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College Athlete Resources


Students who are planning to enroll in college as a freshman and wish to participate in sports are usually seeking information on the entire college eligibility and recruitment process.  This web page is an attempt to help direct our students and parents to places where they might get some of these answers.

It is very important to know that no one course of action is correct for everyone.  Each college and coach may handle the process differently for their prospective student-athletes, but there are many things you need to know about the process from the beginning.  When looking at schools try to find a campus you love; where you can see yourself attending school for four or five years.  Look for a school that has your major areas of concentration academically speaking.  Try to find a school that has an athletic program where you’ll play and enjoy yourself.  Be honest with yourself about where you might fit in academically and athletically and be honest with yourself and the coach you are communicating with.

Schools and coaches are looking for good athletes, as well as good students.  One of the most important things to remember is to work hard and keep your grades up.  A student-athlete is a student first and an athlete second.

It is important to remember that different schools have different umbrella organizations that enforce their policies on academic eligibility, scholarship availability, rules and programs.  There are differences between those umbrella organizations rules.  For example, the NCAA Division I and Division II, NCAA Division III, and NAIA have different rules for what coaches may do during the recruitment process.  So do your homework and remember to ask questions.

It is our hope that the information provided on this web page will help you to answer some of those questions and point you to the right sources for additional information.  There are some guidelines that will help you as you prepare for this exciting, yet sometimes intimidating process.

Various Associations

Questions to Ask Prospective College Coaches


Recruitment Information

There can be a lot of confusion about contacting college coaches, especially if you are new to the recruiting game. This is the time of year when athletes start thinking a lot about getting calls from a college coach and there are usually a lot of questions surrounding the topic.

  • Is it okay for an athlete to call a coach?
  • When can a coach call an athlete?
  • Are there any rules to be aware of when you are hoping to be recruited by a college coach?
To help simplify this, here are a few simple tips to guide your future interaction with college coaches:
  • Most important to remember is that the rules are different in the NCAA than they are in the NAIA, NJCAA, and NCCAA. The NCAA has the most restrictions placed on their coaches. The information below is a general guideline and is intended as such.

  • An NCAA college coach can only call or visit you after July of your junior year in high school. That means a coach cannot place an outbound call to you, nor can they initiate a visit to your home or school specifically to talk to you about playing a sport at their college, until the summer before your senior year. Remember, this deals only with outbound communication from an NCAA coach.

  • You can call or meet with a coach at any point in your high school career. That’s right; you can call a coach whenever you want. The key here is that you are the one initiating contact with the coach and not the other way around. If you want to call a coach or visit a campus and set up a meeting with the coach, you may do so as often as you wish.

  • You can take as many campus visits as you would like when considering playing a sport at a college. Again, the key here is that you are the one initiating the visit. What about those five “official” visits that you often hear about big-time athletes making to schools when they are seniors? Those are visits that the school pays for. A prospective student-athlete can only take five “official” visits that are paid for by schools during his or her school career.

  • Be proactive about the process! Take control!

What does it mean if a college coach sends a questionnaire?

Colleges may ask you to complete an on-line questionnaire or mail you one to complete. It is a way for them to get initial information on you.

Should I respond to all college coaches?

Most prospective student-athletes will receive some contact from colleges in the form of general admissions information, questionnaires, and/or emails from college coaches. Many student-athletes make the mistake of disregarding correspondence from colleges and coaches they are not initially interested in. No college contact should be neglected!

The following is a list of reasons why you should respond to EVERYONE:
  • If you are receiving general admissions information, especially if you are an underclassman, respond anyway. A lot of coaches put underclassmens' names on admissions lists to see if they will respond.

  • If you do not respond to a coach, or return their questionnaire, they will stop recruiting you.

  • Your opinion may change. Once you research a college and talk to a coach, you are bound to learn something new. You never know which college or program might be the perfect fit for you.

  • The more coaches you communicate with, the more familiar you will become with the types of questions college coaches ask. This practice will prepare you for email exchanges and conversation with coaches at your favorite colleges/universities.

  • By investigating many different types of colleges, you will have a better idea of your likes and dislikes in a college/university.

  • College coaches are friends with one another and they do not appreciate it when a student-athlete ignores a contact. You never want to give anyone something bad to say about you!

  • It is just a common courtesy. If a coach takes the time to send you some information, you owe them a response.

  • Responding to a college coach will demonstrate that you are mature and responsible. For example, most of the information asked on the questionnaire is to test your responsibility and ability to follow directions, and to see if you are interested in the college/university.

Remember it will only take a little bit of time and will definitely be worth it if you are keeping in touch with every college/university that you hear from. Who knows – it may even be the one you decide upon!

How do I contact a coach?

The letter or email you compose should be short and direct. The letter is a way to request information and introduce you to the coach as a prospective student-athlete. Here are some things to include:

  • Your name, high school, current grade level.

  • Your home address, email address, phone number. (It is suggested that you give them a home number in addition to your cell, since it may not always be convenient for you to talk with them on your cell phone.)

  • High school athletic experience, years of varsity experience, team accomplishments, and personal awards.

  • Academic interests.

Two things to remember about this letter or email:
  1. Use the coach’s name in the salutation, not just “Dear Coach.”

  2. Tell the coach why you are interested in playing for them or their school. Did they have a great season last year? Do you like their coaching style? Anything like this will catch their attention and make your letter/email stand out from the crowd. Do your research prior to writing your letter/email.

Do you need a video?

College coaches are eager to see you in action. Since they are most likely busy during the same season you are in sport, it is difficult for them to get to all corners of the world to see a student/athlete in action. Videotapes are not necessary, but if a coach requests one, you should try to provide it. It does not need to be an elaborate, state-of-the-art video. Use a tripod when filming to avoid jostling or shaking. A good videotape will include:

  • 10 to 15 minutes of unedited game film. It should be no longer than 15 minutes.

  • Some highlight clips. Show different skills. Use game film when possible.

What is an official visit?

Although you are always welcome to visit college campuses at your own expense, you are limited to five official visits in which the college pays for part or all of your expenses in the NCAA division schools. Completion of the SAT or ACT, registration on the NCAA Eligibility Center website and a high school transcript are prerequisites to an official visit. You may only go on an official visit after the first day of your senior classes in high school. Usually an official visit consists of an overnight stay where you will have a member of the athletic team as your host. You will meet the coach and the team, learn more about the program, attend a class and possibly attend a sporting event. You may also meet other recruited athletes there for a visit. While there, talk to people and learn as much as you can. Here are some things you should do in advance of a visit:

  • Decide where to meet the coach.

  • Get their number to avoid a mix-up.

  • Get the time schedule for your visit.

  • Ask for the names of your contacts on campus.

  • Find out who is paying for any tickets or meals.

  • Ask what to bring.

  • Ask to meet with the department chair in your academic area of interest.

  • Ask to meet with admissions to understand procedure and ask questions.

  • Try to see the campus on a regular school day while class is in session.

  • Visit with players. Talk with the freshmen and sophomores to get their perspective on first-year experiences.

  • Take notes regarding your visit.

  • Always write a thank you letter to the coach after your visit.

What is the recruiting timeline?

NCAA Division I programs are on a timetable that is a little earlier and longer. The majority of all Division I colleges and universities will fill their recruiting class needs by the early fall of that class’s senior year. This means that if you are a Division I athlete, you have already visited that campus, sat down with the coach and know where you stand on their recruiting list by your first day of class during your senior year. The early commitment trend is becoming increasingly prevalent at the Division I level. This only increases the amount of time and research that must be put into recruiting on the student-athlete’s end.

Division II colleges/universities are typically the next to finish up their recruiting classes. Some Division II colleges/universities will have prospects verbally commit during the summer, but most will finish during the fall and into the winter of their senior year.

Division III, NAIA and Junior Colleges recruiting typically continues into the winter and spring of a student-athlete’s senior year of high school. If you are not on track with this timeline, do not panic, these are general guidelines and every college/university has a different situation.