Question 1: How will younger participants in a Showcase know if they have caught the eye (s) of recruiters? This is assuming that the older (Junior/Senior) participants are approached by recruiters because they are eligible at the time of the Showcase, but what if a Freshman or Sophomore is there? How will these younger players be addressed and when?
Answer 1: The NCAA has rules in place to limit the communication with underclassmen. So, how does a kid commit early if the coach isn’t allowed to talk to them? Well, they ARE allowed to talk to them, but there has to be a little more creativity in getting to the conversation. If an underclassman catches the eye of a coach, the coach will use an intermediary to get in touch with the player. The coach cannot email or call the player directly, but he can email or call their high school coach or summer coach. Usually how it works is the college coach will call the high school coach and say, “can you have Johnny call me at 8pm Tuesday evening?” They do this because college coaches are allowed to answer a call, but not make a call. If that phone rings at 8pm Tuesday and Johnny is on the other end, the coach and the player can speak about whatever they’d like. Coaches can only send underclassmen emails about camp-related material. This is why high school or summer coaches are used as an intermediary.
Division 3 coaches can reach out to underclassmen anytime. There are only restrictions by specific conferences limiting the dates when some division 3 schools are allowed to make contact.
A great resource to understand when coaches are allowed to make contact is the NCAA Recruiting Calendar.
Question 2: Does high school baseball matter?
Answer 2: Yes, it does. I listened to the Head Coach of a team one win away from a super regional last year tell an audience that his favorite way to recruit is to watch local high school playoff games. Why? The players are there to win, they are competing at the highest level, and they care to the highest degree. High school baseball is where you are playing to win. You should have a sense of pride in your school and a connection with your teammates that is different than the squad of mercenaries compiled for your summer travel team.
Another reason it matters is your high school coach will probably get a call from a college coach looking for a character reference. College coaches reach out more to hear about a player's character than to hear about their skill set. The college coaches will evaluate the skill set on their own. Your high school coach usually gets to see you in settings that nobody else does; in the lunchroom, in the classroom, walking the halls with your friends, etc. How do you act? Everyone can be on their best behavior in a showcase when they know 200 schools are watching.
Question 3: What is an “offer”, and how will I be sure I got one?
Answer 3: An offer can come in 2 ways:
- A scholarship: This offer is very clear. The coaches will discuss a certain amount of scholarship, usually in percentages, and offer you the chance to accept that scholarship. When the National Letter of Intent date comes, you will sign your NLI, and the scholarship will become official.
- A roster spot: If a school is out of scholarship, or feels you are a good enough player to make the team, but don’t deserve a scholarship, then the coach will offer you a roster spot. This is a guarantee that you will be on the team for one year. At the division 3 level, this is the best a coach can offer you since there are no athletic scholarships. Usually this offer will come with support from the coach through the admission process.
A coach might offer you the chance to try out. This is not what would be considered an “offer” since anyone is open to trying out. To sum it up, an offer comes with something concrete; a roster spot or a scholarship.
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