To get prepared for recruiting calls several steps can be taken to ensure a positive, productive, and perhaps, most importantly, legal experience. Coaches won’t be able to start calling until late in your Junior year or summer before your Senior year. If you haven’t been already calling them, then you need to get ready to make a good first impression when they call you.
Coaches Can’t Always Contact Athletes, But Athletes Can Always Contact Coaches
The NCAA, the primary governing body of college sports, must follow statutes and policies regarding high school recruits. One of these dictates that for most sports, college coaches may not call or visit a recruit until July 1 after their junior year. Coaches may send brochures to the high school, but direct contact is not allowed. Conversely, there are is no limit to when or how often an athlete can contact the coach. Some programs will encourage prospective student-athletes to be proactive and take the initiative, before the university itself is permitted to formally contact. This will help athletes gauge the potential interest of a school in their talents, so that when the recruiting window is open, they will have some conception of what to expect.
As with seeking a job, ideally a great deal of background research will occur before receiving any recruiting calls. Coaches will be much more impressed with a recruit that already has some working knowledge of both the school and the athletic program they are trying to sell. First impressions are always crucial, and many high school athletes are woefully unprepared and uneducated regarding these matters. To get prepared for recruiting calls, it is very important, in the very least, to know how the program has fared in past years, if there are any notable alumni, and if the coach himself has garnered any specific honors or awards. In addition make an effort to know exactly what kind of program each school offers. Facts such as roster size, NCAA Division (I, II, or III), and athletic conference are all readily accessible via the internet for any serious program. This will give you an idea of how competitive a team is, and perhaps a loose idea of the atmosphere you can expect in the locker room.
Make Sure You Know What To Ask Coaches During College Recruiting Phone Calls
The final crucial step to preparing for recruiting calls is knowing what questions to ask the coach. This is another way to demonstrate an informed and educated interest in the program, and it also allows the athlete the opportunity to discover “behind-the-scenes” information not advertised in brochures, on the official website, or readily offered by the coach. Some such questions include the following: How big will the freshman be? Are there cuts? How many walk-ons versus on-scholarship athletes are there?
A very timely question to ask, depending on the sport you are in: is the program in any danger of being canceled due to funding issues or Title IX concerns? In recent years, several programs with a long, illustrious history (such as Seton Hall University’s track-and-field program) were cut due to budget concerns and the university’s reorganized priorities. Be sure that your sport will always be there.
Finally, although it may seem presumptuous to ask directly how much money the coach is willing to offer, athletes and their families should be comfortable talking about specific numbers. As awkward as it might seem, the coach is definitely there to negotiate on scholarships, and gauging his response after mentioning specific numbers will give you an idea of how much scholarship money you might be able to expect from that university.
Are you coming up on your senior seasons and expecting phone calls from coaches? Do you need help getting prepared? Leave your questions in the comments section below or on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!