Posted By: CageSage College, Coaches, Recruitment : 2011-2012 - 09/08/11 06:42 PM
BOTC will continue to improve our coverage of issues impacting high school lacrosse students including athletic and academic selection processes during the 2011/2012 school year. BOTC is here to answer your questions in an interactive fashion while also bringing together parents with similar experiences to help everyone through the recruitment process. Readers who would like to read through our last season's thread can click the following link.

College, Coaches, Recruitment : 2010-2011
What Types of Questions Can I Ask?

When a young player has their first sit down meeting with a college coach during the recruitment phase, a sixteen year old can often be at a loss for words when trying to demonstrate both maturity of thought, but also collecting valuable information that can aid in the college selection process.

We would like to offer a few possible questions that a young recruit might use to not only uncover more about the inner workings of a collegiate program, but also to establish that student-athlete's broader role on campus. If there are other specific questions that you believe would be useful, feel free to contribute that content.
  • Where do you think I fit into your recruiting class?
  • What is the best way to get evaluated by your staff?
  • How would you describe your coaching style?
  • Do the players typically live together, or in the same area?
  • Is there any type of support from admissions that could be offered to a player in my academic situation?
  • Given my situation, are there any opportunities for financial aid?
  • What does the typical day of a player on your team look like?
  • When does the team train and when do most of the players have classes?
What Types of Questions Can I Expect from a Recruiting Coach?

Just as a student-athlete wants to know more about a prospective college or university, the lacrosse recruiting coach will also want to get to know the student-athlete as a person. When an official or unofficial visit takes place, there can often be a meeting with the lacrosse coaching staff on campus. Once the greetings are completed, the student-athlete is effectively "on parade" at that point, just as one might be at a college showcase. The recruiting coach is looking for your knowledge about their program, the school, your alignment to the school's program, and your maturity.

We have collected a few questions that you might find useful in preparing for that first conversation with the head or recruiting coach. We have included some ideas that you might find useful in your responses. Again, the conversation should be true to the student-athlete's own personal beliefs, however balancing all of the parameters during the interview will be the challenge.

Some selected questions taken from college interviews follow.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
Without showing yourself as a star, be sure to underscore your skill sets in the context of the team environment. Be honest about your own weaknesses and show a willingness to learn, improve, and adapt as the system requires.

“Have you ever seen us play?
If possible, be sure to have knowledge about the team's roster and some knowledge about their overall performance. If the visit is taking place during the season, you should be well versed on the action over the past couple of weeks to show that you are truly "plugged-in" to the program. If you have not seen the team play as yet, that should be part of your campus visit, so schedule accordingly.

Have you seen any college team play from our Division?
Not only should you have knowledge of the commitment required from Division I, II, and III programs, you should be able to have an idea about the overall competition level. Occasionally, coaches will ask this question to see if you are interested in other cohort universities. Being honest about your selection process is fine however if you are visiting this particular school as a top choice university, be sure to guide the discussion in that direction.

How would you feel if you were not receiving much playing time?
Big fish, small pond ... or Small fish, big ocean. Where are you more comfortable? You should likely have given this question a great deal of thought before visiting the particular campus and coach, however this is a reminder to give thought to what you see your role as being in the freshman and sophomore seasons. Be aware as to how large the roster might be and how many seniors might be rotating out of the program as you are arriving.

What position do you play?
Flexibility is the key here - it is a deadly sin not to show adaptability as an incoming freshman. You can be honest about your strengths and comfort zones, but understand that the more "specialization" that you express, the more difficult it will be for the coach to see you in multiple roles. Often, you will be able to highlight playing one position for your club team and another for your school team.

What are your goals and interests academically?
Beyond all else, remember that college, particularly for lacrosse, is about gaining your degree. Be sure that your academic program of interest is aligned with the university's offerings.
BOTC felt that his was a good time to remind our readers about the pure lacrosse scholarship numbers in the NCAA Division I and Division II programs. Many parents and players believe that athletic scholarships are abundant. Less than half of the players Division I or Division II receive any athletic scholarship money at all, and most of those are not “full rides.” BOTC has discussed previously why the full ride concept a more myth than reality based on the number of scholarships which can be funded versus the number of players on any given team.

How the money is split depends on the coach and the positional needs of the program each year. There is no set formula.

The NCAA allows each Division I lacrosse program 12.6 scholarships for men and 12.0 for women. In Division II, there are 10.8 scholarships for men and 9.9 for women.

At the moment, there are 59 Division I and 47 Division II programs that offer lacrosse scholarships for men. That's a total of 1,251 scholarships working under the assumption that all of these programs are fully funded.

There are 89 Division I and 71 Division II programs that offer scholarships for women, a total of 1,771. The numbers above may be reduced, as not all colleges are fully funded to the maximum number of scholarships allowed, so this is good information to ask about in the recruiting process.

Remember that these awards are SPLIT across four years of college recruits so you only have access, in general to 25% of the scholarship pool and generally, awards for upper classmen can inch higher over the years.

When planning your college visits, be sure the topic of available scholarships for your player's graduation year is discussed in detail to avoid the surprise of sticker shock after a commitment is made.
The introductory or cover letter on a player resume is that first impression that the young player can make on a possible coach. Let's take a look at some of the "do"s and "don't"s for that letter.
  • [1] DO NOT address the letter as "Dear Coach", "Coach", "Sir/Mam", or a popular salutation with young people, "Hey". Address the coach by his/her surname as in "Dear Coach Smith", "Mrs. Jones", or "Dr. Roberts". The surest way to make your introductory letter seem like a form letter is to have a generic salutation.
  • [2] When writing, DO NOT construct the letter as if it was intended for your "BFF on IM or Facebook". DO spell every word out completely, use a spell or grammar checker, and proofread your writing. DO ask a parent, teacher, or trusted adult to reread your final draft. Schools that expect a 550+ on the SAT Critical Reading section are not looking for incorrect usage of to/too, there/their/they're, its/it's, and so forth.
  • [3] In the opening paragraph, DO include your name, high school, academic interests, soccer interests/awards, and one sentence telling the coach why you are writing to him/her. DO actually name the target college in the opening paragraph to show that each letter is unique and targetted.
  • [4] The second paragraph should provide a four to five sentence summary of your interest in the college or university. DO make it clear that you have done your research and know something about the school. Use the school nickname, the league or conference in which the school participates or their home field/stadium name. DO know something about the roster (boys/girls from New [lacrosse] or the region), individuals you might know who could give you a positive reference that are on the team, or information about the team's regular season. DO include a possible non-soccer point as to why the school is on your target list.
  • [5] In paragraph three, DO really show how you want to attend the program, play for the coach and school, and why your profile might be a match to the school. Include a summary of your resume in a couple of sentence to entice the coach to learn more.
  • [6] The closing paragraph should be open ended, perhaps by asking some simple questions. "Would it be convenient for me to contact you next week to schedule a visit?" "Please let me know if you can attend any of my next three Spring showcases." "Can I have my club coach call you to arrange an additional discussion about my fit with your program?"
  • [7] The closing salutation should include your name, address, home phone number, and e-mail address. You can attach your profile to the e-mail in order to give more background on yourself.
Hopefully, these seven simple steps will get your son or daughter started on the right foot with their letter writing campaign.
[The following article covering recruitment Basics and authored by Ken Miller has been reprinted from the Everest Recruiting Consulting web site. More information about Everest Recruiting Consulting is available at their web site. BOTC is working with Everest and Miller as much of our recruitment philosophies overlap as do our views on academic performance being at the heart of collegiate success. Everest has a unique abilty to execute a recruitment plan on behalf of your college-bound child and BOTC can recommend their services.]

Recruiting 101: Tips from Everest Consulting
Ken Miller, August 3rd, 2011

The game of lacrosse has certainly reached a national level in terms or exposure. The fantastic coverage by Quint Kessenich, Paul Carcaterra and Lowell Galindo is driving the game deeper into the households with professional persona and great human interest stories.

I think, however, the most lasting memory that I had of ESPNU’s production of games this spring was the great montage of the band 30 Seconds to Mars and their hit, Closer to the Edge, interspersed with dynamic clips of highlights throughout the playoff weekends. This montage was as compelling and well done as anything you see for the NFL or any other sport on TV. This will undoubtedly result in some more converts to this great game.

I liken the recent dramatic growth of lacrosse to the growth of both surfing and triathlons. Both sports, seemingly overnight, have become a part of our culture. When I first started surfing, most breaks were filled with 10-15 other guys in the water. Now those same breaks I surfed are packed with 50-60 people fighting for waves. Likewise with triathlons, when I first started competing, races were small and many people signed up on race day. Now there are races all over the country and they fill up within days after the registration opens. Both sports have benefited from great marketing and our ongoing devotion to fitness and athletics.

Lacrosse is surely headed in the same direction. National TV exposure and major sponsors and manufacturers are all bringing more and more athletes to the game. However the number of NCAA DI schools that offer lacrosse has not grown as rapidly.

As it relates to the effect on recruiting, the results are dramatic. The pool of talent that coaches can choose from is huge, and the competition for coveted slots at many of the top academic institutions that offer lacrosse is now more fierce than ever.

This ever-increasing pool of talent means that parents must take note of the recruiting process earlier and it is incumbent upon them to drill down deep to understand how the process works across various conferences.

I often tell parents that there is no blueprint for what their son or daughter should expect. Each student-athlete must work hard toward making sure they maintain a focus in the classroom in addition to maximizing their exposure on the recruiting circuit.

Here are some of the action steps that I think parents need to address to avoid becoming overwhelmed by a process that speeds along on its own.

• Take visits to schools during your sophomore year.

• Focus on the education first and the lacrosse second. Identify schools based on your son or daughter’s sophomore-year grade. Students with a B average sophomore year are less likely recruits for Ivy or NESCAC conference their junior years.

• Make your Top 10 list of schools and decide how to get exposure in front of those coaching staffs.

• Encourage your son or daughter to take ownership of the process in terms of choosing schools to visit.

• Find a trusted coach or advisor who can assess your child’s athletic skills with respect to the level of play. Very few athletes can play or will be recruited by upper-tier DI institutions. If you possess the skills to play at a Carolina or a Duke or Notre Dame, they will find you. Your job is to find the school that matches your child’s academic grid and athletic skills on the field.

• Set a timeline for the production and release of your highlight reel. It should be available to the coaching community before your son hits the tournament circuit the summer of his junior year.

• Familiarize yourself with premier recruiting tournaments that now run year round. Certain recruiting showcases for teams afford you a great degree of exposure.

• Try to find student-athletes who have attended the schools on your Top 10 list to gauge the academic rigors of each school. Your son should seek out a school where he can thrive academically, not just survive.

• Anticipate taking SAT and/or ACT on three occasions to maximize scores. Have the test dates plotted out well in advance to facilitate preparation.

• Contact schools to find out what subject test they prefer and again block out dates for these tests.

A proactive and systematic approach to determining your son’s future will afford you less, reduce anxiety and will afford you a greater sense of control.

Ken Miller is the owner and founder of Everest Recruiting Consulting. Ken has been involved in the game of lacrosse for over 30 years. He was a player at the University of North Carolina and he also runs a boys travel team based out of Long Island called the Long Island Sting.

The Everest team consists of Ken and Scott Anderson, the former men’s lacrosse coach at Harvard University, and Charles Grantham , the former Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Wharton School, Graduate Division, at the University of Pennsylvania. Gantham was also the former Director of the NBA Players Association. Grantham is also the founder of Athletes for a Better Education.

The Everest team helps families make sense of the complexities of the recruiting process in their efforts to afford their son or daughter the best education possible at the college level. Over the last seven years, the team at Everest has assisted over 300 recruited athletes and their families in their college search.
From the NCAA Website

The Division I Board of Directors reaffirmed Saturday its support for a $2,000 miscellaneous expense allowance, but directed the Student-Athlete Well-Being working group to come back to the presidents in April with recommendations for implementation.

The action by the Board eliminates the need for an override vote on this issue.

The Board also reaffirmed its support for multi-year scholarships.

Based on membership feedback, the presidents directed the miscellaneous expense allowance recommendations to include consideration of student-athlete financial need, Title IX compliance and the potential for stockpiling by universities. The new legislation would be effective for the 2013-14 academic year.

Factoring heavily into the Board decision as well were comments by individual student-athletes on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Those student-athletes urged presidents to continue their support for the concept but to find a way to help the student-athletes that need it the most.

“I was very moved by the student-athletes… They said consistently that we have this momentum going, and this action will allow us to keep that momentum,” said David Hopkins, president of Wright State. “We need to move forward.”

In April, the Board will consider new legislation reinstating the miscellaneous expense allowance that takes into account the membership’s concerns and those of the student-athletes.

The presidents reconsidered these rules because Division I member schools requested an override of both proposals. The rules were adopted in October, effective immediately. But enough schools objected to the miscellaneous expense allowance rule, which allowed schools to give student-athletes receiving the value of a full scholarship an additional $2,000 or the cost of attendance (whichever is less), to suspend that legislation in December 2011.

The multi-year scholarship legislation, however, was not suspended. After a brief discussion that centered on delaying the effective date, the presidents decided not to make any changes to the rule allowing schools to award athletics scholarships for more than a single year. Board members support the rule because of its student-athlete well-being focus and noted that the legislation was permissive, not a requirement.

NCAA President Mark Emmert noted that maintaining the proposal was more beneficial to student-athletes than delaying the rule.

“I recognize the complexities of this issue. The impact of staying the course is relatively minor,” Emmert said. “If we err, it will be on the side of students.”

That rule now goes to a vote of the entire Division I membership, which will be conducted online sometime in February.

In another area of the presidential reform agenda, the Board adopted the recommendation for a freeze on the number of contests and length of the playing season in all sports, accompanied by a study of the issue to include an examination of how basketball contests are counted. Once the study is complete, season lengths and contest numbers will not be reconsidered for a decade. The recommendation was forwarded by the Resource Allocation Working Group.

The group’s recommendation for limits on noncoaching personnel was tabled, with the direction that the working group come back with a refined proposal in April. The presidents are committed to taking some action in this area at that time and will take into account any feedback it receives between now and then.

Other recommendations from that group, however, the Board declined to adopt, including the elimination of foreign tours and a reduction in scholarships for football and women’s basketball.

The presidents listened to the voices of institutions and student-athletes who objected to many of the resource allocation proposals as running counter to a student-athlete well-being philosophy. The group did, however, refer the scholarship reduction issue to the Collegiate Model: Rules Working Group for further review as part of their wholesale examination of Bylaw 15.

The presidents agreed to impose a one-year moratorium on new legislation, except for items from the presidential reform agenda and any emergency legislation. Neither the Board nor the Legislative Council will consider new legislation in this period.

In further support of the Rules Working Group’s efforts to reform the Division I manual, the presidents endorsed the rules group’s approach to its review of the manual, a method based on the NCAA’s enduring values that relate each of the NCAA constitutional principles to specific outcomes. Those outcomes will direct the formation of operating bylaws. The goal is to start with the outcome and create bylaws that will help achieve that outcome.

The Board also:

Supported the formation of a new presidential working group to examine the concept of institutional integrity.
Approved modifications to the men’s basketball recruiting model as recommended by the Leadership Council, including a summer access/acclimatization model and guidelines for on-campus evaluations.
Posted By: Anonymous Re: College, Coaches, Recruitment : 2011-2012 - 02/02/12 08:18 PM
This may sound like a trivial question. But I would like to ask anyway. Regarding the athlete questionnaire that the school asks you fill out on their website, should we submit a partial form if we are missing some information like SATs? There is no way to go back and edit the form after it is submitted, so we would be missing some information. So are the coaches really using this information, or is it just good enough to get on their "interested" list without having all the information in the form? A sophomore may not have all the information. So if it is just a way to get on their mailing list, I would like to know that. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
This may sound like a trivial question. But I would like to ask anyway. Regarding the athlete questionnaire that the school asks you fill out on their website, should we submit a partial form if we are missing some information like SATs? There is no way to go back and edit the form after it is submitted, so we would be missing some information. So are the coaches really using this information, or is it just good enough to get on their "interested" list without having all the information in the form? A sophomore may not have all the information. So if it is just a way to get on their mailing list, I would like to know that. Thanks.
Just as you would include basic information on your individual student-athlete lacrosse profile such as GPA, Board Scores, and Academic Honors in addition to your Athletic information, the college form is looking to collect as much similar information on-line as possible to neatly file into a backend database.

If your student-athlete has not yet sat for the SAT I or ACT, you are best served leaving those fields blank. In particular, sophomores are known not to have taken their boards as yet, so this will not be a problem. You can include the PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN pretest scores on your profile in order to offer that information to the coach.

Always provide a direct e-mail to the coach including your player profile that indicates interest from the student-athlete regardless of their academic year. Coaches will often track players who have expressed interest in their collegiate programs so it is best to open the discussion early.

As a sophomore, the college coach will not be able to directly contact you in response, however, subsequent invitations to the coach to watch your student-athlete in upcoming showcases will be better recognized as a result.
Posted By: Anonymous Re: College, Coaches, Recruitment : 2011-2012 - 02/20/12 06:55 PM
Where would you spend your time and money during the summer after the junior year if your student-athlete has not already verbally committed?

Would you spend the money and time traveling with a club team or spend the time and money going to summer camps? Given that costs will likely be the same, the question is where we will get the most impact.

BOTN has a great college forum - hoping that BOTC can build the same solid core.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Where would you spend your time and money during the summer after the junior year if your student-athlete has not already verbally committed?
First, start with your top ten academic and athletic college choices and determine how many of those universities saw your student-athlete play during the Spring/early Summer season. That will form a foundation for discussion with college coaches that are hosting summer camps. Clearly, you will first want to consider camps from which coaches have already seen your student-athlete and expressed an interest. If there was a college coach who wanted to see more of your player, Spring and Summer tournament follow-ups would be a great option before laying down the cash for a Summer Camp.

Originally Posted by Anonymous
Would you spend the money and time traveling with a club team or spend the time and money going to summer camps? Given that costs will likely be the same, the question is where we will get the most impact.
You will need to consider all of the scheduling weekly to get your best family solution - neither one provides an all-inclusive answer. BOTC believes strongly that you should secure coaching interests before attending a camp as a cold-call on that university. In order to grow interest in your son's or daughter's ability, establishing a solid showcase schedule will be required.

Originally Posted by Anonymous
BOTN has a great college forum - hoping that BOTC can build the same solid core.
Thank you for the vote of confidence as both of the College Forums on BOTN and BOTC are reviewed and managed with the same team of professionals.
Posted By: Anonymous Re: College, Coaches, Recruitment : 2011-2012 - 04/19/12 01:01 PM
At what age would you suggest a player contact a coach at a school they are interested in.In that same respect if a player is attending a camp at a school they are interested in but are on the younger side (freshmen in high school) what would be an appropriate way to contact the coach about their interest.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
At what age would you suggest a player contact a coach at a school they are interested in.
It is best that initial contact be made during the sophomore season once the student-athlete has a little better understanding of what they would like to have as part of their college experience. While freshman year High School students can also attempt to get on a collegiate coach's radar, the fact is that the transition to High School and overall lack of a high school level transcript make the contact slightly less meaningful.

Remember that freshman and sophomore year students cannot have the coach directly contact them via phone/e-mail, so do not take a lack of response as a lack of interest. Be sure to advertise the tournaments and game schedules at which your student-athlete will be appearing in order to maximize the value of the showcase.

Originally Posted by Anonymous
In that same respect if a player is attending a camp at a school they are interested in but are on the younger side (freshmen in high school) what would be an appropriate way to contact the coach about their interest.
Generally, our recommendation both here and on the BOTN College Forum is to attend a college-coach sponsored camp for recruitment purposes if and only if the coach has previously seen your student-athlete play and has expressed a direct interest in seeing more. College camps can be an expensive avenue for exposure and to get the most value for your money, it is best to know upfront that there is some mutual interest.

Now, if your student-athlete would like to attend a particular camp for the training first and recruitment second, there is nothing wrong with attending in the freshman or sophomore years. By all means send an e-mail ahead of time to the target coach to know for sure that he or she will be in attendance. Often times, coaches will be advertised as being part of a camp only to find out that a cameo appearance for an hour or less was in the schedule. In order to avoid that disappointment, having engagement ahead of time is critical.
As student-athletes prepare for a new academic year, BOTC will be closing our 2011/2012 discussion thread covering recruitment and will open our new discussion thread for 2012/2013.

To the seniors who will be heading off to their college campuses in just a precious few days, we wish you the very best of luck as you enter into what for many will be the four year journey of a lifetime.

With the Class of 2012 heading to new academic and athletic achievements, BOTC now welcomes in a new group of freshman families along with our rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
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