The biggest misunderstanding I see when meeting with recruits about the recruiting process is that they think, “If I am good enough, coaches will find me.” This is almost never the case, and I am going to explain three very significant reasons why.
1. Recruiting Budgets for 95 Percent of College Programs don’t Allow Coaches to Travel the Country Looking for Recruits
Coaches have to stretch their budgets, and that means they are only going to see recruits they know they want to have on their team. In a great article about the difference between big-time college football and smaller programs, Steve Megargee of Rivals details the experiences of coaches on the recruiting trail. There is one excerpt every recruit needs to pay attention to, when Coach Franchione of Texas State says, “You watch your money . . . when I am booking a flight I am always asking how can I save money.” The number one way for coaches to save money is to be flying to see recruits they have already evaluated on film or at camp. Ninety-five percent of coaches don’t have the money like Urban Meyer to fly out to see one recruit at a time.
2. Outside of Big-money Sports Such as Football and Basketball, Recruiting Budgets Are Almost Nonexistent
These budgets are under a couple of thousand dollars per year. Recruiting budgets for these coaches are usually just enough for a couple of flights a year to major tournaments or showcases and to bring a few athletes in on official visits. These coaches rely on quality video available online for initial evaluations. Furthermore, they want to know your schedule so they can plan on seeing you at big tournaments. Chances are unless you are a local athlete, these coaches won’t be making home visits or flying to watch your high school game.
3. You Might be Athletic Enough, But Coaches Need to Know More About You Before They Spend Money Recruiting You
Just being good at your sport is not enough for a coach to recruit you. When coaches are at smaller programs, they need athletes who will fit their program. This is because they can’t afford to have athletes transfer in and out like larger schools. Coach Thurmond of the University of Washington says when he evaluates recruits, “What I want to learn is what really makes them tick and what are they going to be like in our team environment.” Coaches can’t know this kind of information unless you take time to introduce yourself.
In my experience, the only reason recruits or families actually want a coach to “find them” is for pride and bragging rights. Of course, we all want to be the recruit with scouts and coaches at every one of our games, but that just does not happen. Coaches don’t have the money, time, or motivation to recruit you unless you are willing to put in the work yourself.