April 14, 2024

Chapter Three – The College Sports Recruiting Process… What Really Happens

In order to obtain an athletic scholarship, you must certainly have talent; but you must also develop the ability to get the recruiters to notice your talent.

Chances are, you won’t automatically be recruited just because you are a good player. While there are some 360 thousand NCAA student-athletes, there are millions of kids vying for athletic scholarships.

Recruiting has become more and more sophisticated and the competition has never been greater. In fact, some college coaches in some sports are now even recruiting internationally.

If you are not a sought-after “blue chip” player and you want to reach your goal of obtaining an athletic scholarship, then YOU will have to be instrumental in making things happen for yourself. Critical to making things happen, is your ability to get college coaches and or recruiters to know that you exist.

Then, you must provide them the opportunity to see you play either in person or on video. If they don’t know about you, they can’t possibly recruit you no matter how perfect you might be for their programs. Early in your Junior year, make a list of all the schools where you would be interested in playing.

The following link will connect you to over 2000 colleges and universities.   Click Here and make it your mission to gain and keep the attention of the recruiters and coaches at these schools.

Coach recognition is at least equally as important as having talent. If you are a go-getter this is great news for you because you can, to a great extent, be in control of whether you get a scholarship or not.

The bottom line is, that in most cases, you will have to go looking for your scholarship; it usually won’t come looking for you.

Knowing this at the outset will enable you to turn the tables on the recruiters. Locate the coaches and recruiters running those programs where you would be interested in playing and then you make the initial contact. The process of evaluating and selecting athletes is not an exact science. Recruiters and coaches find out about potential recruits in several different ways not the least of which is the prospect’s own marketing effort.

Most recruiters spend more time scouting in highly populated areas because they can keep travel expense down and because they can see more prospects in a shorter period of time.

They can attend regional tournaments, for example, and see every potential recruit in the area in one trip. If you don’t live and play in one of these areas, then you must redouble your efforts to get noticed.

Recruiters also sometimes visit schools that have a tradition of producing talented athletes to see if more promising athletes might be coming along.

Still other recruiters keep their ear to the ground to hear about talented athletes through the grapevine (other coaches, high school coaches, friends, and alumni). Major college programs have “spotters” or “scouts” that provide reports to coaches on prospective players subsequently recruiting him or her.

However, keep in mind that the vast majority of schools operate with limited recruiting budgets. At these schools, your own marketing efforts will go a long way towards getting the coaches to notice you. In fact, you will be making their recruiting job much easier by promoting yourself to them.

Finding and securing the best talent for their programs is a big part of their jobs. By initiating the first contact, you put yourself in their recruiting system and you greatly reduce the time and energy they need to spend on searching for talent. Usually your efforts will be appreciated.

As we’ve already discussed in the previous chapter, college athletics is a multi-billion dollar business, therefore, the university tries to make sure when you are recruited that you will be a good investment This is where your self-evaluation can pay off. Ask yourself, what do I have to offer and can I help make the team a success?

If your answer is yes, then take advantage of and create every opportunity you can to have your talents noticed by college athletic recruiters.

More than likely, you won’t have any idea that these scouts are observing you; however, they go to tournaments, camps, and AAU competitions for no other reason than to observe players and record information on prospective recruits.

It is extremely important that you compete at your highest level at all times. A scout may actually be at your game to watch one of your teammates or someone on the opposing team; but naturally, if you are playing well, you will be noticed too. So play at your very best all the time. Large Division I schools have large budgets to buy scouting reports, visit athletes, and offer campus visits. Their budgets provide enough money to evaluate many athletes. The coaches and scouts will travel long distances to watch a potential athlete play and to establish a relationship with a recruit.


There are several mistakes you should avoid if you are to be successful in your search.

Below are a few ways that might kill your chances of receiving an athletic scholarship:

1). Waiting until your senior year in high school to start learning about the recruiting process. This delay could spell disaster. The more prepared you are in anything, the better off you will be; and there is no other area where this is more true than in the college recruiting arena.

Your grade point average, SAT/ACT scores, NCAA Eligibility Center, and your athletic skills are all areas that given enough time and effort can be improved upon. There are many resources available via the Internet to help improve your GPA and testing scores.
Click Here For More Information

Be sure to also check out the admissions criteria for schools you are interested in attending. If you need assistance with admissions, check out the Admission Tips. Admissions Tips

2). Depending solely on getting an athletic scholarship to pay for your college education. Seek out all possible avenues for other types of financial aid. Check for grants, academic scholarships, scholarships based on need, scholarships given by your community, church, companies where your parents work. Apply, apply, and still apply. Click Here For Financial Tips

By obtaining other financial aid, you instantly make yourself more attractive to the athletic coach. The coach will be able to offer you a partial athletic scholarship requiring a smaller bite out of his recruiting budget.

Also, in spite of all your marketing efforts, you may not be recruited to play sports in college. You will want to have a back up plan.

3). Waiting for a college coach to show interest in you. This absolutely destroys many dreams of playing college athletics. Coaching staffs, in many cases, are overwhelmed with day-to-day duties.

Recruiting is very important; however, often coaches do just like a lot of the rest of us do. They do what is easiest and takes the least amount of time and energy which means that they recruit locally or in nearby cities.

If you are interested in a particular school, you should contact the coach yourself. Keep your name in his mind by sending a letter of introduction followed by additional information from time to time. Follow-up with phone calls to see if your information is being received. Don’t make a pest out of yourself, but do let the coach know that you are really interested in playing for his or her particular program.

Your efforts will not only make his/her job easier, but it will also demonstrate your desire to play for that particular program.

4). Waiting on your high school coach to contact college coaches for you. There aren’t that many high school coaches who have the necessary college contacts to help you. There are even fewer who have the time and energy to devote to helping you.

You should understand that if you are a better than average high school player, your high school coach needs to find your replacement as soon as possible. So, where will he be spending his time? In reality, his job is to expose younger kids to athletic programs, which will help them to develop better life skills as well as better athletic skills.

Of course, he also wants to have winning teams, but at the high school level, the emphasis is not so much on making money. At any rate, his main job is not to market you to potential colleges. Do not, in most cases, depend on your high school coach to obtain your college athletic scholarship for you.

Although some coaches will help, most just don’t have the time, knowledge, or inclination to do so.

5) Letting your academic life slide. If you fail to keep your GPA up, you will be eliminating yourself from many recruiting programs.

Among the first questions any college coach will ask about you is: What’s your GPA? Turn your GPA into an asset and you will be in the very enviable position of having access to a full range of athletic scholarship opportunities.

Remember, the coach has only so much money in his budget for scholarships. The coach’s job is to get the best and most talent with this limited budget.

If you can qualify for a partial academic scholarship then he can save money by offering you a partial athletic scholarship.

You will be giving yourself many more opportunities in college sports and in life by keeping your grades up.

There are many, many resources available to help you shape up your academics. You must identify your areas of need and determine to improve those areas. Click Academic Tips for more information.

6) Thinking that a letter, questionnaire, phone call, or visit from a prospective college coach or recruiter means that you are being recruited to play for that school and that you will be offered a scholarship.

There are many steps to receiving an athletic scholarship. One of these initial contacts is just a first step.

Avoid thinking that you are home free at this beginning stage. When you started 1st grade, hopefully you were planning on eventually graduating from high school; but it was only the first step, and of course there were no guarantees. Receiving a letter or questionnaire from a coach or a prospective school should be considered in much the same way; it is just a beginning step.

Thousands of these letters and questionnaires are sent to potential prospects each year. When you do receive one of these letters or questionnaires, see it for what it is; just that first step.

Fill it out neatly and completely, and send it back immediately. Coaches use these routine mailings as helpful tools to help them identify those student/athletes who might be interested in enrolling at their school.

They are used to separate those who are actually interested in their programs from those who are just checking things out (the tire kickers).

After you have responded to one of these letters, follow-up a few weeks later to ask if there is any other information you can provide. Any phone call from a coach or school can be considered another rung up the ladder toward reaching your scholarship goal.

A phone call means the coach does have some interest in you and wants to know more about you. You should still consider this first phone call just a preliminary contact. During the phone call, you should be very polite and try to give a great impression.

Be yourself, don’t try to act older than you are, or say you understand something if you don’t. This phone call would be a good opportunity to ask some questions about the program. Don’t bombard them with questions, but asking a few will show that you are interested too. Try to say things that will keep their interest piqued. When, or if, a school requests a video, you should consider this request yet another good sign and another step up the ladder.

Make the video according to the instructions given in Chapter 7, or if you can afford it and want a more polished marketing piece, hire a video service to shoot a professional video. You can also check out the video service we recommend if you can’t make one yourself.

Again, as with all requests from the coach or school, make sure you comply promptly. A visit from the head coach, assistant coaches, or an invitation for you to visit the school should be taken as a positive sign that things are headed in the right direction.

At this point you can be encouraged, but don’t get the “big head”; you do not have the offer yet. It is very possible that the number of potential recruits for your position has been narrowed down to two or three, but as of yet no decision has been made.

During the visit, appear neat, polite, interested, and eager to hear what they have to say and offer; however, don’t appear that your life will end if they don’t offer you a scholarship. When you visit the campus, watch to see how the coach interacts with his staff and the current players. Is this the way you want to be treated?

Also, talk with as many athletes as possible; not just the ones the coach asks to show you around campus. Ask if you can visit during a practice? This will give you some insight into how the coaching staff interacts with the team members.

If all goes well with this visit, you could soon be receiving your scholarship offer. When you do receive the offer, be very calm and think it through and talk it over with your parents or anyone else you trust. If you have questions or you don’t understand the language of the offer, get help from the NCAA or other governing body.

It is very important that you understand the offer. The time to scrutinize the offer is before you sign it. Make sure the offer contains everything you were told you would be receiving.

Then, when you are satisfied that this is the program for you, sign the letter of intent, celebrate, and get ready to compete in college athletics.


The more information recruiters and coaches can learn about you as an athlete, as a person, and as a student the more comfortable they will feel with their decision to offer you a scholarship. Chapter 7 will give you detailed information on what to include with your introductory letter, resume, and video.

1). Enlist the help of your high school coach or club coach. Many of these coaches played college sports and probably still have college contacts.

Telling them of your desire to play college sports might encourage them to mention you as a potential college athlete when scouts ask about talented high school athletes.

Some of these coaches will even call college coaches for you.

2). Phone the recruiting coach. Usually a college coach will remember and keep in mind a prospect that makes that first initial contact.

They are looking for student-athletes who want to be enrolled at their school and they are interested in talking to these prospects.

Don’t be shy, pick up the phone, and tell the coach that you are interested in finding out about athletic scholarship opportunities. Most likely your call will be appreciated.

3). Use the Internet. E-mail is an inexpensive yet effective way to let college coaches know of your interest in their programs.

In fact, some people have run their whole recruiting program by e-mail. Be sure to get the right coach and correct e-mail address.

Log-on to the university’s website, look for the athletic department and search for the sport and coach you want.

Be persistent,E-mail the coach weekly. Let him know regularly of your continuing interest and of any new accomplishments, awards, etc.

4). Contract with a recruiting service. For one reason or another you may choose to utilize the services of one of these companies.

They offer a variety of specialties and marketing methods and usually charge a fee. Their job is to contact college coaches for you and lead you and your parents through the recruiting process. They can certainly save a lot of time and energy, but keep in mind you can do everything they can do. If you do decide to hire a recruiting service, make sure that you understand what it will provide. Ask questions about the service before you sign-up.

Some sample questions are: How successful percentage wise is your marketing service? Can you provide me with some references? Will I get an unbiased evaluation of my talent and skills? Does your service accept anybody or do you only accept players with the ability to play at the collegiate level?
If you decide to use one of these services, do your homework. How many student athletes have received scholarships using their programs?

You want to find out if they can deliver before you put down your money. Again, no one can guarantee that you will be offered an athletic scholarship. While you might choose to hire one of these companies, it is not necessary since this guide teaches you how to plan and execute your winning recruiting plan yourself.

If you do hire a recruiting service to help you develop and execute a marketing plan, maintain control yourself. Keep yourself informed of all efforts on your behalf.
Click Here for some recommended College Sports Recruiting Services


Should I wait for coaches to contact me? Many times good players sit and wait for the phone to ring. Some high school athletes feel that they would appear desperate and unwanted by other programs if they contacted a coach.

You could not be further from the truth. Coaches are extremely busy and actually are impressed by athletes who have the desire and guts to make the first move. Now this doesn’t mean you are to pester the coaches out of their minds.

Can I have an agent? No, not while in high school or college.

Can I try out for a college team? Certain divisions have certain rules. Make sure you know the rules for the school that you are interested in.

What if I am contacted by a scouting service? NCAA rules prohibit scouting services from receiving payment based on the amount of your college scholarship. Be careful to make sure the scouting service meets the NCAA requirements.

When is it appropriate to ask a coach about an athletic scholarship? If you absolutely cannot attend college unless you have financial support, then explain this to interested coaches and find out if they are interested in you.

Where do college coaches recruit athletes? Coaches recruit from national, regional, and state level competitions, summer camps, athletes who have expressed an interest in their program, and recommendations received from alumni, and high school coaches.

Will participating in multiple sports help me or hurt my scholarship opportunities? Many experts say, athletes are encouraged to work daily on the skills required for mastery in their chosen sport.

Nevertheless, you can improve on some skills by participating in multiple sports.

If I am offered a scholarship during the early signing period, should I accept? If it is a school that you want to attend then go ahead and sign, because it will reduce the stress of recruiting on you and your family.

But remember to make sure this is the program and school for you. Once you sign the NLI there will be serious consequences if you change your mind.

What happens if I sign with a school and the head coach leaves the school? Since you signed with the school, you are bound to the school not to the coach.

Therefore, if the coach leaves after you have signed, you cannot go somewhere else without some kind of penalty.

What if a school I have never heard of shows interest in me? By all means, respond immediately. Check the school out, just because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect school for you.
Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3

Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6

Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapter 9

Chapter 10|College Sports Recruiting


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