The NCAA recruiting process is complex and the college recruiting industry is rife with misconceptions and false information. Participating in NCAA sports in college is getting more and more difficult every year with an increasing number of athletes trying to get recruited for the same roster spots. The process of getting recruited is multifaceted and includes everything from establishing your initial list of schools, to communicating with coaches, establishing financial feasibility and much more. The college athletic recruiting process can seem overwhelming, especially at the beginning. This is further compounded by a number of widely shared myths associated with the NCAA recruiting process. It is important to be aware of these myths if you want to successfully navigate the process. Many of these myths stem from a lack of understanding by parents and student-athletes of exactly how the process works. This is understandable, after all, most parents and student-athletes are going through this process for the first time.
Understanding the myths and misconceptions surrounding the NCAA college recruiting process can reduce frustration and help your recruiting journey be a more successful and effective one. Here are 6 of the most important college recruiting myths that you should be aware of.
Myth No. 1: NCAA Division I is the Only/Best Option
Participating in NCAA intercollegiate athletics at any level is a tremendous accomplishment. Families often believe that their strategy should center around NCAA Division I applications, regardless of the athlete’s ability and potential fit. NCAA Division I certainly isn’t the only good opportunity for college athletics. Focusing solely on DI could be a detriment to a student-athlete depending on their personality, goals and fit. Ultimately, the best opportunity will be at the college that is the best fit for each individual athlete, based on a number of factors including academics, geographical location, student body size, distance from family etc. Often, athletes are much better served at a NCAA DII, DIII or NAIA college. It is important for student-athletes to assess their goals as well as their athletic ability or level before deciding to pursue schools in certain divisions.
Myth No. 2: The NCAA College Recruiting Process Starts at the Beginning of your Senior Year in High School
One of the biggest mistakes that student-athletes make is to wait too long to start the recruiting process. NCAA recruiting is incredibly competitive, forcing college coaches to begin identifying and recruiting prospective athletes earlier and earlier every year. If you wait to start your recruiting efforts until your senior year, you most likely will be too late and the roster spots at your desired schools will likely be filled. The outcome of the college recruiting process will have a lasting effect on the students life, don’t be complacent about it.
Myth No. 3: You Need a Professional-Grade Recruiting Highlight Video
The college recruiting highlight video is an important component of your communication with coaches, as it helps document your athletic ability in your respective sport. However, college coaches are not looking for a television commercial, they want to watch a high quality video that is more substance than flash. The video should assist coaches by focusing on your skills and help them to quickly decide if you’re a good candidate for their program. There are a number of simple steps you can take to develop a high quality college recruiting video without breaking the bank.
Myth No. 4: Good Grades Don’t Matter If You are a Good Athlete
Student-athletes have to qualify for admission academically for any college that they are considering for NCAA athletics. While some colleges may be able to “dip” their admissions requirements a little to land a top recruit, they can only dip so much – and if a student-athlete is below their line, they won’t be admitted. Additionally, while it is true that talented student-athletes will be recruited more actively, coaches want to invest in athletes that will represent their program and university in a positive light — and good grades are a part of that. Your grades should work to complement your athletic ability during the NCAA recruiting process, not act as a hurdle to overcome for a successful recruiting outcome. In addition, good grades leading up to a successful NCAA recruitment will set a good precedent for your academics and grades during college. These grades will need to be maintained above a certain level in order for you to continue to compete and uphold scholarships.
Myth No. 5: If I’m Good Enough, the College Coaches Will Find Me
College coaches have recruiting budgets, and except for NCAA Division I football and basketball, those budgets are usually limited. As a result, college coaches are usually pretty targeted in how they search for and evaluate potential recruits. Therefore, if you wait around to get recruited, it may never happen, even if you are very talented. You need to proactively reach out to colleges on your own. ACA’s Individual College Recruiting Plans will provide the technology, educational resources and expertise to assist you in every aspect of the NCAA college recruiting process, and help you get recruited.
Myth No. 6: College Recruiting Companies Are My Best Shot
College recruiting websites advertise their services based on misleading data and false ideals. These recruiting companies will tell you that they have x number of coaches on their platform and that if you message y number of coaches you will get recruited. The problem with these college recruiting websites and their strategies is that coaches don’t like to receive messages from them or their platforms. An ACA survey of 100 college coaches found that only 5% of coaches liked recruiting website email communications. Recruiting companies tell you to message as many coaches as possible. This mass email strategy is impersonal and results in ineffective communication with coaches. As previously mentioned, the college recruiting process is very competitive, if you want to succeed you have to stand out by sending personal emails from your own email account. ACA’s Fit First Platform has all of the innovative features you need to find coaches and evaluate schools, but allows for personal, direct and effective communication.
Understanding the myths above will help give a good perspective as you are engaging with the NCAA recruiting process. Don’t fall into the trap of limiting your opportunities or negatively affecting your potential NCAA recruiting outcome by allowing any of the above myths to creep into your college recruiting strategy. For more college recruiting information, visit the ACA Blog.