More changes proposed to the NCAA DI Transfer Rules!


More changes to the Division I transfer rules were proposed just last week by the NCAA Division I Council at their meeting in Indianapolis. These additional changes are not scheduled for a vote until April so likely won’t take effect until Fall 2019.

I will outline these key changes below, but for Division I athletes who are on an athletic scholarship, nothing will be changing about the rules that determine whether a student-athlete can be immediately eligible if they transfer to another Division I program.

The first proposed rule change will impact new incoming student-athletes to a Division I program (freshmen or transfers) who are attending summer school classes on an athletic scholarship (thereby triggering their status as a “student-athlete” at that university). Those athletes will be allowed to transfer and be immediately eligible IF their team has a head coaching change before Fall classes begin.

The second proposed rule change will allow more opportunities for walk-on athletes who have not received an athletic scholarship to transfer and be immediately eligible at another Division I university. There are current transfer exceptions that already allow that to happen, but those exceptions have conditions that restrict the number of athletes who can benefit from the exception. This proposed change will remove some of those restricting conditions.

The third proposed change should slow down the number of athletes in football and in men’s and women’s basketball who are transferring to Division I programs as graduate students. There has been a sense among many in NCAA leadership positions that some of these athletes (and the universities that bring them in) aren’t focused on the completion of their graduate degree, but are simply transferring to play for a different coach in their final year of eligibility.

As a potential consequence, football and basketball graduate transfers with just one season of eligibility remaining will be counted against their team’s scholarship limits for TWO years, unless the transferring athlete completes their graduate degree before the next academic year begins.

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind regarding these proposed rule changes:

First, these proposed changes will be reviewed by Division I universities and conferences which may result in amendments being proposed for these proposals. The impact of these changes on Division I athletes could be revised by the time the proposals are brought up for a vote in April.

Second, these proposed changes don’t address whether scholarship athletes who are transferring as undergraduates will still need the permission or agreement of the program they are leaving in order to be immediately eligible at their new university. Therefore, scholarship athletes should remember that their current coach and athletic department will probably still have the option to object to their immediate eligibility at a new university and might need to seek an appeal of such an objection.

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It is harder to get college athletic looks when breaking out as a senior


The easiest way to get recruited and stay recruited during your high school athletic career is get to the varsity level early and make a name for yourself.  Also it is extremely important to have BIG SUMMER your soph-junior year in the big name showcases and camps.   By doing this, it makes it easier for you to get your name out to college coaches.  These coaches can see you early in your career and see the improvements that you have made over the off-season.  While this is the ideal way to go, it doesn’t always happen like that.

I recently had a comment from a parent who saw his  son really break on the scene this fall on the football field.  He was wondering when the recruiting attention would start after such a break out year.  The problem is that when you break out as a senior, it is a much tougher battle to impress college coaches and earn a college scholarship.  It may not be fair but that is the way it works in the world of recruiting.  Why? Cause the colleges are always planning a year out.  Ex… now coaches are focusing on 2020 class.

College coaches, especially at the Division I-A (BCS) level, like to get recruiting started and finished as early as possible.  These coaches are always looking ahead to the biggest and best thing.  They may be working to finish the the senior class but if a coach has been in the State for a while, they have a great feel on the upcoming juniors, sophomores, and possibly even freshmen.

Let me state that even if you are not on their initial radar, it doesn’t mean that you can’t earn a scholarship at the college at next level.  The problem is that you are going to have to work a lot harder to make up for lost time.  Most athletes don’t worry about which school will realistically offer them if they are not producing on the field.  You must now find a way to make up for that time and make the most of your opportunities in the eyes of college coaches.

If you are striving for Division I-A attention in any of the BCS schools and you don’t have interest from these programs, chances are slim that you can get a scholarship offer.  Walking on may be a potential thing to look into but break out seniors rarely receive Division I offers from those major programs.  As mentioned above, these schools are focused in on a number of targets that they have already evaluated and seen in person.  Getting them to watch your video this late in the process is not going to be easy.  Your tape must be amazing to really get a serious scholarship look from these schools (again, it can happen but the odds are against you).

In all honesty, my focus would be at the Division I-AA (FCS) and Division II levels.  These schools are normally a step behind in the recruiting process simply because they are waiting to see which athletes the Division I-A schools offer.  These FCS programs do offer a few athletes here and there but they usually wait until late November, December, and even January to really make it apparent as to which athletes they want to land in each class.

These schools rarely have commitments this early and that means more scholarship money is open at these schools.  If you can impress them with your recruiting profile, then there is a better chance to have them watch your highlight video.

A good example of getting this to happen is when a football player is either hurt his junior year or playing behind another Division I athlete during that year.  If that is the case, then you may be sitting there waiting in the wings and hoping for a chance.  At most schools, unless you are far and away better than the senior ahead of you (during your junior year), chances that you will be sitting most of the time.

If you are a recruit who just broke out during your senior year and have little recruiting interest, here are a few things that you should do differently that could help you get that scholarship offer:

  • Broaden your search: Don’t just focus on the big schools in your State.  Look at schools that may fit you all over the country and at all levels.  I don’t want to hear the Division I eyes excuse like I normally get either.
  • Put together a fantastic highlight tape: If you break out as a senior recruit, make sure that highlight tape is as good as it can be.  This will help.
  • Have a very professional recruiting profile ready to send: This needs to showcase what you did as a senior and why you didn’t do it as a junior.  These coaches need to know
  • Get your video out there: Put together a quality product on hudl and get it to Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, and others.
  • Contact media people in your area to try and help: What is the worst that can happen, they will say no?  Getting some publicity is a great thing
  • Make up for lost time: The next few months need to be spent researching schools, contacting coaches, and getting your name out there.  The time you spend will pay off if you work hard enough and are good enough on the field.
  • Twitter is your resume!  Use it to promote yourself..

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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.

Inactive
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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