RECRUITING TIPS AND RULES
1. Update your profile regularly: College coaches must receive current data to properly evaluate you. It is absolutely crucial that you update your profile with new statistics, activities, grades and pictures as often as possible. Email ScoutU any updates (updates@ScoutU.org) you wish to be made. You can submit new data as often as you like. Keeping your website fresh only help attract more coaches.
2. Respond immediately to college coaches: College coaches are impressed when prospects promptly return their questionnaires, emails and phone calls. This should be a top priority anytime a college coach contacts you. Developing strong ties to coaches can mean the difference between receiving or not receiving scholarship offers. Prospects often have been tendered offers because of their diligence in communicating regularly with coaches. Also, initially, reply to EVERY email you get. Answer whatever questions they have. Otherwise, send a simple email like this: “Thanks for emailing me coach. I would like to find out more information regarding your school and program. I look forward to hearing back from you.” Do NOT eliminate any schools at the beginning, because you never know which schools will make you offers in the end. When you start getting offers from schools, then you can send the coaches an email to let them know you appreciate their interest, but you are no longer interested in their school after receiving other offers. They actually appreciate a “thanks, but no thanks” email, so they don’t waste any more time recruiting you. Also, the emails should come from you, not your parents. They are recruiting you and want to hear from you.
3. What information to send to college coaches when emailing them: It’s important to include the right information to make them more likely to reply to your email or to recruit you. Do NOT just send a generic email with your name, position and grad year. Remember, you’re trying to IMPRESS these college coaches, so don’t be afraid to brag about yourself!
Make sure you include your top athletic (stats, awards/honors) and academic (GPA, ACT, awards/honors) accomplishments, skill numbers (arm velocity, 40 time, etc.) and your ScoutU website link. If you have video on your website, make sure to mention that as well.
4. Contact college coaches after they come see you play or meet you at an event: If you notice a college coach watching you at a game or meet a college coach at a game, make sure to send a followup email thanking them for coming to see you play or meeting you. It doesn’t need to be anything super long; just a “Thanks for coming to see me play at (insert event name and date). I (insert what you like about the college). I look forward to learning more about you school and program.” If you can talk to the coach on the phone (see recruiting calendars below), ask to arrange a time to talk on the phone. If the phone call goes well, ask to arrange a campus visit with the coach. Include a link to your ScoutU website, so they can better remember who you are.
5. Make unofficial visits to campuses: One of the best ways to gauge if a college is going to be right for you is to actually visit the campus. When you go to a campus on your own, that is, without an invitation from the coach, you are making what is called an unofficial visit. You may do this at anytime during your high school career. The more campuses you visit, the more confident you will be when making a decision. You can stop by the coach’s office to say hello, even if you are an underclassman.
6. Stay in top condition: If you play sports in college, expect to be on a year round conditioning program. Prospects that routinely work out and follow a rigorous training schedule make great impressions on college coaches. They love to see youngsters demonstrate that type of dedication. Start today working out on your own, if you haven’t already done so.
7. Keep your grades up: You are competing with other prospects academically as well as athletically. The better GPA and standardized test scores you post, the more college doors that will open for you.
8. Maintain contact with your ScoutU scout: Anytime you are contacted by a college coach, make a campus visit (official or unofficial), or take the initiative to contact a coach on your own, let your Recruiting Coordinator know by phone or e-mail. When we know what is happening, we can provide advice and maintain a watchful eye over your progress. This includes, letting your Recruiting Coordinator know if you are playing in showcase tournaments where college coaches will be. If there will be college coaches there, let your Recruiting Coordinator know what schools you are interested in (up to 25) that are expected to be there (the schools sometimes are listed on the showcase website).
9. Register with the eligibility centers: You must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to participate in Division I or Division II sports. The NAIA also has a clearinghouse. Do this by going online at eligibilitycenter.org for the NCAA and playNAIA.org for the NAIA. Communicate with your high school guidance counselor when you have registered. See the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Center section above.
10. Choose a college for the right reasons: This choice will influence the remainder of your life. Carefully consider what each school offers athletically, academically, financially, geographically and socially. This is your life, not your friends’. What they like may not be what you really like. What they dislike may not be what you don’t like. Take boyfriends and girlfriends out of the process, too. Take care of yourself and your education now. The main question you should ask yourself is: “Would I be interested in this school if I didn’t play my sport there?” If not, then you’re choosing the school for the wrong reasons. Of course, athletics are a major reason why you pick a school, but it shouldn’t be the ONLY reason. Make a list of things that you are looking for in a school and list them from most important at the top to least important at the bottom. Come up with a scoring system that weighs the top things more heavily. Odds are you won’t be able to check off every category when choosing a school, so this will help you decide which school is the best fit for you.
11. Go to camps: Check when and where the colleges you are interested in are hosting their camps. Let your ScoutU scout know what camps you are attending and when. Email the coach before the camp (at least 1 week before) to let them know you will be there and give them a link to your ScoutU website/video. Then, send a “thank you” email to the coaches after the camp. You can talk to college coaches at camps all you want, which allows you to get a feel for if the coaches would be a good fit for you. You also can tour the campus. Coaches can evaluate you both athletically and you as a person. Colleges often recruit athletes that attend their camps, because it is easier for them to bring athletes to them, all in one place, then to go out and recruit each one individually. Also, if a coach can’t see you play in person at one of your games or at a showcase, you may have to attend their camp for them to make a scholarship offer to you, because some coaches may require seeing you compete in person before considering making an offer to you. However, be picky about what camps you attend, keeping in mind that colleges put on these camps in part to make money and will often invite almost anyone who is willing to pay. Make sure you have a true interest in the school before going to its camp and try to have a phone conversation with a coach there to get a feel of their interest in you and your interest in the school (refer to the Questions To Ask The Coach).
12. Stay in contact with college coaches: Every month in the offseason and every other week during your season you should be contacting college coaches with a text, email or phone call to keep your name in their heads (more often seems annoying or desperate and less could result in them not remembering you). During the season, email college coaches to let them know how you’ve done the last couple weeks and what you have coming up in your schedule in the next 2 weeks. Remember, the more interest you show in the school, the more interest they likely will show in return. Even if you don’t hear back, keep at it. They may not reply the first, second or third time, but eventually they might. Once you start getting offers/serious interest from schools, when communicating with coaches — especially on campus visits — do not be afraid to let them know that you do have interest from other schools. This could make that school more interested in you and increase their scholarship offer to you, especially if it’s from a conference rival. If it’s a conference rival, specifically name the school. Otherwise, you can just talk in generalities, like “several D2 schools” or “several Midwest schools.”
Here is what you should keep in mind during your enrollment with ScoutU:
- Submit updates to ScoutU: This can be athletic, academic or personal info. Email us any updates you wish to be made. You can update your profile as often as you want.
- Contact your ScoutU scout to let him know of any contact made with college coaches, any visits planned to college campuses, questionnaires received and any online questionnaires you filled out.
- Review your website thoroughly: If you see any errors or anything that is out of date, let us know via email (updates@ScoutU.org) and we can make those changes.
- Email each coach that has shown you interest: Do not worry if coaches do not respond. These emails can be short and provide quick updates about you. These updates can be what you have accomplished recently and what games/events you have coming up in the upcoming weeks (also can include your remaining schedule). Always be respectful, use proper grammar and give them your ScoutU website address and make sure you let them know you have video on your website. Colleges are much more likely to view your website if they know there’s video they can watch.
- Submit at least one new picture for your website: Keeping fresh pictures on your site will make it more interesting.
RECRUITING RULES TO KNOW
When/how colleges can contact you
Go to the following links to print/download/bookmark the NCAA and NAIA college-bound student-athlete guides. These have a ton of useful information for each governing body, from when/how/how often colleges can contact you, to academic eligibility standards and much more. NAIA recruiting rules are very relaxed. NAIA schools can contact you whenever they want, how they want, as often as they want, can watch you play at any time and do not have a specific signing period. Click the links below to view each organization’s guide:
NCAA recruiting calendars
When and how colleges can contact you and watch you play varies by sport and by division. Click on the to the following link to find your sport’s recruiting calendar:
NCAA Division III:
NCAA Division III schools do not have a set recruiting calendar. However, here are some rules to keep in mind regarding NCAA DIII schools (more detail is in the NCAA publications guide listed above):
- Off-campus contact is allowed after your sophomore year.
- Unofficial visits are allowed at any time.
- Official visits are allowed beginning January 1st of your junior year.
- Does not have any rules on the number of evaluations/contacts per athlete.
NCAA Division I: Five are allowed per athlete, one per school.
NCAA Division II & III: Less common at these levels, but unlimited amount is allowed.
- There are specific rules on when/how colleges can contact you. But you can contact colleges when and how you want (except for NCAA Division I softball which does not allow recruiting contact until Sept. 1 of junior year). For example, you can call college coaches before the set dates when they can call you and talk with them. However, if they don’t answer, they can’t call you back. Sometimes phone calls with college coaches can be arranged through a third party, like your coach. Also, you can email college coaches before they can initiate emails to you. But, they can only reply with certain information (questionnaires, camp invites) until those dates.
- College coaches cannot have contact you in person on competition or practice days until you are finished for the day and are dismissed by the proper authority.
- Recruiting contact rules pertain to the athlete’s parents as well.