Once you are engrossed in the recruiting process, you may feel pulled in several directions. College coaches will tell them everything they want to hear; their goal is to have those targeted student athletes commit and sign with their school. Of course, this is the best-case scenario. For others, the recruiting process is likely less hectic, but my hopes are that there are still a few offers on the table for those athletes as well. In the end, having options is a wonderful thing, but how do we deal with our options when they are presented?
There is no real need to be stressed over which school you will choose. This rule applies to both sets of student athletes: those who have offers pouring in and those who might have only a slight trickle. Stressing out adds unneeded complications to an already-complicated situation, making it harder for anyone to think clearly about what decision is best for them.
Listen to Your Heart
As corny as it sounds, it’s rather effective. Be prepared for everyone around you to tell you everything you want to hear, while each of them has their own hidden agenda. Only you really know what you want out of a college experience; try listening to yourself.
I recommend you share your thoughts and ideas with those closest to you, but keep your thoughts and ideas yours. Don’t be swayed by the opinions of those closest; if your heart points you in a certain direction, then make that decision for you, not them.
Research, Research, Research
The only way to really learn about each school is to take time and actually do some research into a school’s location, roster, program, coaching staff, and academics. It’s a coach’s job to sell you on every aspect of their university, which sometimes means embellishing or omitting certain details. Many coaches benefit from student athletes not asking all the right questions up front, only to see those student athletes transfer at a later point.
Use the Athnet’s Coaches’ Contact Database to Create and Research Your Target School List!
Talk to Others
With respect to the growth of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, global communication is easier than ever. Without blatantly violating NCAA rules, think about reaching out to students (nonathletes) at universities you have placed on your target list. Get their opinions of the surrounding areas, campus life, academics, and the sports culture of the university.
Word travels fast in today’s media-crazed society. Anything you say or do can be heard, seen, or read by millions in minutes. It’s not wise to burn bridges in the business of college sports because the business is VERY SMALL. Understand that coaches speak with one another, and while you can politely and respectfully decline any invitation or pitch made by a coach, don’t be rude about not being interested. Cleary Logan Tuley-Tillman didn’t heed this advice when dealing with his letter from Ohio State.
Don’t Burn Bridges
Again, whether many options are thrown your way or you are scraping by with just a few, it’s important to keep nurturing relationships because “stuff happens.” My advice isn’t to not commit to or not to sign with the school you desire, but instead to be 100 percent about the decision on that school before it’s made. If you are not 100 percent, then it’s best to keep your options open while continuing to follow the preceding advice.
Remember decommitting from one program in favor of another scorns many parties. Although you may feel the decision is in your best interest, and it might be, you stand the possibility of ruining relationships with certain coaches and athletes built throughout recruiting. It’s best to avoid ruining these relationships because you never know when you might need to fall back on them.
Furthermore, injuries often happen with sports, and any offer on the table might get pulled due to an injury situation. If this happens, you will want something to fall back on; options will exist if they have been left open. If you close them too early, you are left scrambling at the last minute and are usually forced to make a decision on a school you don’t love just to say you play your sport in college.