On Recruiting

The changing climate of college recruiting

College athletics has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and coaches are under tremendous pressure to achieve two important goals: 1) Win and 2) Drive program revenue upward. The one directly affects the other. Alumni will enthusiastically support a winning team, but the opposite is also true. The changing climate of college athletics has had direct impact on the recruitment of prospective student-athletes and with that, a dramatic shift in organizing and managing student-athlete strategies in registering early and effectively on the radar of college coaches.

Recruitment is essential for college coaches to maximize future team advancement. This is achieved through active cultivation of strong relationships with high school and club coaches, prospects and their families. College coaches use many recruiting tools at their disposal, while abiding by strict NCAA rules and regulations.

Rewind
Twenty years ago, the majority of prospective student-athletes were simply “found” and the volume of identifiable athletes was very manageable. Nowadays and with the surge of private sport clubs, the college recruiting arena has grown to gothic proportions and with increased competitiveness.

Decades ago, college prospects could comfortably launch their recruiting effort during the junior year in high school. Now, and especially with the increased popularity of verbal offers of athletic scholarships and admission to select, non-scholarship college options, prospects need to kick start the recruiting process as early as the ninth grade.

Fast Forward
A good college coach will offer truthful and honest information regarding the university and the chances the prospect has as a potential team member and a scholarship athlete. He will work diligently to avoid gray areas, especially where it involves athletic scholarship and, in the case of non-scholarship schools, the prospects chances in Admissions. Through the use of skillful contacts, the college coach will attempt to cultivate a relationship that will hopefully result in matching a prospect with his or her institution in a mutually benefiting experience.

Likewise, a productive family effort will be well-planned and impeccably executed. It will involve a team approach that should consist of the following players: parents, prospect, high school/club coach, college advisor, guidance counselor and personal mentor. Each team player will have a specific role to play in order to ensure the prospect’s best chance in navigating the college search with success.

Advance goals should be set with clarity, purpose, and...

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Columnist

Tom Kovic

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families in navigating the college recruiting process. For further information visit Victoryrecruiting.com.

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