“This sucks for my 2022!”
“How does my daughter get recruited now?”
“The NCAA screwed prep athletes.”
These are just a few of the many messages I’ve received from concerned parents since the NCAA decided to extend the dead period last Spring, up until the recent announcement that all regular recruiting calendars will resume on June 1.
Yes, it’s a challenging landscape – things have changed – but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt, so, let’s see what we can do with it.
There are obvious roster concerns facing recruits and college coaching staffs. The NCAA’s “Covid Year” has given college athletes an extra year of eligibility, despite many programs facing budget issues from overall negative impacts of Covid. Add to that, the NCAA shut down recruiting last Spring, leaving many athletes unseen, overlooked, and unable to get in front of coaches.
It is sad – no question – and you might even say, it’s unfair – you’d be right to feel that way.
However, at this point, I’m looking for solutions.
Broaden the Search
One thing that seems to have been forgotten in this process is that outside of NCAA D-1 schools, there have been and continue to be other opportunities with JUCO, NAIA, and D-II & D-III schools. The dream for many is Division-I, and I’m not suggesting giving up that dream – rather, approach this process with an open mind. There are very competitive programs with good coaches and academic offerings at every level. These programs provide value and opportunity and should not be overlooked.
However, if D-I is the only consideration, make the interested list of schools bigger – much bigger. Each school will have a unique situation regarding scholarship money, needs, roster sizes, and operational budgets. Cast a wide net and discover schools that are actively looking for your graduating year, meet your academic pursuits, and can provide you with what you need financially.
Before Covid, it was important to differentiate yourself from other recruits. Now, it’s critical. Standing out doesn’t mean that you need to spend tons of money. Instead, create sharp prospect videos (2 minutes of your best skills), communicate with coaches on a personal level (connect with them using details about their program), and take advantage of every good opportunity to put yourself in front of coaches (tournaments and camps).
A positive first impression will be vital to sparking the interest of any coach. Take your time to do things right. If you have powerful voices who can advocate for you – use them! If you have social media timelines that you wouldn’t want your grandma to view, then you better clean them up. This is the time to make positive impressions.
This summer will be busier than ever. You will have choices to make about where you go, how you spend your time (and money), and which events will provide you with the biggest impact toward your goals. For example, a weekend spent at a tournament with no coaches attending or where your team gets scheduled on a backfield, may not align with your individual and team goals. The same can be said for camp opportunities – attending a camp where coaches “may” attend or where there are too many attendees, won’t be as good as reputable camps that deliver coaches and limit attendance. Now, more than ever, you can’t afford to miss out on the right opportunities.
Your goals to play in college are still attainable. Create a plan that's open to numerous schools (from different levels), develop a personal approach to communicating with your target schools, with a laser focus on selling yourself, and be prudent in evaluating where you spend your time this summer.
Join us at a 5-Star-Rated Camp Near You this Summer! (Click the image to see our schedule)