Monday, September 29, 2014

Is the NAIA something you should look at for a scholarship?

Not many high school student-athletes are aware of the athletic scholarship opportunities at NAIA colleges. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has been assisting student-athletes since 1937 and serves close to 300 colleges and universities throughout the country. NAIA, like the more notable NCAA, focuses on the tradition that student-athletes are first a student studying to earn a degree and secondly a dedicated athlete who will be passionate about being part of a collegiate team.

Is NAIA Right For You?

If you are an athlete looking to participate in college sports, but aren't sure if you have what it takes to make it at top level NCAA division I or division II, than NAIA may be the right choice for you. NAIA colleges market the fact that their member institutions are smaller in student-body population; mostly under 10,000 students and have a more personal feel to them.

NAIA schools offer its students a number of sponsored teams, if you participate in any of these sports than an NAIA University could be what you are looking for.


Men's NAIA Sports



Cross Country

Indoor Track & Field

Outdoor Track & Field








Woman's NAIA Sports


Cross Country

Indoor Track & Field

Outdoor Track & Field








Emerging NAIA Sports

Men's & Women's Competitive Cheer & Dance

Men's & Women's Bowling

Men's Volleyball


Advantages recruits can take when searching for an NAIA School

Recruits who are proactive in their recruiting by activity researching college programs and creating a sports resume will be happy to know that the NAIA recruiting process is less restrictive than those of the NCAA. The NAIA makes it easy for potential recruits to contact college coaches; it even allows student-athletes to send their sports resumes to NAIA coaches while signing up on their online eligibility center. This will open up many opportunities for student-athletes since they will be better able to build relationships with coaches early on in their recruiting process and learn about possible opportunities without having to wait for designated contact periods.

Getting there

The NAIA helps NAIA colleges make sure recruits meet minimum academic standards as well as amateur status. Student-athletes who are sure that they will be attending an NAIA college to play sports will need to register with the NAIA eligibility center. The eligibility center is where the NAIA will compile all of the students' academic records, ACT or SAT test scores and sports team information in order to endorse the athletes' eligibility to participate on an NAIA sponsored sport. Meeting NAIA eligibility standards means that athletes will be cleared to participate at the NAIA level; they will still have to meet individual University standards of the college they plan to attend if the school has different minimum requirements. For information go to the NAIA site: NAIA

“Don’t just post a picture, send a message with the picture you post!”.

How to use pictures and videos on your Recruit Profile

Pictures and videos are always suggested for player profiles. Coaches want to SEE a player once they hit their web page. BUT, many times players create a library of 15, 20 eaven 100's of pictures and videos!

A college coach does not have time to browse volumes of media!

So we suggest keeping your pictures and videos to reasonable number. Think about the media before you upload it. Be sure that the picture tells the story you want the coach to know. I see pictures all of the time showing a player standing in the field! I suppose that this is clear evidence that the kid plays the game, but I am not sure why that would interest a scout! Add visuals that will grab someone's attention. As well, please take the time to edit the picture or video so it looks good. I see so many out of focus media, or a picture of a player making a great play, only it is from a long distance and shows the whole field. Just crop that picture and add a title on it and now it stands out! Here are couple of really easy and free online editors:

For pictures - BeFunky

For Videos - WeVideo

So can you effectively market yourself with only 2 pictures and 1 video?

Yes you can! And I would say better than if you have dozens of pics and videos. WHY? Because you just change to new media each week. When you change that media it is a perfect opportunity to send a new email to all of your coaches letting them know there is new stuff and reasons why they should look at you again (or maybe for the first time).

So good media is really crucial but being smart on how you deploy your media is always much better. Remember, "Don't just post a picture, send a message with the picture you post!"

Friday, September 26, 2014

NCAA Division One Softball Recruiting Rules

As a Sophomore in high school:

Recruiting Tactic

As a Sophomore

Recruiting Material

*You may receive brochures for camps and questionnaires.

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **Coach cannot call you.

Off-Campus Contact

*Not Permitted

Official Visits

*Not Permitted

Unofficial Visits


As a Junior in High School:

Recruiting Tactic

As a Junior

Recruiting Material

*You can begin to receive recruiting material and information from the coach on September 1st.

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **You can receive one per week starting July 1st after your Junior year. ***Telephone calls are unlimited during contact periods.

Off-Campus Contact

*Allowed July 1st after your Junior year.

Official Visits

*Not Permitted

Unofficial Visits


As a Senior in high school:

Recruiting Tactic

As a Senior

Recruiting Material

*You can receive material and information from the coach

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **Coach can call you once per week starting July 1st. ***Telephone calls are unlimited during contact periods.

Off-Campus Contact

*Allowed but no more than 3 times.

Official Visits

*You can start official visits on the opening day of your classes. ** You get one per college and a maximum of 5 visits to D1, and unlimited for D2, D3, and NAIA schools.

Unofficial visits


Other important information:

  • College coaches have 50 days in which to evaluate you. They cannot exceed that number.
  • College coaches can evaluate and/or contact you no more than 7 times during your senior year.
  • During your senior year a college coach cannot contact you more than 3 times.


NCAA Division Two Softball Recruiting Rules


As a Sophomore in high school:



Recruiting Tactic

As a Sophomore

Recruiting Material

*You may receive brochures for camps and questionnaires.

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **After June 15th coaches can call, text, and email you unlimited.

Off-Campus Contact

*After June 15 of your Sophomore year, these contacts are unlimited.

Official Visits

*Not Permitted

Unofficial Visits


As a Junior in High School:

Recruiting Tactic

As a Junior

Recruiting Material

*You can begin to receive recruiting material and information from the coach.

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **College coach can call, text, and email you unlimited.

Off-Campus Contact


Official Visits

*Not Permitted

Unofficial Visits


As a Senior in high school:

Recruiting Tactic

As a Senior

Recruiting Material

*You can receive material and information from the coach

Telephone Calls

*You can call the coach at your own expense. **College coach can call, text, and email you unlimited.

Off-Campus Contact


Official Visits

*You can start official visits on the opening day of your classes. **You get one per college and a maximum of 5 visits to D1, and unlimited visits to D2, D3 and NAIA schools.

Unofficial visits



Other important information:

  • Division 2 does not have any rules on the number of evaluations per student athletes.

  • College coaches cannot contact you on competition or practice days until your event is finished, and you are dismissed by the proper authority (like your high school coach or athletic director).
  • During a contact period college coaches can make only one visit per week to your high school.

Does playing for a bad team hurt my chances for a scholarship?

Sometimes in life, you can't choose the cards dealt to you. What do you do, if you find yourself on a high school team that isn't any good? Or, what should you do when your travel team losses most of their games? The process of being recruited to play sports in college can be a stressful one in and of itself. Add into that process the hurdle of playing for an noncompetitive team, and a potential student-athlete can be faced with an enormous hurdle.

The good news is that playing for a weak team will not completely ruin a recruit's chances of being scouted and ultimately recruited by college teams. However, just like the recruit likely has to while playing on his team, he or she will have to work harder to get noticed.

There are two places where a recruit can play for a struggling team: At the high school level and at the traveling or club level. How a recruit addresses the issue of being recruited differs depending upon which team of his or hers is struggling.

At the high school level, there are several options for the recruit. The first is to consider transferring high schools. This is a very big decision for a high schooler and their parents to make ad should not be taken lightly. It likely will involve extended travel times, making all new friends and even facing criticism from peers, coaches and teachers at the former school. Thus, this decision is not for the faint of heart. In transferring schools, the recruit should look to find opportunities that present him what his current sports program is lacking. Does he have access to better coaches? Does the school present better training opportunities? Is the team at the new school not only better, but lacking the component that the player excels at? At the end of the day, a high school transfer should only be made under extreme circumstances. Furthermore, parents and students must be completely assured that the transfer is in the student's best interests and will present opportunities better than those available at the student's present high school.

What, if like many players, a student doesn't want to transfer? This in and of itself will not prevent a student from being recruited. In fact, it can be a positive for his or her chances of being recruited. A current Division I basketball coach whose career has also seen a significant number of years at the Division II and III levels said, "It's really a wildcard. In some cases, playing on a poor team ends up benefiting the kid, if he is a good player. That is because he can become such a standout on the lesser team. Statistically, his production can be really impressive."

One thing that this coach stressed was the need for the student to become a leader of his team. Coaches know talent when they see it, and will not necessarily judge a kid negatively if his team is under performing However, if coaches do not see the potential recruit stepping up to lead his team to exceed their abilities or stepping up to use his talents to help the team win, then the student can see his chances of being recruited diminish.

Another place where an athlete can find him or herself on an under performing team is at the club or travel level. With this, athletes have more flexibility to step away from a program and find one better suited to their abilities. However, don't go looking for the best team you can find. Our DI softball coach reminds recruits that, "A big mistake that a lot of kids make is they want to get with a high profile gold team. On the fastpitch side, I see so many kids who go and get on a team and they are the 15th on the depth chart and don't play. As a result it hurts them recruiting wise, because there were too many good players there and they didn't play in front of coaches."

One thing this coach suggests, is for players to seek out more moderately talented competitive or travel teams. Coaches are not looking for the number of championships a travel team has won when they recruit potential student-athletes. Rather, they are looking for players' skills, leadership abilities and coachability. The best way for a recruit to showcase this, is by playing time. "If they played on a more moderate team where they had a higher impact, they would be better off. They would be better off, because they would receive more exposure and a volume of playing time allowing them to improve," he noted.

However, this coach cautioned against one thing when it comes to playing on an under performing team. Players and parents need to be sure that their child's team is playing against competitive teams. If a team routinely loses to tough competition, but a recruit still has a good performance, that will likely not hurt him or her in recruitment. However, if a team routinely loses to other under performing teams, a recruit's performance will likely not be weighed as highly by college coaches. "One thing that factors in is if the recruit is on a bad team and they only play against mediocre competition. That has a negative impact. If he's on a mediocre team that plays against good competition and plays well, that can work in a positive light," the coach noted.

Overall, parents and players need to be aware of the strength of the teams they are playing on. A team's strengths and weaknesses can affect an athlete's ability to be recruited both positively and negatively. As such, it's important for parents and recruits to make adjustments to the teams they are on and their playing abilities as necessary to garner the greatest recruitment exposure.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The NCAA Eligibility Center

When it comes to athletic recruiting and trying to receive an athletic scholarship, there are a lot of things for a student-athlete and his/her parents to think about. They have to come up with a recruiting plan, record highlight tapes and put in the effort to get in front of a college coach. One thing that is often overlooked is the fact that all NCAA student athletes must register with the Eligibility Center before they can receive an scholarship or play college sports for an NCAA school. put together a page that informs you of some key things that you need to know when it comes to the NCAA Eligibility Center:

5 Quick Facts About the NCAA Eligibility Center

  • 180,000 student athletes register with the NCAA each year, only 42% of those athletes (76,000) are recruited by a DI or DII universities
  • The NCAA receives over 500,000 pieces of mail and 180,000 phone calls each year
  • Registering with the NCAA does not help you get discovered or recruited by college coaches
  • You should only register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you are currently being recruited by DI or DII coaches

There are new eligibility requirements for athletes graduating in 2016 or later, 15% of athlete who meet the current academic standards would not be eligible under the new eligibility requirements (40% of basketball players and 35% of football players would not be eligible)

NCAA Eligibility Requirements

Your academic eligibility is determined using a combination of your high school graduation, GPA from your core courses and your SAT or ACT test scores.

  • You must graduate from high school
  • You must meet the minimum GPA in your core courses
  • You must meet the minimum requirements on your SAT or ACT test scores.
  • Your GPA and SAT/ACT test scores must combine to meet the minimum requirements laid out on the sliding scale

For complete NCAA academic eligibility requirements go here

New NCAA Eligibility Rules for Class of 2016

The NCAA has raised the minimum GPA you need in your core courses from 2.0 to 2.3.

On the NCAA sliding scale (combining your GPA and SAT or ACT scores) you will need to score approximately .5 higher on your GPA for the same test scores. For example, if you scored 700 on the SAT (math and reading only) under the old rules you would need a GPA of 2.8. With the new rules you will need a minimum GPA of 3.25 in order to play as a freshman (if you have a 2.8 or above, you can still receive a scholarship but will not be eligible to play your freshman year and this will greatly reduce your scholarship opportunities).

The new rules require that 10 of your 16 core course be completed before your senior year of high school and that you will not be allowed to retake any of those classes for a higher score. This is extremely important because for many athletes do not think about their eligibility until their junior year of high school and for many it will be too late to make up the core courses they need.

It is absolutely critical talk to you high school councilor and coach to make sure you are on track to be eligible. The NCAA does not help athletes become eligible, this needs to be done by you and your high councilors.

It's extremely important to get familiar with the Eligibility Center. You are already busy enough with classes and athletics. Make sure you register as soon as possible so you don't have to worry about it later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NCAA Division I Softball Recruiting Calendar

August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015
(See NCAA Division I Bylaw 13.17.7 for Softball Calendar Formula)

(a)       August 1 through November 26, 2014 [except for (1) below]:*        Contact Period
(1)    November 10-13, 2014:                                                                  Dead Period
(b)   November 27, 2014 through January 1, 2015 [except for (1) below]:   Quiet Period
(1)    December 3 (12:01 a.m.) through December 7 (12:01 a.m.),        Dead Period
(c)       January 2 through July 31, 2015 [except for (1) and (2) below]:      Contact Period
(1)        April 13-16, 2015:                                                                         Dead Period
(2)        May 26 through June 3 (noon), 2015:                                           Dead Period
(d)      During high school regional and state championship competition that does not occur during a dead period:
(e)       The following state specific contact/evaluation periods are permissible:
(1)        In Hawaii, contacts and evaluations shall be permissible between November 27, 2014, and January 1, 2015 [except for (a) below].
(a)   December 3 (12:01 a.m.) through December 7 (12:01 a.m.),
(2)        In those states that play high school softball season in the fall, evaluations shall be permissible during those seasons, except during dead periods.
*      Each institution is limited to 50 evaluation days (August 1 through
July 31) per Bylaw, which do not include employment of coaches in instructional camps/clinics or the observation of prospective student-athletes participating in high school softball competition.
**    Dates are based on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Convention
(December 3-6, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada).

Evaluation Period
Dead Period

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What is the NCAA?

The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, was established in 1906 and serves as the athletics governing body for more than 1,300 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations. The national office is in Indianapolis, Indiana, but the member colleges and universities develop the rules and guidelines for athletics eligibility and athletics competition for each of the three NCAA divisions. The NCAA is committed to the student-athlete and to governing competition in a fair, safe, inclusive and sportsmanlike manner.

The NCAA membership includes:

•    346 active Division I members;

•    291 active Division II members; and

•    439 active Division III members.

One of the differences among the three divisions is that colleges and universities in Divisions I and II may offer athletics scholarships, while Division III colleges and universities do not.

For more information about the NCAA or its members, please visit

What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes who wish to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics. To assist with this process, the NCAA Eligibility Center staff is eager to foster a cooperative environment of education and partnership with high schools, high school coaches and college-bound student-athletes. Ultimately, the individual student-athlete is responsible for achieving and protecting his or her eligibility status.

NCAA Eligibility Tips For Every Age Level

One part of playing college athletics that often gets overlooked is eligibility. You must be eligible by the NCAA if you want to participate in college sports. The NCAA Handbook does a great job of laying out the guidelines in this regard. Here are some steps you can take at every level to make sure that you are on your way to being eligible to play in the NCAA.

Freshmen and Sophomores

Start planning now!

Work hard to get the best grades possible.
Most high schools have a list of NCAA courses. Take classes that match your high schools list of NCAA courses. The NCAA Eligibility Center will use only approved core courses to certify your initial eligibility.

You can access and print your high school's list of NCAA courses at Click the NCAA College-Bound Stutdent-Athlete link to enter and then navigate to the "Resources" tab and select "U.S. Students" where you will find the link for the list of NCAA courses. has a great service to help with this.

At the beginning of your sophomore year, complete your online registration at If you fall behind, do not take short cuts. Classes you take must be four-year college preparatory and must meet NCAA requirements.


Register to take the ACT, SAT or both and use the NCAA Eligibility Center code "9999" as a score recipient. Doing this sends your official score directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Continue to take college prep classes.

Ask your high school counselor to send an official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center after completing your junior year.

Before registering for classes for your senior year, check with your hgh school counselor to determine the number of core courses that you need to complete your senior year.


Retake the ACT and/or SAT again if necessary.

Review your amateurism responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 (for fall enrollees) or October 1 (for spring enrollees).

Continue to work hard to get the best grades possible

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some recruiting advice for parents

Your athlete needs your support

Every scholarship athlete I have met has worked hard and deserves personal credit for his or her success. However, these students also received support and guidance from the important adults in their lives. This support ranges from washing uniforms, car pooling and cheering at events to coaching and to teaching sportsmanship and maturity. As student athletes make the transition to collegiate competition they need adult support and advice more than ever.

Parents understand the numbers:

It is parents for the most part who are looking at current college costs and despairing. Parents who want their sons and daughters to have a college education are seeing the costs go out of sight. Sports scholarships are not available to everyone, but for talented athletes they can combine the positive experience of college sports with a huge financial benefit. Parents understand those issues well enough to take an active role in helping their student athletes to help themselves.

Why students need help:

An athlete can either wait passively by the phone hoping that coaches will call or an athlete can take an active role in the recruiting process. Which will it be? Let's face it, it's easier to wait by the phone for the call. This is natural. Unfortunately, this passive approach is also encouraged by the image that the NCAA would like you to have of sports recruiting: that all worthy athletes will be contacted by fine coaches from terrific colleges and get offered scholarships to compete. This image is a myth. There are plenty of reasons to avoid the effort. It's not "cool" to make the effort yourself. Greg, Beth and John got called by a coach and they got scholarships. Waiting for the call is the way it's supposed to work. If I was a good enough athlete the calls would be coming....

It is true that many top prospects will get called without making an effort. Was it from a coach they had chosen? Was it from a school they had especially wanted to attend? Not all calls are the ones that an athlete was wishing for. Even for athletes who are almost certain to get recruiting calls, it is worthwhile for them to let coaches know of their interests in a sports program and a school.

How can parents help?

Most student athletes do not get serious about college plans until their senior year. We have talked with hundreds of high school counselors over the past several years. Unfortunately, these professionals also think that college sports recruiting is an activity that is only for seniors. Parents must motivate student athletes to start early. The earlier that an athlete starts, the better the athlete's chances of getting the best college sports situation.

First steps:

Encourage your athlete to learn about the recruiting process. What are the divisions of the NCAA? Which schools are in what division? How does the division relate to athletic scholarship opportunities? What must the high school student do to be eligible to play in college? What other perks are possible for competing in college sports? How does your athlete's talent match up with the requirements in the sports programs of particular schools? Getting answers early to some of these questions will start an athlete on the road to a good recruiting experience.

Starting early boosts opportunities

The enterprising high school athlete can get a big head start on the recruiting process because students who start early have all the advantages. Students who start early and initiate contacts help themselves and help the coach. With only a couple of exceptions, coaches cannot initiate a contact until after the athlete's junior year in high school. However an athlete can call a coach almost any time.

NCAA rules also define when and under what conditions a recruited athlete can visit at the school's expense, but parents and their student athletes can visit a school at any time at their own expense. On such a visit you can meet with school officials and coaches. The sooner the choices get narrowed down, the better off the athlete is when his official recruiting season starts.

The Sports Scholarship Handbook has specific actions and strategies that an athlete can do to increase recruiting opportunities and recruiting success. Many of these should be started long before the end of the junior year in high school.

Be wary of recruiting services

The pitches from so-called "recruiting services" and "sports marketing services" are appealing. They say that they can put your athlete's name in front of a hundred coaches. They have testimonials from athletes and coaches. Every year in almost every school there are parents who pay hundreds of dollars to these services. Almost every parent I've talked with who has paid for such a service has said it was worth it. Their athlete got some letters from schools showing interest. On the other hand, almost none of the athletes I talked with ended up attending a school identified by a recruiting service.

Why the discrepancy? Maybe it is because they thought that a few hundred dollars was worth it to be able to say that they gave it their best shot. Maybe the excitement of getting some letters from schools they had never heard of thousands of miles away was worth the cost. It is not clear. What is clear is that they could have gotten a better sports situation by using the strategies in The Sports Scholarship Handbook, checking out colleges directly and visiting schools that their student athlete found interesting.

It isn't rocket science

It is easier for student athletes to get actively involved in their own recruiting than they think. Not only is it easier, but it is exciting and motivating. It can make opportunities happen. The Sports Scholarship Handbook has dozens of suggestions and examples of steps that student athletes can take to enhance their college sports opportunities. Some of these steps will require the support and involvement of parents. Some of them require working within NCAA rules to avoid problems. It isn't rocket science but learning the ins and outs will help.

The "full ride"

In almost every high school there are senior athletes who get recruited by college coaches. It is pretty typical that the level of this recruitment and the size of the scholarship offers get exaggerated. What is a full ride? More than once you are likely to hear that some athlete received a "full ride" scholarship offer. Athletes and their parents are anxious for recognition and the gold standard for sports scholarships is the full ride. Therefore it is not surprising to hear of anything from a semester's tuition to a full grant-in-aid referred to as "a full ride." Do not feel in competition with the offers received by other student athletes. Situations don't compare, sports don't compare, schools don't compare and you don't even know what someone else is calling a "full ride."

What constitutes a good scholarship offer varies widely with the college, the division that the college competes in, the sport, the talents of the individual athlete and even the athlete's gender. Rather than worrying about someone else's scholarship offer, you and your student athlete should be looking for the best college option for him or her. It may mean a full ride or a partial ride or it may mean the chance to attend a great school and have fun competing in college sports. The recruiting process is the chance to evaluate everything about a college offer. Judge the opportunity as a whole, not simply the dollar amount of the award.

It is the student's decision

Parent support starts with encouragement and it ends with supporting the student athlete's decision about which opportunity to accept. In the middle it will help to keep in mind that it is the student's talent, the student's hard work, the student's success and the student's life and not yours. The line between supporting the student and living through the student's success is one that can be hard to negotiate at times. Try to recognize when you cross that line and make an adjustment

FastPitch Recruits has a new look!

Here is our new logo.. hope you like it.

The new user interface will be done very soon! That we know you will like… thanks

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Softball Recruiting: Take Your Time and Give Yourself Options

Getting recruited to play softball can be tough. The national exposure just isn't there like it is in basketball and football. Even baseball is starting to get a little bit more exposure. There aren't a ton of websites or TV coverage that help a softball recruit get her name out there. For the very top softball players, getting recruited in eighth grade is becoming more and more popular. However, just because you're getting recruited at such a young age doesn't mean you have to rush your decision at a young age.

When it comes to making a decision that plays such a huge part in your future, so many kids are making this decision way before they're ready. Even if you think you're ready, you're not. Jim Alexander of The Press Enterprise wrote a column about a softball player who was starting to receive attention from major Division I programs when she was in eighth grade.

According to the article, Taylor Dockins received her first recruiting communication from a Division I softball program in September of 2012. She was 13, and in the eighth grade.

"Mike Stith, the head coach of our (travel ball) organization, called my dad and said, 'Oh, you know, the University of Washington head coach (Heather Tarr) really wants to talk to you,' " she said. "It was kind of a surprise. I had to call her real quick and it was pretty cool. It was really interesting to talk to a college coach."

Unlike some players and their families who make a verbal commitment to a college even before they see the inside of a high school classroom, Taylor and her parents, Rick (who works for Turner Construction) and Debi (a homemaker), don't seem to be in a rush to choose, at least until she's finished her freshman year at Norco.

"I do want to take some extra time," Taylor said. "I want to make sure it's the right fit for me, and make sure that's the school I really want to play for, that I can see myself there for four years. But I would definitely have to think about it more. This year is a little too soon for me."

It looks like Taylor understands the decision she's going to make and wants to make sure it's the right one. It isn't going to be this easy for a majority of college softball prospects. This is where you need to put in the work. Make sure you contact plenty of schools so when it's time to make a decision, you're committing to the school that's right for you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The first 3 questions a college coach will ask a recruit

One of the biggest stressors for recruits may not be performing in games in front of college coaches, but rather, the questions college coaches may ask them. Most recruits have experienced few job interviews at this age. Thus, they oftentimes lack the experience necessary to fully and adequately answer a coach's questions in a way that highlights their best attributes. Given this, it is beneficial to a recruit if he or she knows ahead of time some questions to prepare for. Expecting these questions to arise, the recruit can prepare answers so that their responses appear polished when speaking to college coaches. Recently, College Sports Scholarships reached out to a Division I assistant men's basketball coach and a Division II assistant football coach to learn some of the top questions they ask recruits.

Who is helping you in the decision making process?

Both coaches noted that one of the first questions they ask recruits is who is going to help them make their college selection decision. For the coaches, this question is based in part upon strategy and determining how they are going to recruit the potential student-athlete. "Is their decision maker a family member, a coach or somebody else? I need to know who is going to be influential in helping them make their decision, so that I can begin to build a fence around the recruit and know who I will be contacting during the recruitment process," a Division I men's basketball coach said.

With respect to this, the coach noted that it is best that a recruit limit those involved in his or her decision making process to the most integral person. Unless a recruit is a high-level talent, coaches generally do not enjoy having to jump through layers of people to secure a recruit. Thus, recruits should be clear upfront as to who besides them is going to influence their college decision. "Every kid has to be told that it's ok to make this decision. We need to know who we are going to build relationships with to help make sure they choose us. We want to make sure that when a recruit makes a decision, everyone around him feels good about that decision," a Division I assistant basketball coach said.

What are you looking for in a college?

The next question recruits can expect to face is one asking what they are looking for in the next level of their playing career. This question can have several elements to it. For instance, how much playing time does the recruit expect? Are the recruit's wants and needs regarding playing time realistic? What kind of playing atmosphere does the recruit desire and how does the school's location and fan base provide that atmosphere? Finally, what is the recruit seeking in terms of academics? Does the school have the programs necessary to help the recruit reach his or her full potential after graduation? "A recruit needs to be open and honest in answering these questions. This is the best way for both parties to determine whether or not the recruit is a good fit for the school," a Division I assistant basketball coach said.

What questions do you have for the coach?

Finally, a third question recruits can expect to hear from coaches is "what questions do you have for us?" "So much of recruiting is evaluation and analysis being completed by coaches, with coaches also asking kids questions. However, it's important that a recruit get answers to all of the questions he or she has about the process, program and school. This is one of the biggest decisions a youngster faces, and so it's important that their decision is informed. A decision can only be informed if a recruit and his parents get answers to all of their pressing questions," said a Division II football coach. Before meeting with a coach, a recruit should sit down with his parents or other individuals who will be helping him make his college decision to write out a list of top questions to ask the coach. Given that the recruit will have a limited amount of time with the coach, these questions should be prioritized in terms of importance to the recruit's college decision. When asking the coach the questions, the recruit should seek to clarify any looming unknowns.

Overall, thorough and frequent communication is key in the recruiting process. The easiest way to accomplish solid communication is through asking questions. This goes for coaches and recruits. So, be prepared to ask and answer! Do you have more questions? Ask them in the comments below.

Question: Can I go to college with less than a 3.0 GPA?

You can go to a four-year college with less than a 3.0 GPA. There are a number of colleges that are open admissions meaning that they will admit anyone who meets their minimum standards. This can mean just having passed specific classes in high school or meet minimum scores on selected placement tests.
Students with below a 3.0 GPA are also admitted to colleges without open admissions. For example, McMurry University in Abilene, Texas admitted 55% of applicants and 21% had less than a 3.0 GPA. Midwestern State University accepted 75% of students and also had 21% of its freshman with less than a 3.0 high school GPA.
In some states such as Texas, students can be admitted to state public institutions without consideration of GPA. The University of Texas at El Paso has an admission's grid based on class rank and college test scores which may account for 24% of the freshman having a GPA below 3.0. Texas A&M-Kingsville has a similar process and has 25% of those enrolling with less than a 3.0 average.
The question is should you start at a four-year institution if you have less than a 3.0 GPA. It's basically a question of the GPA reflecting your actual work ethic and academic accomplishments in high school. If the low GPA is explained by an unusual, one-time disruption to your GPA, you may be more than ready to handle college work.
However, if the low GPA is a reflection of poor work and study habits, why do you think you'll do any better once you start college?
Despite the drawbacks in attending a community college, you may be better off testing your abilities at a community college given the higher costs of attending a four-year institution. Most community colleges cost less than state universities, have smaller classes, and will probably provide more support services. An increasing number also provide dorms and honors programs.
Furthermore, considering the low graduation rates of some four-year institutions, community colleges with articulation agreements with four-year schools may be preferable approach to a four-year degree. Some states such as Virginia and California have guarantee admission agreements between their community college system and four-year institutions, including some of the more prestigious state universities.
If nothing else, establishing a new GPA at a community college would also expand the number of four-year colleges that would accept you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Question: If a school's tuition plus room and board costs $50,000 per year, and they have 12 scholarships to give, does that mean they have $600,000 to split up for a team. Am I understanding the numbers correctly?

Answer: This is actually a fairly complex issue. While one answer might be yes, the Div. I school has $600,000 to divide among its 18-20 players, you must remember this is a total number, not an annual one. So even at a truly fully funded college, the coach might only have $75,000 to spend in a given year.

Coaches can (and usually do) give partial amounts to different players, reserving the full ride--if they give those--for major impact players such as pitchers. And if the coach graduates 4 athletes who are getting $30,000, $10000, $17000, and $18000 respectively, that coach might only be able to offer your player $15000 as a freshman because of what the coach is spending to replace other players in that group.

Now, this is assuming the school is fully funded with tuition and room and board. Some schools have 12 scholarships total, but that might be 12 tuition scholarships only. Their particular grants might not include room and board, leaving less money overall for recruiting.

While a coach who has twelve scholarships might elect to give full rides to 10 players and divide the remaining 2 scholarships between 4 players, leaving the other kids on the team to fund their education in other ways, it's more likely he or she will chose to break up those scholarships. If 18 players on the team are getting some amount of money, it's unlikely more than a couple of them are getting everything paid for.

Added note: It's also good to remember that many Div. I schools are not fully funded--i.e., they may have 4 or 7 or 9 scholarships to spend, and that Div. II schools are only allowed a total of just over 7 scholarships.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Change for a Reason: The Redesigned SAT

The College Board has recently implemented greatest single change in the SAT test since the test began decades ago. The SAT taken by millions of college-bound students now includes a student-written essay. This new section of the test will increase the maximum total score possible to 2400 from the previous maximum of 1600. Other changes include the elimination of word analogies and "quantitative comparisons." In addition there are changes in some of the math subject areas covered and in the kinds of questions asked.

The New SATs and NCAA eligibility
The new SAT understandably has high school students worried. For student athletes the question arises in the context of Division I and II eligibility requirements. For instance, there is a minimum SAT or ACT score required for initial eligibility in Division II. For Division I initial eligibility there is a sliding scale of test scores and high school grades. The NCAA has no plans to include the score on the student-written essay at this time. The SAT scores in the NCAA initial eligibility requirements will continue to be the sum of the verbal and math components of the SAT test. They plan to watch the situation and could change the specific eligibility requirements based on experience in scoring the new tests.

New rules reduce financial aid
The U.S. government has adopted new rules on how federal financial aid is calculated. These new rules have increased the "expected family contribution" (EFC) figure calculated from family financial data submitted in the "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" (FAFSA). The result is that many families will now be required to pay significantly more than the previous rules required. These rules will impact need-based college financial aid at most colleges and universities since schools will be required to follow the federal guidelines or give up federally subsidized aid for their students. News stories about the changes in the FAFSA calculations indicate that the committee that drafted the new rules did not intend such drastic changes in the calculation of need. There may be revisions that adjust the rules, but for now these changes emphasize the importance of sports scholarship aid.

See the new SAT changes here


Find the colleges that will recruit you to play college softball.

The fundamental fact of college softball recruiting is that you can't be recruited if the coach doesn't know that you exist. Gone are the days of a player being spotted at their local high school game.


Too many players worry about colleges finding them.

What they need to do is to find the colleges. But there are 1,600 colleges that offer softball programs.


How do you decide from over 1,600 colleges?

What you need to do is to create a general list of up to 500 acceptable colleges and then start narrowing it based on the specifics of the softball teams, contact with the coaches, and academic offerings.


To generate this list, you need to find out two sets of information about the colleges: what you really need to know and what you should know.


What you really need to know about colleges:

Does it fit your athletic abilities? Division Level and Conference indicates the general competitive level of the school. You can make a good first cut with this information. Three of the four final schools my son was considering were in the same conference (obviously not for softball).


Can you get in?

The SAT/ACT profile will give you an idea if it will be easier or harder for you to be admitted.

Can you afford it? Given that the biggest college division in the NCAA is the one that doesn't offer athletic scholarships, D3, more than likely you will be paying some, if not all, the tuition bill yourself. You need to know the Average Net Price so that you know what kind of bills you'll be looking at.


Will you get a degree?

Graduation Rates indicate your chances of graduating if you deciding to quit playing softball.


How many people will be competing for positions on the team?

At the most basic level, the bigger the school, the more competition exists to play on the team.


Will there be anything to do when you're not playing softball?

Are students generally involved with campus activities? In other words, will there be things to do on campus and people to do them with when you take a break from studying? The higher the percentage of students who are part-time and the lower the dorm availability, the more likely the college is a commuter campus with less student support and involvement. Such schools also tend to have lower graduation rates.


How much does the college care about softball?

Knowing how much a school spends on softball compared to other sports or other schools in its conference shows the relative importance of softball at the school.


Will your grades make you more competitive?

The lower the acceptance rate, the more your academic credentials can help you to narrow the competition. You only have to compete against other with similar gpas and test scores.

10 Steps to Help Your Child get Recruited by a Coach

The following is an article by Joie Jager-Hyman, college consultant and author of B+ Grades, A+ Applications. Joie was an Assistant Director of Admissions at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, and has a Doctorate in Education Policy.

Many students dream of playing sports on the college level but most athletes don’t know how to get started with the college recruiting process. How can you tell if you’re good enough to play for a university? When should you reach out to coaches, how do you contact them and what’s the best way to introduce yourself? What role does academics play in the athletic recruiting process? These are just a few of the commonly asked questions I get from the students I work with as a college admissions consultant.

To give student-athletes a head start, I worked with Andrew Herman, who is an experienced university Athletic Director, on developing these ten basic steps to get the athletic recruitment ball rolling (pun intended) for my new book, B+ Grades, A+ Applications, which will be published by Ten Speed this summer.

1. Be Good at the Sport

In addition to beating school records, coaches are looking to recruit athletes who also spend time outside of school playing in tournaments and investing time in off-season training. For most sports, it’s also important to begin a weight-training program because college athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger than high school athletes.

2. Become Familiar with the NCAA Rules and Regulations

It’s easy to get confused when researching colleges individually since each NCAA classification (Division I, II and III) has their own rules and regulations. The NCAA website ( is a comprehensive resource for athletes to understand the different classifications, regulations, team rankings and academic requirements.

3. Find Role Models

It’s important to do research about how other student-athletes in a sport got recruited to learn more about the recruiting process. Additionally an athlete may want to research college athletes’ bios online and see if you can spot some themes and what they have done to get them where they are. (i.e. Did all the lacrosse players at your top-choice school play for a particular travel team or attend a camp?)

4. Get a Head Start

Most coaches begin recruiting athletes in their junior year of high school and most athletes commit to a college the following summer or fall. Since the athletic recruiting process is earlier than the regular college admissions timeline, by the end of sophomore year or beginning of junior year an athlete should start putting together a list of potential colleges that might be a good fit athletically and academically.

5. Get the Best Grades You Can

Although athletes are favored in the admissions process, they still have to meet the college’s minimum admission requirements to be accepted. It’s best to keep options open and cast a wide net when looking at colleges the beginning of the process because there is still time to improve as an athlete and a student.

6. Create a Resume to Send to Coaches

Take the initiative to send a resume to coaches at the schools of interest. Resumes should include: name and contact info, relevant physical characteristics, athletic and academic experience. Athletes can also include any outside hobbies or other extracurricular interests.

7. Write a Cover Letter

When sending resumes, an athlete should be sure to attach a brief cover letter introducing himself or herself to the coach. Keep the letter short and sweet, remembering to show enthusiasm for the school by including one or two details about the college and some information about personal academic interests. To ensure future contact, athletes should let the coach know their intentions to keep he or she updated on their progress.

8. Make a Video

Coaches use videos to see what athletes look like in action. The footage does not need to be professional, but it would be best to put together a short segment of a game or a series of clips that showcase personal athletic abilities relevant to the sport. Be sure to show it to people who can provide appropriate feedback before sending.

9. Send out Packets

A packet is the most important and comprehensive piece of information an athlete has to share with coaches. A packet should include: a resume, cover letter, video, and a copy of the transcript so the coach sees if an athlete meets the school’s academic profile. The earlier an athlete sends their packets (think winter of junior year), the more time they have to communicate with coaches.

10. Follow up

Athletes should be sure to follow-up with any coach that contacts them after they have sent their packets. The response should be brief and should express interest in learning more about the team, including questions about any camps or tournaments that they plan to attend and if the coach will also be there. If an athlete doesn’t hear from a coach within two weeks, he or she can write an email to inquire whether or not the coach has received the packet, kindly restating their interest in the school.

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