
Not all coaches recruit junior college athletes as much as Synder; some coaches like to have more time to mold and develop players, as well as give them a chance to learn their system. It works for Snyder because he has been involved in the game for so long and his network of contacts at junior colleges is so much stronger than most other coaches. This gives Kansas State the advantage of finding athletes other coaches may not have ever heard of. Snyder can also use his network of coaches to identify athletes that can easily fit into his system.
Because of some coaches’ hesitation to recruit junior college athletes as actively as Kansas State, junior college shouldn’t be your number one choice if other options are available, but you should use junior college as a safety net. Don’t view junior college as a reason to slack off in your recruiting during high school, look at it as another way to maximize your college opportunities.
What Should You Do?
If you are already enrolled in junior college, start looking for universities that have coaches who are proponents of recruiting junior college athletes- Kansas State and Georgia for example. Ask your junior college coaches what universities former athletes have transferred to. Also look at universities’ past recruiting classes to identify colleges that like to recruit junior college athletes.
If you are in high school looking to attend a junior college, the recruiting process is similar to that of a four year school. Identify the schools you are interested in attending and contact those coaches with information about your academic and athletic history, as well as a highlight film that showcases your skills.
If You Are Interested in Attending Junior College Then Check out These Resources:
- Junior College Transfer Rules
- 4-2-4 Transfer Rules
- Junior College For International Recruits
- Junior College Could be a Good Option For High School Seniors
- Don’t Let Your Eligibility Expire
If you have any questions about attending junior college or transferring from a junior college to a four-year university then just ask us in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!
Our first article about the early signing period talks about the benefits of signing an NLI and how athletes can receive an early scholarship offer. Now, our focus shifts to an analysis of what happens after the early signing period and what this time means for other student-athletes that did not sign an NLI.
Now the Dust Has Settled
Coaches go after the top athletes on their recruiting boards during the early signing period. They want to get the top recruits to commit before National Signing Day in early February, but most scholarships are signed later in the year; there are still plenty of opportunities out there for athletes. Research what recruits were signed by what schools to get a better idea of the remaining opportunities. Paying attention to what recruits a school signs helps you figure out what schools you should continue to actively pursue. If a school signed a few athletes that play your position, you should probably look elsewhere.
What Can You Do After the Early Signing Period?
Once it’s over, the events of the early signing period should tell you more about your position in recruiting. Have coaches contacted you after the signing period to discuss scholarship opportunities? That means that you are at the top of their list after they either signed some athletes early, or struck out with all of their early offers. Take advantage of your good fortune and really whittle down your top choices and make the best decision.
Maybe you aren’t as lucky as some of the top remaining senior recruits. That’s ok because the time for you to get your foot in the door happens right after the early signing period.
Start contacting coaches to find out what positions and athletes they still need to sign in February. Maybe you are what they are looking for, but they will never know it if you don’t reach out to them!
Re-contact Coaches You Previously Spoke To
Maybe coaches didn’t quite sign all the athletes they thought they were going to sign. Directly after the end of the early signing period (it ends November 21st, 2012), you need to start re-contacting the coaches you may have fallen out of touch with. Find out how their recruiting board looks now that it may have been shaken up a bit. Opportunities open at schools that previously had you lower on their recruiting list. Whatever you do, don’ wait too long after the early signing period to contact coaches though, because you may miss out on a great chance.
Every athlete that receives a scholarship to an NCAA division I school or a division II school must sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI). From November 14, 2012 through November 21, 2012, athletes in sports other than football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country, and men’s water polo can sign an NLI during the early signing period.
The early signing period only lasts one week, but it can create peace of mind for recruits that have been proactive in the recruiting process and found an opportunity earlier than their peers.
How Did These Athletes Get Here?
Too often, recruits wait until their senior year to start recruiting. Sometimes it happens because athletes think that coaches will find them, and other times they think they have to wait until their senior year to start getting recruited. The truth? You need to start at the very least thinking about recruiting during your freshman year of high school. You don’t have to start emailing coaches while you are still getting adjusted to high school life, but at least start contemplating what schools interest you.
If you want to have a shot at signing an NLI during the early signing period, you can’t wait until your senior year to think about recruiting. A coach will not magically appear and offer you a scholarship. Starting early is the only way you can have a shot at signing an NLI in the early signing period. \
Developing a relationship with coaches over the years can lead to an early offer. If you’ve taken the time to get to know a coach and a program, and in turn they know you well, that coach will be more likely to make an offer to you during the early period.
Why Sign an NLI During the Early Period?
Coaches offer scholarships to the top athletes on their recruiting list during the early signing period. If you work hard enough to find the right fit both academically and athletically, while all your friends are scrambling to figure out their college plans you can sit back and enjoy your senior year. All the pressure of your senior year will seem so much more manageable if you aren’t struggling to find a college because you have already done that.
Are There Any Risks to Signing an Early Offer?
Signing an NLI locks you into a one-year contract with that school. That means you can’t even talk to another coach without written permission from your athletic department. If you do, it could cost you some eligibility. To transfer to another school you must get written permission as well, so only sign an early offer if you are 100 percent sure you want to go to that school.
Sometimes athletes must dig deep to find a playing opportunity. Less than two percent of high school athletes end up playing at a NCAA Division I school or a Division II school. That leaves 98 percent of athletes to either give up on their dream of continuing their athletic career or to compete at an NCAA division III college, junior college, or an NAIA school.
Financial Aid and Grants to Play Division III College Sports
You may know that division III schools don’t offer scholarships, but did you know they offer financial aid and other grants? Division III colleges often help athletes pay for school by providing grants and other aid to academically qualified athletes. Depending on the criteria for each grant, athletes can end up with a large amount of their tuition paid for, if not all of it.
Start by contacting college coaches to learn more about the grants their schools offer. Coaches may not have the power to get you aid, but most can tell you the qualifications and what you need to do. You can also check with the admissions, and financial aid departments to learn what aid a school offers.
The NCAA does monitor how division III schools allocate their financial aid, but each school determines who gets aid. The NCAA will step in and review a school if they expect a potential violation.
School/Life Balance at Division III Schools
The college experience at a division III school doesn’t resemble that of a big school at all, but it still provides good education and high-level athletic competition. Athletes spend less time each week strictly on their sport, but the level of play remains high. Keep in mind that even when you factor in division III schools, less than 5 percent of all high school athletes go on to play in college. That means you will still compete against athletes that are better than 95 percent of the athletes in the country. The difference is division III will offer you a better balance between school and athletics, which has its advantages for many athletes.
There Are Hundreds of Options
There are over 440 division III colleges in the country. Most of them are in the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions, but you can find them all over the country. Division III could answer your desire to play in college, so start looking at them today. You can search for colleges with your sport by creating an account on our Recruiting Database.
Once you start researching them, you’ll find that division III schools are easy to visit because of their proximity to each other. Depending on exactly where you are, you could easily visit three or four schools a day and get a better idea of the options they offer.
The Moral of the Story: Grades Matter if You Want to Increase Your Chances
Plain and simple: student-athletes need to focus on academics. You won’t get financial aid to a division III school without good grades, but the NCAA is cracking down on eligibility at the divisions I and II levels too, making grades more important than ever. If you want more options to play in college, look at division III colleges, but it still begins in the classroom.
One of the most stressful times for a college athlete is waiting for their initial eligibility status to clear. The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies athletes as qualifiers or non-qualifiers, and so they hold many of the cards for athletes waiting to be cleared. Delays; going back and forth between the Eligibility Center, high school, prospect and college; waivers and appeals are common enough to cause headaches for more than a few prospects, even if they make up just a tiny percentage of those that enrolling in college each year.
According to the NCAA, a prospect’s status as a non-qualifier should not prevent them from enrolling in school. As a non-qualifier, a student-athlete is prohibited from receiving an athletic scholarship, practicing with the team, and playing in games. They are not prohibited from being admitted to the school, attending classes, or even receiving some athletic department benefits like tutoring, training room services, and free tickets to home athletic events. Prop–48 kids, as they used to be called, were basically allowed to enroll at whatever school they wanted, provided they could pay their own way and focused on just school for a year.
It’s the Conference Rules, not the NCAA Rules
The reason non-qualifiers are often not allowed to enroll in schools is because of conference non-qualifier rules. The rules vary from conference to conference and some conferences do not have a non-qualifier rule at all. But the most common version reads something like this:
Any non-qualifier whose initial full-time collegiate enrollment occurs at a conference institution shall be permanently ineligible for practice, competition, and athletically-related financial aid at all conference institutions.
Or put more clearly, if a prospect who was declared a non-qualifier attends classes or reports to practice as a freshman, he or she can never play at that school or any other school in the same conference. Some conferences allow schools to take a limited number of non-qualifiers per year; a total of four with two men and two women and only one in each sport is an example. Other conferences have a limit on how many prospects who receive partial waivers may be added each year (a partial waiver allows a prospect to receive aid and practice, but not compete as a freshman). Most conferences with a non-qualifier rule exempt any prospect who receives a full initial eligibility waiver.
The result is that prospects who are declared non-qualifiers are not allowed to enroll and start classes at schools in conferences with such strict non-qualifier policies. Many prospects who simply have not been cleared yet are treated the same way. By doing so, they would not only forfeit their eligibility at that school, but also all other conference schools. It is such a harsh penalty that schools use extreme caution even with some athletes who will be qualifiers.
That was never supposed to be the intent of the NCAA’s initial eligibility rules. When commentators point to the success of Prop–48 kids as proof that the NCAA does not need initial eligibility standards, they ignore the possibility that having to sit out the first year might have been one of the keys to their success. A full academic year of focusing on school rather than athletics could have been what was needed to prepare the student for the rigors of being a student-athlete. Perhaps athletic aid should be permitted to non-qualifiers, but the NCAA never attached as severe a penalty to being a non-qualifier as conferences did.
But with the end of partial qualifiers in Division I and the proliferation of non-qualifier rules across many conferences including most major conferences, being deemed a Division I non-qualifier often closes the doors to the college, not just the stadium. Partial waivers have alleviated some of this, but any waiver process involves enough risk that a student waiting for a waiver will not be allowed to attend classes, and risks falling behind, something that students on the edge of the NCAA’s standards can often not afford. The new standards in 2016 will alleviate some of this by reintroducing partial qualifiers as academic red-shirts, but that assumes that conferences do not pass similar rules for academic red-shirts.
Check the Conference Non-qualifier Rules
Prospects should check into whether the schools they are interested in have conference non-qualifier rules. That should not take any of the focus away from meeting the NCAA’s initial eligibility standards, but it will let a prospect know up front what the options are if he or she happens to fall short. Transfers need to know this as well since many conference include stricter rules for non-qualifiers who would like to transfer in, such as requiring them to wait for two years after starting college or transferring in more credit that is required by the NCAA to get a transfer exception. Aside from just knowing their status, prospects need to be aware of what that status means for their education and athletic career.
Injuries are a fact of life in sports, but in college they carry extra weight. Serious injuries cause athletes to lose some of the precious time they have competing in college athletics. Time marches on, whether it’s the four seasons an athlete can play, the five-year clock in Division I, or the 10-semester/15-quarter rule in Divisions II and III.
The NCAA has a process for giving athletes back seasons they lose to injury. It is commonly called a medical red-shirt, but the technical term is a medical hardship waiver. A student-athlete’s school must apply for the waiver, and it can be granted or denied. Every waiver that meets the published criteria is granted, with rare exceptions.
Medical Hardship Requirements
To be eligible for a medical hardship waiver, a student-athlete has to meet the following criteria:
- The student-athlete must suffer the injury during one of their four seasons of college competition or during the senior year of high school.
- The injury must be incapacitating. That means it must be a season-ending injury.
- The injury must occur prior to the start of the second half of the season.
- The student-athlete must not have competed in more than 30% of the season or three contests, whichever is greater.
All of these must be proven with documentation. That means medical documentation to prove the injury and that it was season-ending and participation information to show that the student-athlete did not play in too many contests.
This documentation is normally pulled together by the compliance office and training room. Some conferences require the athlete to submit a statement or letter as part of the request. There are cases where athletes need to take a more active role though. Most common are when an athlete transfers before getting the waiver or when an athlete received a second opinion on an injury.
Regardless of how much work athletes need to do, here are some tips to make sure getting a season back goes smoothly:
Take Rehab Seriously
The medical documentation needs to show that an athlete was unable to return to competition for the rest of the season. If an athlete is missing appointments, not following the rehab program, or not getting evaluated as scheduled, it is harder for the school to prove the injury was season-ending.
Be Honest About Your Injury
This goes both ways. If you think you might be seriously hurt, it is better to know your options than to try and keep playing and potentially lose a season you could have gotten back. On the flip side, be careful about trying to nurse a minor injury to get a season back, since it might backfire.
Keep the Training Room Informed
It is important to make sure the training room knows all about your injury and treatment, but it goes doubly so if you plan to apply for a medical hardship waiver. Be sure to inform the training room about any second opinions, additional treatments, or other medications you might be taking. And bring a copy of all records so everything is in one place for the waiver.
Include Non-Sport Related Injuries and Illnesses
You can also get a season back based on an illness or injury that is unrelated to sports. If you become seriously ill or injure yourself outside of practice and games, follow these same tips just as if it had happened on the field.
Take Care of Business Quickly on Your End
If you do need to complete a task to help prepare your medical hardship waiver, make it a priority. Some conferences have time limits on when waivers can be submitted, plus delays will add to your stress. This is especially important for athletes nearing the end of their eligibility.
Medical Red-shirts and the Five-Year Clock
Athletes must keep in mind both the five-year clock and their four seasons of competition. Even if an athlete gets a medical hardship waiver, he or she needs to have time left on their five-year clock (10-semester/15-quarter clock in Divisions II and III) to use that season.
This is problematic for athletes took a normal redshirt season or sat out due to a transfer. An athlete can generally not use a medical redshirt in those cases unless they get a clock extension or sixth year waiver. To do that the athlete show they lost two seasons outside of his or her control. The medical redshirt would be one, but the athlete would still need to show another.
Finally, remember that getting the waiver is not the only consideration. The most important thing for an athlete is to get healthy and back out on the field again. Just because you might not qualify for a waiver is not an excuse to go back out there when you should not and risk losing the next season or your career.For that season, it is important that if an athlete redshirts or sits out after a transfer and it is at all possible that year might be used toward a sixth year, the athlete should document what happens during that year thoroughly. Make sure paperwork from injuries is in order, and keep up with rehab and doctors’ appointments. Any other hardship, like family financial difficulties, should be documented.
Starting on June 15, 2012, the NCAA made significant rule changes for both Men’s Division I Basketball and all Division II sports. Coaches are now allowed to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages to recruits following June 15th of their sophomore year in high school. Coaches in all Division II sports are also now allowed to have unlimited off-campus contact with athletes after June 15th of an athlete’s sophomore year.
Problems in Basketball
One of the biggest problems the NCAA wanted to address was the problem with basketball recruiting. AAU and travel teams are an essential part of the basketball (and most team sports) recruiting process. The problem associated with this model is the coaches of the top AAU and travel teams hold too much power in recruiting because they can communicate directly with college coaches. The NCAA wants to take the third party aspect out of basketball recruiting, and by allowing coaches to contact athletes at the end of their sophomore year they pull the focus more on the relationship building between a college coach and an athlete; communication with AAU and travel team coaches becomes less advantageous for college coaches if they can just go directly to athletes at an earlier stage in their high school careers.
Coaches are not allowed to openly communicate with athletes on social media sites because they are not allowed to publicize their recruiting efforts, but they can communicate with them via direct message on Twitter, or on Facebook Messenger. The new rule that allows unlimited text messages extends to private messaging on social media sites. Again, the focus here is to enhance the relationship building aspect of the recruiting process. Social media is becoming more and more a part of college recruiting and sports, and these new rules will only help enhance this.
This is probably the most significant aspect of the rule changes (besides allowing contact at an earlier age) because text message is by far the most common and preferred method of communication for high school kids today. Allowing coaches to text athletes helps athletes in the recruiting process because it allows coaches to communicate quickly and directly with athletes, and athletes are most comfortable with this form of communication. It’s also a quick, easy way to update coaches or vice-versa.
Visits and Off Campus Contact
It goes without saying, but allowing unlimited off campus contact with recruits in Division II will only enhance the ability for coaches and athletes to form relationships. The better the relationship is between a coach and athlete, the better the chances are an athlete will be able to find the best opportunities out there for them, which makes them more likely to succeed in college once they get there.