A great question was posted on one of our favorite recruiting blogs, Coach Thurmond’s College Golf Recruiting Blog. A recruit asked him, “For the Walk-On Tryout in September, do I just show up and play, or is there a registration process?”
Not all Athletes are Scholarship Athletes
We have discussed walking-on as a topic before, but Coach Thurmond’s answer allows us to go into the question a little bit deeper. Walking-on to a program involves much more than just showing up and trying out. Young athletes tend to think that there is more scholarship money available than there really is, and often they overlook the difficulty of finding even a walk-on spot.
In most NCAA sports, coaches are allowed to split up a full scholarship and give multiple athletes a partial scholarship; however, even partial scholarships are hard to come by. More often than not college coaches round off their team with walk-on athletes. These athletes don’t just show up and play though; they are at the very least usually mildly recruited.
Whats the Process to Becoming a Walk-on Athlete?
Coach Thurmond answers the question by saying there are specific requirements to walk on to a program. He first tells him to email his assistant coach who runs the tournament. The point here is that you must reach out to coaches yourself if you want to have a chance to play at schools. Yes, it may be possible to walk-on without having too much contact with a coach, but the more diligent you are in contacting coaches, the more you will increase your chances. Athletes often earn scholarships by developing a relationship with coaches when they are a walk-on athlete, so starting to build those relationships while you are still in high school will only help you.
There are other basic requirements to walking-on that you must take care of before you try out. If you are going to compete at an NCAA division I school or a division II school, you will still have to register for the NCAA Eligibility Center to make sure that you are eligible to compete. This step may take longer than you think since you have to have your standardized test score sent directly from either College Board (SAT) or from ACT; you will also have to have your official transcript sent directly from your high school. The NCAA may also review your amateur status. A physical medical exam is required to try out for a sports team as well. Finally, you will have to be an enrolled in the school you are trying to walk-on and play for.
It’s not easy to get recruited on a walk-on, and it usually takes some hard work on the athlete’s part, but with a little focus you could end up on the road to a college scholarship.