Why don’t I have an athletic scholarship offer?

At this time of year, college programs have been their recruiting boards in place for this class in all sports.  It doesn’t matter if it is football, volleyball, hockey, or any other sports.  These coaches should know what they are doing and who they will be recruiting over the next few months.  Some schools may already have a number of commitments but they know what they need to do to finish out recruiting this senior class.

And as an athlete or a family who has been going through the recruiting process, many are wondering why they don’t have a scholarship offer?  Again, this obviously is a unique situation that depends from athlete to athlete and case to case.  There is no one size fits all answer but I will try to do my best to figure it out and help you realize why there is no scholarship offer on the table.  Let me preface this by being brutally honest and you need to know that coming in.

You are not good enough
This goes with my mention of being brutally honest.  As an athlete or a parent, it is nearly impossible to really be able to determine if you are a scholarship athlete.  Athletes always think that they are better than they really are (I did back in the day myself) and that makes it extremely tough to judge fairly.  As for families, there is a parent bias that can never be shaken.  You will always think that your son or daughter is the best at what they do, regardless of their real ability.  That is just the way it goes and you have to realize that going in.

You haven’t marketed yourself to a wide enough scope
During the recruiting process, you decided to only target schools in the Big East to continue your football career.  The problem is that you are not a Big East type player.  You may think you are but coaches at all of those schools disagree.  That is why now is a great time to widen your base and look at other Division I-AA and II schools in your area or around the country.  You want the perfect fit athletically and academically but that doesn’t always have to be in your backyard.   Targeting new schools can definitely help matters.

You haven’t gotten your Hudl video/tape out
There is no doubt in my mind that getting a quality recruiting highlight video out is very important during the recruiting process.  If you have the time and abilities to do it on Hudl, then go ahead.  If not, tt may be worth looking into professional services that can produce an outstanding highlight video that can help catch the eye of college coaches.  If you haven’t done a tape, consider doing one.  If you have done one and the quality is terrible and the editing is bad, then it may be worth getting one professionally done.  This tape is essential, especially in the football recruiting process.

You don’t have enough relevant video to send out  
Say for example that in high school, you decided to take one for the team and make the move to quarterback.  The problem is that your future may be at another position.  Without relevant tape and if they can’t see you in person, it is going to be tough to sell a college coach on you playing tight end rather than quarterback.  That is why camps are so important during the summer so that the schools can work with you and your athleticism.

It is not far enough along in the process
I hate using this excuse because I have heard a ton of athletes say something similar.  But for football recruiting, most Division I-AA and II schools have not extended their scholarship offers.  These schools are still evaluating potential recruits and are trying to get a feel for these athletes and their interest during the winter months.

You don’t have the numbers that certain college coaches want
College coaches are huge into numbers like 40 time, bench press, vertical, and things of that nature.  Many love looking at these numbers and you may just be shy of what college coaches are looking for.  Your 4.7 40-yard dash time may be a tad too slow.  Your 6-foot frame may be a little small for what college coaches are looking for.

If you think you are a Division I athlete and an offer is not on the table yet, then it may be time to reevaluate that.  I am willing to admit that this is a very difficult process simply because you never know what can happen as schools can step in at the last minute.  But there is probably at least some reason why there is no an offer there yet.

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The different types of high school coaches during the recruiting process

When picturing how the athletic recruiting process will go for you, I would imagine that you feel it will be extremely smooth.  You will have a high school coach who does a great job marketing you to college coaches and that will eventually lead to multiple Division I offers before you sign with the school you grew up following.

Unfortunately, that dream scenario may happen in 1 out of 10,000 situations, if not less.  I have never actually been told by a family that the high school coach did enough for them in the recruiting process.  Usually I just hear complaints about how the coach doesn’t do anything/doesn’t care.  With this in mind, I have put together a list of the different types of high school coaches that families will encounter in the recruiting process.  Feel free to pick out which one your high school coach is.

Connected, motivated, and will travel
Qualities: Plain and simply does everything he can for all of his athletes to play at the college level.
More: This is the dream coach that likely doesn’t exist.  He is connected with college coaches that he has worked with over the last few years.  He is motivated to help his athletes find a home and will even take them to visits if they don’t have a ride.  I have one coach that I know who fits some of this but is a little too controlling (see more soon).  This type of coach may not exist simply because if someone works this hard, they want to take care of the entire process and control it all.

Pushing the top dogs
Qualities: Helps his best players find a future home and will do everything for them.
More: The focus of this coach is to help his best few players find a college.  He will call college coaches, market them, and maybe even make a highlight video for the best of the best.  But if you are not among that group, good luck getting any interest.

Over the top with control
Qualities: Wants to control everything about the recruiting process.
More: A perfect example is a coach who does an excellent job marketing his players but has told them he doesn’t want them to go to college camps because he doesn’t want them away from team workouts.  If an athlete has Division I offers already, then that is fine.  The problem occurs when an athlete is a fringe Division I player hoping to land a scholarship offer.  That hurts them in a huge way.

Willing to help when called upon
Qualities: When asked, they will help you.
More: The key for you is to jumpstart them and point them in the right direction.  You may need to ask them to call college coaches or send out tape.  Some people may need reminding multiple times and this coach is a perfect example.

Qualities: Doesn’t do much or bring much to table.
More: Likely a coach with a lot on his plate.  It may be someone who teaches, is the athletic director, and has a family.  There is not much time on the side to be able to help you with the recruiting process.  They are overall inactive.

No clue
Qualities: The recruiting process?  What?
More: Likely a small school coach who has not played college athletics and has not seen any of their players go to the college level.  They have no clue what is going on.  A good example is a high school coach who told me that a major college program was likely going to offer one of his players.  I talked to the player and he said the college didn’t call in May.  The coach just doesn’t understand the process.

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How much do postseason honors mean in the chase for an athletic scholarship offer?

When playing athletics at the high school level, it may not be the reason you do it but receiving postseason honors is nice recognition.  It may be All State, All Conference, or even All District honors but I know that all athletes love reading their name on those lists.

However, there are many things that these postseason awards will not do for you.  Some athletes think that being a first team All Stater means you will be a Division I player and up getting a scholarship.  Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

To start, what exactly will major postseason honors do for you in the athletic recruiting process?  The first thing it does is what I call recruiting street cred.  What I mean by this is that college coaches will take notice of you at least in their recruiting databases early because many use All State and All Conference lists (especially for the extremely large conferences).

The reason I call it recruiting street cred is that in order to be named All State, it is pretty obvious that you must have some skill.  You may play in the smallest class in your state but earning major honors like that means you have some ability.  Because good college coaches want to cover all bases with recruits, regardless of their size or level of play, they should at least send you a questionnaire looking for more information.  Obviously a questionnaire is not going to get you a scholarship offer right away but your foot is at least in the door with the college.

You can also use your recruiting street cred as a major selling point to out of state colleges when sending out your recruiting profile.  In this example, we are going to say that all of the major colleges in-state are competent enough to put you in their recruiting databases after you wrap up an All State season.  You want to keep your options open so you make sure to include FIRST TEAM ALL STATE in bold and caps on your recruiting profile.  Again, college coaches will view that as this kid can play so they will likely at least look further into your abilities and skills.

What is very difficult for parents is when athletes get scholarships after not getting any postseason honors.  They believe that if their kid got first team All Conference and an eventual Division I athlete got second team All Conference, that it isn’t right and their son is better.  Throw the bias out the window here (which is impossible as a parent so don’t even try) and realize that the second team All Conference selection has more size, strength, speed, or something else that a college coach is looking for.

Recently I heard a story regarding a kicker who had a really strong leg but was never accurate.  That accuracy was so bad that a senior started in front of him when he was a junior.  All told, this athlete only was able to kick one ball during that year.  During the off-season, he continued working hard and shined at summer camps.  The kicker for the rival school, who actually started as a junior, was extremely mad about it and felt that the other athlete stole his scholarship.  Situations like this come up all the time and that is why I have stressed to never compare yourself to other athletes.  And especially don’t compare your kids to other athletes.

In the end, I have seen many, many, many situations where postseason honors didn’t mean much.  Recently, I saw two linemen (one received honorable mention All Conference and the other nothing) end up with multiple Division I scholarship offers from throughout the country.  Outside of feeling a little sense of accomplishment and getting some recruiting street cred, postseason honors do not mean anything.

So if you have received postseason honors, you should have a foot in the door with colleges.  For those that have not, you may need to spend a little more time working on the marketing aspect of recruiting but if you are good enough, then you will be fine.  Everything in the athletic recruiting process boils down to having the skills college coaches are looking for.

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The impact that your college decision will end up having on your life

“This is the biggest decision of my life. It means not only where I will play football but, most likely, who I will marry, who my best friends for life will be, where I will live. It means everything. And the one thing I know for sure is I’m too young to make this kind of decision by myself.”

Any guesses?  The person who said this was the infamous Todd Marinovich. This former quarterback had issues from a dad who raised him to be a football player from day one and ended up with some severe alcohol and drug problems.

And while the outcome for this athlete isn’t exactly great, that quote really stood out to me in reading that article. He was a teenager at the time and was more mature than most college athletes. Who really thinks about the athletic recruiting process this way?

I know I didn’t think about that at all when making a college choice. I picked a school that had recruited me and I ended with lifelong friends and my eventual wife. In my mind, Marinovich was right dead on in that quote. No doubt about that.

As a teenager, there is no doubt that this will be the biggest decision of your life. What other life altering decisions have you made before this? Who to go to prom with? Who to ask to Homecoming? What shoes you should buy for the season? I remember making very little choices that had much magnitude when I was that age.

I have felt that athletics at any level has what I call built in friends. If you play a sport, chances are that you will befriend your teammates. Having these built in friends makes going to college easier because you don’t have to worry as much trying to find those who are similar. Most athletes on most teams have similar backgrounds for the most part. You will be spending most of your time with them so they become your best friends in college and that relationship continues afterwards as well.

His quote about his future wife, while I don’t know it is true for him, is true for many people. As mentioned, there is no possible way that I would have met my wife without going to the same college as her. Destiny may happen but for someone that lived hundreds of miles away, it just wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

And the last part of the quote really stood out to me as well. I know for sure is I’m too young to make this kind of decision by myself. Athletes, read that over one more time. You are basically too young and immature so you need input from your family. They have your best interests are heart and will help you anyway that you can.

Todd Marinovich may not have been able to live up to NFL stardom like his dad predicted but that quote made me gain a lot of respect for him. He knew he was too immature to make the decision himself and also was aware of the impact his decision would make. Think about that quote for a while before making a rushed college decision.

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Five Keys in order to land a Basketball Recruiting Scholarship Offer

While the sports are similar in the chase for a scholarship, the one major difference is AAU. Football camps cannot compare to the fact that top basketball players spend a good portion of July on the road playing in tournaments. And in order to get a major Division I scholarship, I feel that they basically have to do this. Find out what is included in the top five now.

1.) Playing for an AAU team that travels nationally
Here is what a current Division I basketball head coach said about the recruiting process: “If you’re in the AAU program and you’ve got a decent team, then the summertime is when you’ve got a chance go make a name for yourself. You can’t hunt bear in the lodge, so kids have got to go out there at these tournaments and give us a chance to evaluate them.” Playing on an AAU team that travels the country in tournaments is the #1 factor in getting a Division I basketball offer. I have seen numerous kids get scholarships simply because they played on a good AAU team. They had to play well at the right times but this certainly beats sitting at home working out with your teammates. With basketball, I cannot stress the importance of getting on the AAU circuit.

2.) Skill/Abilities
Unlike football, skills and abilities does trump size for college basketball. That is the reason why you will occasionally see a 5-foot-6 point guard or a 6-foot-6 center at the Division I level. They just have more abilities as well as a knack for playing beyond their size. The skill level of basketball players needs to be high and that is why there will be some smaller players on the court. It is because they have some abilities and know how to play the game.

3.) Size/Athleticism
College coaches will take chances with projects but they want players who can contribute early and often. Most of these coaches know that if they recruit the wrong players, it will likely cost them their job. That is why a project is much harder for a basketball coach to take versus a football coach. These basketball coaches are limited in the amount of scholarships that they have every year so they have to be careful. Taking too many projects that don’t pan out could easily get you fired.

4.) Work Ethic
There is no doubt that being a gym rat definitely can help you in the chase for a scholarship. But if you are not big enough, don’t play for a good AAU team, and lack the ability, it doesn’t matter if you workout twelve hours a day. God-given talent will trump work ethic at times in the chase for a scholarship. It sucks but it is true.

5.) Grades/Character
I hate to say that this is last on the list but it seems academics and character are even less important at the Division I level in hoops. Obviously you want the #1 player in the country to have fantastic grades and strong character (see Harrison Barnes) but it doesn’t always happen that way. The other areas are more important. However, having good grades and strong character can open the door for more opportunities if you find the right situation.

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Athletic Scholarship Comparison Chart at All Levels

One of the things that I hope to break down in the next few weeks is to give readers a better feel for the difference between all levels of post high school options.  This includes Division I, II, III, NAIA, Junior College, and Prep Schools.  While there are other options that you can choose, these six are more than likely where you will be continuing your sporting career.  Here is a quick look at the scholarships offered at each level.  Look for more breakdowns in the future as well:

Division I Scholarships
In football and basketball, these colleges are required by NCAA rules to offer you full rides.  It really is an all or nothing proposition.  They can bring you in as a scholarship athlete or a walk on.  In other sports, most of the time these schools offer partial scholarships to athletes.  Instead of a set number of full scholarships, these programs have a set budget that they can use for their athletes in each academic year.  It depends on the program and the sport.

Division I-AA Scholarships
This only applies to FCS football.  Formerly known as Division I-AA, FCS football coaches can offer athletes partial scholarships and many do.  Most coaches usually offer a smaller percentage earlier that grows over time as the athlete contributes later in his career.  Coming out of high school, few athletes end up getting a full scholarship from an FCS school so keep that in mind.

Division II Scholarships
College coaches at the Division II level are able to offer scholarships in any sport that they host (There may be some exceptions to that statement).  Schools are given a certain budget that is dependent on the school and the sport.  Then the coaches are free to use the money however they want.  Some coaches do try to use the money on Division I transfer and could end up offering them a full ride because they are expecting an impact player.

Division III Scholarships
Schools at this level are not legally able to give any scholarships for athletic performance.  While you will hear the rumors that some do, it is not true.  What the coaches can do is find creative ways to give their most sought after prospects money in different areas.  For example, a coach may be able to give their top recruit a Leadership Scholarship that could help reduce their tuition.  With Division III though, if you quit your sport, the price that you are paying for schooling in no way should increase.  So basically you are playing for the love of the game.

NAIA Scholarships
One of the most hotly debated topics for some NAIA conferences is that there is no cap on the amount of scholarship money that they can give athletes.  So if one school is spending $60,000 while another is spending only $15,000 and they are in the same conference, that is going to be tough to compete against one another.  Most coaches at the NAIA level will give athletes at least a small amount of scholarship money.  However, there are still NAIA schools that do not give any money based on athletics.

Junior College Scholarships
Because the cost of Junior College is so inexpensive, many athletes are given full rides.  These coaches have to bring in so many athletes each year and figure out who can play.  Many of the coaches just end up bring in ten running backs and letting them sort themselves out.  That is an easy way to weed out the kids that can and cannot play.

Prep School Scholarships
One of the more interesting options after high school is to attend a prep school.  While I need to write an article about it, prep schools can no longer be used to finish your high school education after your first four years of high school.  Regardless, these prep schools are used to improve your athletic standing and test scores.  These schools can offer scholarships to help host recruits and get into school.  It is very unique and something that you should speak with a prep school coach about.

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How do I get a Football/Basketball Recruiting Profile on 247Sports.com or Scout.com as well as my highlight video added to my profile?

24/7 Sports is the newest of the four sites we are profiling but has worked hard to put themselves on the map with the likes of Scout.com, Rivals.com, and ESPN. The good news is that since the site has been around the least, they have made finding contact information much easier.

Let me mention that before you try this, I would recommend having some solid stats and Division I interest to back up your claim of how good of a player you are. Chances are that if you should be listed in that database, then you definitely should have at least a minor amount of interest from schools at the Division I level.

First line of contact: For general inquiries, including prospect database additions/submissions, please e-mail recruiting@247Sports.com. Here is their contact our experts page. These are the national guys that can get the job done so click here to see that page.

Other areas to follow up on as well:

Jerry Meyer (basketball)
Director of Basketball Scouting
Twitter: @JerryMeyer247

Barton Simmons
Director of Football Scouting
E-mail: bsimmons@247Sports.com
Twittter: @bartonsimmons
Cell: 615-429-1857

Steve Wiltfong
National Recruiting Director
E-mail: stevewiltfong@yahoo.com
Twitter: @SWiltfong247
Cell: 574-286-4970

Ryan Bartow
Lead National Football Recruiting Reporter
Expert Area: ACC, National
E-mail: RyanBartow3@gmail.com
Twittter: @RyanBartow
Cell: 864-561-1860

When emailing these experts, ask them about getting a profile in the database. The next step after they set it up is to ask them where you need to send your video to be included.

As one of the larger websites that cover prep athletics, Scout.com has a database that includes some of the best athletes throughout the country in a number of different sports. And while it is not the only site doing this, college coaches do look at the database and may use it to find names to add to their prospective recruiting list.

While it is not a make or break in the recruiting process, it is a nice addition to your recruiting resume to have your profile in that top prospect database. At the very least, it is not going to hurt anything if you submit proper information and keep them updated. But the question is how do you get a Scout.com Recruiting Profile?

Let me mention that before you try this, I would recommend having some solid stats and Division I interest to back up your claim of how good of a player you are. Chances are that if you should be listed in that database, then you definitely should have at least a minor amount of interest from schools at the Division I level.

The first place I would recommend is find a contact page for the staff of their national recruiting site. That is usually the first and best way to find someone who has access to adding and updating players in the database. When doing this, you will need to be patient because these analysts do get a lot of similar requests from other athletes. And if you wait a week and don’t hear back/are not listed in the database, then it is time to move on to someone else.

If you have the Division I attention and the stats, you might as well keep emailing them until someone responds to you. Again, there is no reason not to get listed in this database because it will help you with colleges and potential articles from Scout.com in the future.

For football, here is the link to the contact page  but here are all of their names, email addresses, and phone numbers (I cannot guarantee how updated these are):

National Football Recruiting
Brandon Huffman, National Analyst

South Football Recruiting
E-Mail/ Phone
Chad Simmons, National Analyst/Regional Manager
Corey Bender, Florida
John Garcia, Alabama

Midwest Football Recruiting
E-Mail/ Phone
Allen Trieu, National Analyst/Regional Manager
Bill Greene, Ohio

West Football Recruiting
E-Mail/ Phone
Brandon Huffman, National Analyst/Regional Manager
Greg Biggins, National Analyst
Blair Angulo, Southwest/Mountain

East Football Recruiting
E-Mail/ Phone
Brian Dohn, Northeast
Michael Clark, North Carolina

Midlands Football Recruiting
E-Mail/ Phone
Greg Powers, National Analyst/Regional Manager
Gabe Brooks, Texas

When emailing these experts, ask them about getting a profile in the database. The next step after they set it up is to ask them where you need to send your video to be included.

One last final note. Please do not contact multiple people on this list asking them to add you. Find one that would be considered in your area and write an email introducing yourself. You may also want to include your recruiting profile as well.

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