The NCAA College Football National Championship was played last night, and in the wake of the season’s end, news around the sport will quickly be shifting into transfer athletes and the impact they will have on the upcoming season. For parents, this is a great time to dive into the intricacies of college athletics to prepare themselves for what lies ahead of their athletes in terms of recruiting, opportunity, and the landscape of college athletics which exists today.
When the NCAA officially opened the transfer portal in 2018 to manage and facilitate athletes seeking a transfer, they opened the door to a new day in collegiate competition. The ease of access to transfer opportunities among athletes in college was unprecedented, and put a unique twist on the recruiting process. In days of old—and for many still today—the ideal recruiting process ends in finding the perfect home for the next four to five years. The reality of collegiate sports as a business, however, is easily dismissed en route to that final result. Players and coaches are leaving schools for greater financial opportunities and heightened chances at proving their ability at rates that have never before been seen. So how can a parent help their athlete navigate the recruiting and transfer process throughout their collegiate journey?
How can parents help their athletes in recruiting?
One common misconception is that the recruiting process is exclusively organic; players get seen by scouts just by going out and playing. Of course, paying for showcases and camps helps athletes to gain exposure, and attending such events creates opportunity, but that is just one basic avenue to create contact with college coaches.
Whether or not reaching out to coaches on your athlete’s behalf is the right thing to do is subjectively unique to each situation, but as a parent, you can at least encourage them to reach out directly themselves. There was a recent submission to the CoachUp Q&A in regards to the appropriateness of high school athletes directly contacting college coaches. The simple answer is that it is completely acceptable. College coaches only have so much time which they can dedicate to recruiting, and there are no rules against them fielding communication from interested athletes.
It may seem to your athlete as if it would be better for their high school or private coach to reach out to potential future coaches for them, but taking initiative may be the best thing for their future. Helping them to write the best message and assisting them in compiling film or highlights to send off is a great way for parents to help in the recruiting process. Furthermore, the prospect of contacting coaches on their own is an early exposure for young athletes to the professional world which awaits them after their collegiate career. This self-initiated recruiting tactic is quite similar to submitting an application to a job. Parents can help their athlete to compile a professional looking and effective sports resume, which will be a useful practice in the future.
What is a parent’s role in the transfer process?
The transfer portal created the opportunity for athletes to leverage their success in one program into new situations that may be more conducive to their overall success. It is a somewhat controversial topic, as many parents and coaches put significant stock into loyalty and perceive transferring as “quitting.” The true benefit of the transfer portal is subjective to each athlete, and parents can help them to realize whether utilizing it is best for them long-term.
At the end of the day, much like any adult at a job, if an athlete has one foot out the door of their current program, it will be difficult for a coach or parent to talk them out of leaving. As a parent, the best thing that you can do in this instance is to help clarify the pro’s and con’s of either decision. It is not your choice to make, so try to keep emotion towards the situation minimal. Simply offering your opinion and full support in this time is best.
Not all athletes will transfer or even consider it, and the odds of this situation coming up for you are likely slim. It doesn’t hurt, however, to give it some thought and to prepare for what may lie ahead in your athlete’s journey.
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