How soon should we start the recruiting process?
The answer is “depends” and it starts with your definition of “this process.” If you mean the actual nuts and bolts of marketing and promotion, contacting coaches and taking athletic visits, then I would tell you mid sophomore or early junior year would be just fine. But as you will see as you delve farther into The Athletic Edge, I recommend you start mentally preparing, setting your goals, becoming a responsible trustworthy young adult, looking into different career possibilities and exploring what different colleges have to offer, as soon as you enter high school. But, quite frankly, I would recommend that to any parent, not just the parent of an athlete. People are shocked by this but they really shouldn’t be. The earlier you start exploring the college process, the more informed you are. The more informed you are, the more your time table expands and the more choices you can explore and the more opportunities you have to change your mind. This also allows you to explore more opportunities and the less of a chance of you having to skip or miss a step along the way.
When is it too late to get started with the recruiting process?
If you wait, it can still be done. I’ve heard of athletes calling around to college coaches the summer after they graduate trying to get a spot. Can it be done? Sure, athletes back out, get hurt or become ineligible or what have you. But it is rare and certainly not something you want to count on. The bottom line is, the more you wait, the more of a time crunch you will be under and there is a lot to get done in a short period of time. In the meantime, your competition has already gotten to work!
How do I generate interest from college coaches?
At Play Up Athletics, we advocate going out and getting what you want, rather than sitting back and seeing what comes your way, if anything. Our process teaches you how to market yourself to coaches, letting them know the qualities you possess that would make you a fine addition to their team, and that you truly want to go their school and why, rather than just any school. In short, we try and give you every advantage over your competition, to separate you from all the other athletes out their looking for the same thing.
If I have superior athletic talent, won't that compensate for poor grades?
Superior athletic talent will compensate for a lot of things. It will even, at times and in certain circumstances, compensate for mediocre grades. But more and more, athletic talent will not compensate for poor grades. The NCAA is leaning more and more toward holding institutions accountable for their athlete’s poor academic performance. In the near future, you will see sanctions on programs that may include exclusion from championships and other serious penalties, for the poor athletic performance of players. For that reason alone, coaches are less and less likely to take a chance on an athletically gifted poor performer in the classroom.
Won’t college coaches “find” me if I play well?
A very small percentage of student athletes get “found” by college coaches. That means an overwhelming majority have to work hard and take the initiative to get “found.” Most athletes get lost in the recruiting process or miss the opportunity to receive an athletic scholarship, unless they market themselves or they attain that “blue chip” status. The days of throwing out some profiles and being “found” by a coach are over. You have to take control of the recruiting process. Coaches arrive at tournaments, camps or other recruiting events with lists of athletes they want to see. They build these lists before they come and they organize their schedule around the list. If you are not on the list, there is a very small chance you’re going to be “found” by a coach that just happens to be watching that game. Our whole program is built around getting your name on these lists.
How long should I wait for college coaches to contact me?
Don’t wait at all! As soon as you identify a college as seemingly a perfect fit for you, based on your own individual criteria, don’t wait for them to contact you! Start trying to make contact with the coach right away. The longer you wait the less chance you have of making it on to the coaches list of potential recruitable athletes.
What are the chances that I can get a “full ride”?
The reality is that full athletic scholarships are the exception, not the rule, in equivalency sports. Equivalency sports are those that receive the equivalent of a certain amount of full athletic scholarships that can be split up however the school sees fit. Partial scholarships are the norm now days. Headcount sports are ones that receive a certain amount of full scholarships for each athlete it is granted to. Full athletic scholarships are almost nonexistent outside head count sports. To receive one would mean you are one of the more talented athletes in the country for your sport, and your school is flush with athletic money.
How do I know what level of college athletic I can play at?
We recommend get an unbiased assessment from someone who knows your sport and college sports well. In fact, we recommend getting an assessment from anyone who is not too close to give you an honest subjective opinion. College coaches are great resources to ask for a personal assessment. But, to help you, we also have a way for you to assess yourself, if you can’t find anyone to do it for you.
Can my scholarship be taken away after I sign with a college?
An athletic scholarship can be withdrawn for any of the following reasons:
- Disciplinary or behavioral problems
- Academically ineligible
- Replaced by another player
- Voluntary withdrawal from the school or the sport
- Misrepresentation on application, financial aid agreement, letter of intent or any other official document
- Sport dropped by college
- College cuts back on scholarships
- By the choice of the coach – no explanation is really necessary
What is a “redshirt”?
If the athlete gets hurt, is not yet ready to compete for whatever reason or is having grade issues that need to be corrected, they could be declared a red shirt by the coach. An NCAA student athlete is allowed one year to “red shirt”, meaning that one year of athletic eligibility does not count and will actually give the athlete five years of college athletic eligibility instead of the usual four.
What is the difference between the NCAA and the NAIA?
There are two governing bodies in the United States for four year college athletics. The first and most notorious is the NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletic Association and consists of three divisions, Division I, II and III, which you will commonly hear referred to as DI, DII and DIII. The NCAA is an association of 1,300 or so institutions, organized into conferences, that oversee the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and even a few in Canada. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NCAA has become a huge enterprise now, with a large web site, making its procedures, rules, resources and updates available on-line. The second governing body is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics or the NAIA. It is considerably smaller that the NCAA with only around 300 institutions. With its small size, however, comes simplicity with fewer rules and procedures and no levels of play except for men and women basketball, with only two levels of play. The institutions of the NAIA are commonly private, smaller colleges with limited budgets for athletics, but full of great athletes, and great academic and athletic programs. The NAIA has its own championships and records for each sport, and an eligibility center, just as the NCAA does. One interesting feature is that athletes can transfer from one NAIA school to another without any sanctions, which is a perfect example of how much less stringent the rules system is with the NAIA.
How do I find Schools to consider?
There are several ways. But the best way we have found is using a program called College Coaches Online. We use this program exclusively to find colleges that seem to fit the criteria of the player. We are such an advocate of this program, that we give you a free one year subscription to it, when you purchase the Athletic Edge recruiting program.
How do I know if I’m good enough for Division I?
You may not know for a while, especially if you are still young. You may not have reached your potential yet and if that is the case, there is no way of us knowing just how good you can become. So we advocate reaching for the stars, especially early on the process. The continuous assessment and re-assessment that is built into our system, coupled with fate and circumstances, have a way of eventually putting you in the right place. But until someone tells you no, keep trying!
Why is the approach to recruiting by Play Up Athletics different from any other program?
Simply put, our approach to recruiting is sensible, straight forward, easy to follow and will give insight into how the recruiting process actually works. It will help you avoid pitfalls and potentially save you large amounts of money by assisting you in obtaining financial aid and scholarships you may have missed. You will get all of this, and much more, at a fraction of the cost of athletic recruiting services or other recruiting resources. At Play Up Athletics, we will not only give you a good education in the recruiting process, but also provide you with tools, resources and encouragement to improve the way you live your life on a daily basis and continue your success as a college athlete. At Play Up Athletics we are not simply teaching the process of recruiting, but rather preparing the athlete for the next step in their lives through a holistic approach. We have found that your attitude, aspirations, work ethic and so on that you establish in high school, will directly affect your experience in college and even in your life well after college! Not to mention the fact that these intangible qualities are actually what coaches want to see in their recruits. So, it sets you apart from all the other recruits out there who don’t exhibit these qualities. Remember, our focus is to give you every advantage possible, and a leg up on your competition.
The mantra of Play Up Athletics is “Choose, rather than be Chosen”, what is meant by that?
Our focus at Play Up Athletics is to always put you in a position to choose where you want to school, rather than be chosen. You see we believe that if you choose where you want to go to school, based on your own unique set of criteria, you are far more likely to stay all four years and have a great college experience. On the other hand, if you are put in a position to be chosen, just based on the school wanting you to come play sports for them, the odds of you being unhappy, and even prematurely coming home, are drastically increased.
What do the development of things like character, work ethic, attitude and aspirations have to do with me getting recruited?
THEY HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH RECRUITING! Coaches want to see these attributes in their players. If you can communicate to coaches that you possess them already, you are a better choice that the next person, all things being equal. In fact, you may be a better choice, by possessing these qualities, than one who is a better athlete. Why? Because if a coach has a player with great character, work ethic and attitude, that knows where he or she wants to go and do, that coach can mold that player into just about anything. In fact, if a coach has a choice between someone like that, with mediocre athletic skills, and someone with great athletic skill and no character, a poor attitude, no work ethic and having no goals in life… the coach will choose the mediocre athlete nearly every time!
Why should I go through all of this when I can just hire someone to do it for me?
You could hire someone to take care of the recruiting for you. There are many businesses out there that will do it. But when they run across what would be the perfect circumstances for you, how will they know. It’s true, if you want to do a lot less work, you can hire someone to do it for you. But this can be VERY expensive and no one will ever know as much as you do what you want in the perfect college experience. It is more work, but it’s worth it, because you gain complete control of the process. You make decisions based on what is right for you, rather than what is right for someone else. We have also found that coaches prefer this method. They don’t want to hear from someone who barely knows you, if at all. They want to hear from you! They want to hear why you want to go to their school and play for their program.
Realistically, what are my chances of making it to play sports in college?
Of course there are no guarantees that anyone who goes through the recruiting process will have the chance to play at the college level. You should be very leery of anyone or any program that makes such a guarantee. But to give you an idea of some basic statistics, around five million boys and girls will play high school sports this year and about a million of those will be seniors. Only about 1 in 25 high school athletes will have the chance to compete at the college level, 1 in 50 will be awarded an athletic scholarship. However, your odds are greatly increased by using Play Up Athletics. Although it is nearly impossible to track completely, an overwhelming majority of the athletes that use some form of our system make it to the next level, most obtaining athletic money to do so.
I like playing in high school, but I just don’t know if I want to play in college, how do I decide?
The nice thing about our program is that if you go through it for a while and decide college athletics is not for you, you virtually lose nothing. You’re most likely still going to go to college, so researching the college during the program will have helped. Also, you will have undoubtedly learned a lot about yourself and how you want to live your life from now going forward. So don’t worry about it. Eventually you will figure out whether college athletics is for you, but in the meantime, you will be learning and growing!
My parents and I have no means to pay for college. Should I even try, by still going through this process?
YES! You have to try! This is your best opportunity for a better life! One thing we know for sure, there is billions and billions of dollars of non-athletic financial aid out there that is woefully under-utilized. Most of the time this aid is simply overlooked or, worse yet, never even sought out by qualified students and their families. This is aid that could help them pay for college if they had only applied. There are literally thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of smaller scholarships out there in the 500 to 2,500 dollar range that are either not researched or thought of as too small to help. But two or three of these smaller scholarships can easily equal a third or more of the cost to go to school for a semester! Couple this with some athletic money, a little money for academics and a small loan and you are on your way to college! Never, never, never forgo the possibility of higher educations based on the cost, until you have fully researched and exhausted all possible ways to pay for it. You will find that if you work at it hard enough, you can find a way to pay for college.