A Former D1 Recruiting Coordinator Gives Inside Look
With the National Letter of Intent early signing period here, it seems like a good time to reflect on my past experience.
My most vivid memory as a recruiting coordinator is about a player we didn’t get, and it wasn’t because we were out-recruited or we were not a program the player wanted to play for. What stands out to me is a phone call I had to make to this particular player. You see, I had to pull a scholarship offer from him because we had decided to go with a different player, one we had also been actively recruiting. Both kids played the same position and at one time I thought we would end up with both players.
The player we pulled the offer from was a junior college player, one I had seen but none of the other coaches had seen. I was in my first year as the recruiting coordinator and though I would like to think the head coach trusted my ability to evaluate, I realize it wasn’t 100% trust.
We offered the JC player a sizable scholarship and brought him out on an official visit. My report on the player to the rest of the staff was that he was a strong offensive player, an above average defender and best of all, he was a difference maker type of kid because of his make-up and his intangibles. The visit was great and all the coaches got the same feeling about his make-up and intangibles. He left the visit basically saying, “see you guys next fall” but we didn’t have a 100% commitment from him yet.
So the fall moved along and we were also actively pursuing a high school shortstop. We also liked his ability with the bat, his future as a defensive player and that he ran well. On top of all his ability, the high school player was an exceptional student and he qualified for an academic scholarship to the university, based solely on his merit as a student. That is a significant part of this story.
You see, the scholarship he qualified for guaranteed him 3/4 of tuition to a private school that at the time was around $40,000 to attend (it is higher now). Even better was that merit based academic scholarship money does not count toward athletic money so we could supplement his academic scholarship money with a smaller athletic scholarship and make his total package VERY affordable. When a private school can sink a minimal amount into a high school player they really like and want, wow, what a coup that is, because it allows more funds to allot elsewhere, giving a better opportunity for quality depth, which is not easy to do at the private schools.