There are several "players" involved in the process of identifying, evaluating and recruiting a student-athlete. Each of these players has a critical role in the process that student-athletes and their parents should fully understand. This section deals with a definition of who each of the players are and a general description of the role they play.
There are three primary associations whose purpose is to "...maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body." These associations give structure and definition to all aspects of collegiate athletics -- including recruiting. All of the associations offer free guides to help student-athletes and their parents understand the procedures and opportunities available.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
High school coaches are the scarcest resource in the recruiting process. Most student-athletes and their parents feel that it is the responsibility of their coach to help them find a scholarship. The challenges of coaching and teaching make it impossible for a coach to take on this responsibility. However, most coaches have a genuine interest in seeing their students go on to college and are more than willing to do what they can to help a student-athlete with the right potential move to the next level of their sport.
In addition to requests from student-athletes and parents, college recruiters look for help from high school coaches. College recruiters seek the experience that high school coaches have working with a particular student-athlete for an entire season or more. This information is critical to the college recruiters evaluation of the student-athlete.
Parents play an extremely important role in the recruiting process. The stress of helping their son or daughter make the best decision about college is compounded by the stress of the recruiting process. It is the parent's responsibility to help guide their child and support the decisions they make.
A special section of this document is dedicated to the parent's role in the recruiting process entitled "Parents Only".
It is important to remember that this is a decision about the student-athlete's education, and that athletic performance is only part of that education. An athletic scholarship from a college is an extremely rare thing -- less than 3% of high school student-athletes receive one! Going to college will be a major change in the life of the student athlete and there are many issues that have nothing to do with athletics that should be considered.
A special section of this document is dedicated to guidance for the student-athlete entitled "Athletes Only".
It is important to consider the college recruiter's role in this process -- particularly if a recruiter contacts the student-athlete. College recruiters must find needles in a haystack. They need to find the athletes with the most potential, evaluate the performance of those athletes, and convince those athletes they select to accept their offer. All the while, every other recruiter in the country is competing against them.
College recruiters receive thousands of unrequested profiles and videos every year. Most college programs don't have the ability to review them. Instead they rely on their own contacts to find potential candidates for recruitment and then request detailed information from the student-athlete. If a student-athlete is a "blue-chip" prospect, sooner or later the recruiter will get an evaluation from their high school coach.
The time the high school coach has for this process is extremely limited, the job of the college recruiter is overwhelming, and the student-athlete wants to make sure they are given consideration by the recruiter. Scouting and other recruiting services can be a useful tool in solving this problem. These services understand the needs of the college recruiter and fill these needs by doing their own evaluation of the student-athlete.
Unfortunately, most of these services are not reliable and cannot deliver what they promise. It's a good idea to ask the high school coach for reputable services.
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