Diving into the Complex Process of Recruitment

Noam Elfassi, Staff Writer

Playing college sports is a dream for many aspiring athletes at RHS, however in order to achieve hopes of future recruitment, students must understand the process that it entails.
One question that many aspiring college athletes have unanswered is how to get noticed and how to differentiate themselves from the thousands of athletes worldwide. Student athletes can be recruited through college scouts, sending tapes to colleges, statistics, word of mouth, from their own high school coaches, or film clips or highlight tapes or newspapers.
“Every college/sport is different- Some colleges only rely on looking at club sports [while] some other sports contact high school coaches,” Hayes said. “Some colleges want to talk to the athletic director or get grade information, while some schools only deal directly with the student and his/her parent.”
Students cannot rely solely on their athletic talent in order to get them recruited because there are many different factors that play into the process, especially grades. When committing to a school for athletics, applying to the school is still required. Many students might assume that athletics alone will get you out of this process completely, but in most cases this is not true.
Regardless of the fact that most students sign before being officially accepted, Harris said, “Student athletes must complete the college application, meet the requirements for the school… And be accepted to that college or university, in order to be offered a spot on the teama�� Many athletes will also complete a NCAA application to verify their eligibility…”
Different sports have many different rules when it comes to recruitment, which is why the process as a whole can be hard to generalize and understand. For swimming, colleges are not allowed to contact a prospective athlete for recruitment purposes until junior year, so the student has to reach out to colleges on their own to establish early contact.
“The summer after my junior year I met with a bunch of coaches and talked to them and did the tours so I could make sure I was actually interested in the school,” senior swimmer and Division 1 Loyola University swimming commit Alexa Stewart said. “…When I went to Loyola, I had such a great time and I loved it there and after talking to the coach I decided to verbally commit.”
Most college-commits give their verbal commitment and fill out their official legal binding paperwork before they have even been officially accepted to the school. The official signing to a school means that you are signing that you will be attending that school to participate in your sport no matter what.
Stewart said, “When you’re a verbal commit, it’s not binding so you can take it back if you want toa�� For swimming, they have certain dates that are signing days, and once you sign, that’s legally binding, by signing, you’re saying “I’m going to this school no matter what.a��”
Getting the opportunity to play college sports is often a lengthy process, and one which requires extreme levels of motivation and dedication. Getting the attention of a college is not always easy, as they want to see how willing the student is to get an opportunity to play for their passion.
“When a student athlete knows in their heart, above and beyond anything else, they want to step up to the collegiate level of sports, they have made the decision to set themselves apart from the others,” Harris states. “They… Must have a strong determination and true grit to help them succeed.”