Recruitment in college athletics is like running a marathon

By Jasmine Kim

Although most high school students commit to a college in the second semester of senior year, student athletes work tirelessly to be recruited to a college sports team even earlier.

Student athletes devote years to their sport. However, all the blood, sweat, and tears put into this long process is usually rewarded when they receive offers from colleges.

“I’ve been playing football my whole life. It’s really been every day for the past ten years,” senior and University of Utah football commit Dijon Stanley said. “If it’s not football, then it’s track. If it’s not track, then it’s basketball. I always do something to keep myself active.”

After years of practice and tournaments, student athletes need to spend additional time researching different colleges, keeping constant communication with coaches, and improving in the sport, all while maintaining the responsibilities of an average high school student.

The reruitment process in college athletics is when coaches add prospective student athletes to their roster for the purpose of securing the student’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the athletics program.

“You have to be extremely interactive with your coaches, college coaches, and recruiting advisors by sending constant emails and making many phone calls a week to keep recruiters updated on your skills,” senior and UC Davis gymnastics commit Alana Kim said.

“Gymnastics takes a lot of determination, passion, and devotion, and I’ve had to sacrifice some of my social life to find time to catch up doing homework that I missed from leaving school early.”
Athletic ability is usually the most important factor of the recruiting process. However, character is more important than most people believe.

Not only do student athletes have to be the best at their sport, but they also have to prove to coaches and recruiters that they make good teammates.

College coaches observe how student athletes interact with other players, opponents, coaching staff, and even family members.

“Something that people don’t realize is that colleges want a good person before a good athlete, and they want to know that you have good morals and values,” senior and Utica College softball commit Frankie Luster said. “Talent only takes you so far.”

Academics is another factor that plays into the college athletics recruiting process.
Oftentimes, college coaches will select students with a higher GPA and test scores to fill their roster.

“At the end of the day, you could be going up against someone with the same skills as you, but if your grades are better, they’re going to care more,” Luster said.

Student athletes are less likely to struggle academically and risk losing their eligibility to play the sport if they already excel at academics as well as athletics.

“It takes more than being an athlete. It’s more about being a student than an athlete,” Stanley said.

Once a connection is formed between a student athlete and the college athletics program, the coach evaluates the athlete based on their skills, statistics, and game footage.

Coaches may invite students on an official visit. The college pays for transportation, lodging, and meals for the student athlete and their guardian to visit the campus, meet with the team and staff, and potentially offer them a scholarship. However, students may still visit their school of interest through an unofficial visit.

“I was able to experience a bit of the college before committing,” junior and South Dakota State University softball commit Vivian Acosta said. “I was at the college for about a week, and it was an official visit so they paid for everything I did out there.”

Student athletes receive offers from different colleges all throughout the country. The individual then has to consider many different factors before committing to a college as a full time student athlete.

“You have to find out where you want to live, what you want to do, and what offers are the best,” Stanley said. “I had several schools that I could have gone to, but I picked what was best for me academically, where I could just focus on school and football.”

The student athlete also has to consider if the college offers the field of study that they are interested in majoring in. The process can be different for different sports, and some colleges and universities have more resources than others to recruit athletes. Some coaches are helpful during this process, while other students have to experience recruitment on their own.

Another component that holds heavy weight in commiting is the amount of scholarships that the college offers. Student athletes tend to lean towards colleges that are generous with financial assistance.

“A major factor in the decision process was the offer of a full ride, which was something I was looking for when deciding on which school to choose,” Kim said.

College recruitment is definitely not an easy process, but it is worth it when student athletes are able to attend their dream schools or study their choice of major, while also succeeding in their sport.

“There were a lot of struggles because I wasn’t this good my whole life,” junior and UCLA commit Easton Hawk said. “There were points where I wanted to quit, but I just kept working hard. I’m lucky to be where I am right now, but it definitely wasn’t just a smooth road.”

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper