College recruiting can be a scary process for student-athletes and parents alike. Student-athletes may be filled with nerves, but more often than not, their parents are the most stressed. Parents, it’s okay to be nervous for your child and want the best for them, but keep in mind, you can only do so much for them!
To help the process run smoothly, former MLB player and current championship-winning baseball coach at Mobile Christian School, Jason Smith, and offensive line coach at Faulkner University, Jordan Cagle, offer some pro tips on recruitment.
Feeling The Pressure
Coach Smith gives his take on what he has seen put the most pressure on students.
TIME. When recruiters go after a player, that player is given a timeframe to make their decision. Why? Because if that player isn't certain that is the place for them, they need to move on to the next option. A tight timeframe is definitely a leading cause in putting on the pressure.
Having a planner or a calendar marked with all the dates you need, can help ease some of the pressure from time restraints and deadlines. We recommend taking a look at the NCAA recruiting calendar.
Following The Calendar
The NCAA recruiting calendar varies from sport to sport but here are some generic key terms to know that appear on most sports’ calendars. Make sure you check your child’s individual sport’s recruiting calendar for the best time to contact coaches and schedule tours.
Here are some key terms that will help you follow the recruiting calendars with ease:
- Quiet Period: Making in-person recruiting contacts is allowed—only on the member institution’s campus. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations may be made during the quiet period.
- Dead Period: No in-person recruiting contacts on or off the member institution’s campus or official or unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes to the institution’s campus allowed.
- Evaluation Period: Authorized athletics department staff members can be involved in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospective student-athletes. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts are allowed.
- Contact Period: Authorized athletics department staff members can make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
Securing the Scholarships
While no two schools or sports are the same—and this is typically not the case at larger schools—for Coach Cagle’s football program, every member is on some type of scholarship. These scholarships may look different from person to person. However, in Coach Smith’s experience, “Not every athlete on a sports team in college is on scholarship. There are many that may receive very little, if any, money for school from that particular team.”
As you can see, scholarships vary from school to school and program to program. Despite there not being a guarantee for scholarships, Smith shares, “the life lessons that come from sports, the camaraderie that comes from teammates, the time spent training with fellow teammates, and all the experiences and relationships built are definitely worth the sacrifice.”
For the Parents
According to Faulkner University’s Coach Cagle, “Every student-athlete’s family situation is different. Most student-athletes are beyond excited to have the opportunity to play the sport that they love in college. But, through that excitement, the teen may overlook some of the important details that go into that decision. We often get the most questions from parents of prospective student-athletes. We as coaches should and do welcome those questions and concerns from both the parents and the student-athletes. It’s important that when picking a college or university to attend, that the family has as much information as possible.”
Parents are there to guide their children to help find the right fit for them. Coach Cagle believes parents play an important role to include in the recruiting process, but also encourages them not to overstep or do the work for their child.
What Parents Can Do Right Now
While you can’t improve their grades or impress college recruiters for them, you as a parent can always encourage your child and be there to support them.
“Parents could help by encouraging their child to continue putting in hard work at whatever sport they enjoy and also make sure they do the best they can in the classroom, because a lot of times, more money for school can come in the form of academic scholarships.” - Coach Smith