Myths and Realities of College
Athletics and Recruiting
- Myth: If you are good enough, coaches will find you
Reality: There are too many players and too few coaches for every player to get exposure, plus many coaches have strict recruiting budgets and part time jobs, making it sometimes impossible to see many players in person. Their season is also much more rigorous and takes place the same time your does, leaving them little free time.
- Myth: Division 1 programs have big recruiting budgets.
Reality: Some of the larger schools with top notch football and basketball programs do have large recruiting budgets but most do not. There are very few coaches that have the ability to fly around the country to recruit players and have an endless coaching staff that they can send out to scout.
- Myth: Division 3 Schools are weaker athletically
Reality: In some cases yes, but in many cases no. Many Division 3 programs have very talented athletic programs, this is often because players there are there to get an education first and play athletics second. But they are still talented and dedicated athletes who wanted to continue their athletic career in college, but wanted to do it on their own terms. If you think you can just stroll onto a D3 program you are in for a surprise.
- Myth: All colleges offer athletic scholarships
Reality: Only Division 1 & 2 colleges can offer athletic scholarships. Division 3 Programs cannot offer athletes athletic scholarship money.
- Myth: Most athletes get a full scholarship or no scholarship
Reality: Most coaches divide scholarship money up to a number of players, so if a coach has 2 full scholarships available he or she can divide that money up and offer a portion to 10 different players if they want to.
- Myth: Division 1 programs do not offer walk-on tryouts.
Reality: While walking onto the Kentucky basketball team will be pretty difficult, many coaches rely on walk-on's each year and will usually conduct tryouts to give as many kids a chance as possible. It is better to find out what walk-on opportunities exist before you show up at the field, but now you know they do exist and it is possible.
- Myth: I shouldn't go to a Division 3 School if I need scholarship money
Reality: Many D3 schools offer attractive financial aid programs and you should not overlook any school, even if they do not offer athletic scholarships.
- Myth: College coaches will help me get into their school if I am on the bubble academically.
Reality: While some coaches may be able to "nudge" the administration and I use the term nudge very carefully, most coaches will not and cannot help you get into the school. There are thousands of students who may want to attend a school, who may be more talented than you and they have every right to attend even if they don't play a sport. Plus, a coach does not want to put you in a position where you may fail academically. That is not fair to you or them and they will be pretty honest with you when assessing your academic standing. Some college coaches will not even acknowledge your athletic skill until they have determined you are close enough academically to get into their school
- Myth: All Division 1 & 2 programs have scholarships available
Reality: While the NCAA mandates how many scholarships a school can offer for a particular sport, it is up to the school whether or not they want to and can offer the number of scholarships allotted to them. Example: Division 1 baseball programs are allowed to offer 11.7 scholarships, but most division 1 baseball schools may offer only 3 or 4 scholarships. I have been told that the University of Maine is the only division 1 baseball program in New England that offers 11.7 baseball scholarships. So even though you think they are available, they may in fact no be available.
- Myth: If you receive a form letter from a coach, you are being recruited
Reality: Coaches send out thousands of letters to players they may or may not have heard of and there are probably 200 kids tearing open the same exact letter you got. Read the letter and respond to it, whether you are interested in the school or not.
- Myth: Recruiting companies give me a better shot at being recruited.
Reality: While recruiting companies have been around a long time, there has been a surge in the number of companies attempting to promote athletes over the Internet claiming that if you put an online profile of yourself on their system, coaches will find you. While there are rare cases of this happening, the research we have done and the feedback we have received on these services is very poor. There are simply too many of them and coaches will be hard pressed to spend 2 hours sifting through a 1000 student-athlete profiles online that really tell the coach little about you as a person and as an athlete.
- Myth: Graduating from high school and getting good grades in enough to make me eligible to play college athletics
Reality: You must have a minimum GPA, SAT/ACT score and must complete a certain number of core classes such as math, english, history, science, and foreign language. If you have good grades and good SAT scores but maybe failed english your freshman, you may be in trouble. Please sit down with your guidance counselor to review your courses and to register with the Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
- Myth: College coaches only recruit top players
Reality: College coaches recruit anyone they think can play at their program and recruit anyone who shows an interest in their program. Just because you are not the star of your team does not mean you cannot play in college.
- Myth: I shouldn't go to a school where I can't start my first year
Reality: Why not, If you go to a school where you can start your first year, chances are you are not in a very strong program or they do not face strong competition. You should go to a program where you have time to grow athletically and get better over time. You will be facing more experienced players in college and it will take you time to get your skill level up to theirs.
- Myth: High school coaches are qualified to determine if I am college athletic material
Reality: While many coaches are, many are not and many never played a sport in college. The bottom line, there are many factors that determine if you can play in college and your high school coach may have no idea if you can or not.
- Myth: College coaches will be honest with me when I meet with them
Reality: Many will, but in some cases this is big business and coaches cannot afford to have few options available, so even though they may tell you that you are the number one quarterback, there may be 3 or 4 other quarterbacks that they have recruited already or are trying to recruit.
- Myth: College coaches can contact me anytime they want.
Reality: There are strict rules as to when a coach can send you literature and contact you. A coach cannot call you till after you have completed your junior year. For more specifics, please visit NCAA.org
- Myth: Playing college athletics will not be much different than high school, aside of the skill level
Reality: Playing college athletics is an unbelievable commitment in time and in dedication and will be nowhere close to
your high school experience. In college you will play or practice for 3 seasons, in the fall, winter and in the spring, and be required
to do lifting and running programs as well. You may also be practicing at 6AM or Midnight or twice a day depending what facilities are available when.
- Myth: I will be able to play more than one sport in college
Reality: While this may be physically possible, it may not be realistically possible. College athletics is not like high school where you have one season in the fall, spring or winter and that is it.
A college athletic team will work out in all three seasons in one form or another making it very difficult to dedicate yourself to one team. Coaches will also question your own personal dedication to their team and may frown upon any attempt to play more than one sport.
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