Honesty in the Recruiting Process
When I first began talking to parents about Find My Team, the topic of honesty consistently found its way into the conversations. Many high school parents talked about the difficulty in knowing who is telling the truth about their daughters, the recruiting process or the colleges their daughters were interested in. Parents of former college athletes, remembering the process, confirmed that finding trusted sources of information was always an issue. When Find My Team sent out a survey to parents of high school student athletes around the country, asking about their concerns with the recruiting process, honesty in the process topped the list.
How do you know who is telling the truth?
It's hard to know. This is why it is so important to do as much work researching and discovering as you can about each college, allowing you to ascertain some of this information on your own.
Here are some tips for discerning honesty in the recruiting process for parents.
What Is Real?
Your daughter gets a note in the mail from College A, and it reads that she is a top recruit for the class of 2022. You think, “Wow, this is great!” There is heavy interest from College A. They must really want her.
The truth is, getting a letter in the mail, at any age, does not mean much. Here are some reasons your daughter may have received this letter.
She has good grades and she is on national academic lists for high grades
She is ranked high by evaluators, in a recruiting service, subscribed to by the college
She was seen in a high school game somewhere and one of the college's coaches saw her play
She was seen in a club tournament and one of the college's coaches saw her play
Someone told one of the college's coaches about her and they put her on a list until they are able to see her play
She is fairly high on national lists and ranks for scoring, times, jumps, etc., depending on the sport
A coach from another college, who does not need your daughter (got an earlier commit, etc.), passed your daughter’s name along to other coaches
At this point, she could be high on a college's list or she may only be on the list. If she is getting multiple letters or emails, there is a higher probability of a college's interest. If it is early in her high school career and she is getting multiple letters, then the chances of a college's interest improve even more.
Keep Track of Everything
You never know what is going to happen with the recruiting process. Some athletes are fortunate enough to be sought after at an early age. When this happens, it is a little easier to measure honest interest from college programs. When there is interest from college programs early in your daughter's high school career, expect that interest to be true.
However, even if the interest is true when your daughter is young, expect that there are other young athletes who are also on the list.
This is why it’s important to measure interest from colleges at different times. If it increases or decreases, it means something. If it ends, that means something, too. For example, if a college coach claims that he or she is really interested, but the mail, calls, etc have dwindled, that may be a sign of a coach being dishonest about true interest in your daughter.
Record and keep track of phone calls, texts, emails and other messages. Keep track of what information college coaches tell the high school or club coaches. It all will begin to fit together like a puzzle when you put the pieces together.
Research the Recruiting Process
Know your options along the way and always be open to shifts. Keep an open mind about the outcome for your daughter.
Start researching colleges of interest early, before your daughter begins being recruited. Once she enters high school, she can begin to research little by little. Start a college interest list and begin to look into those colleges first. If she starts early, she will have more time later, when decisions really matter.
Research the recruiting process as well. Know the recruiting terminology and the basics. The rules are a little more difficult to understand because they differ on many items based on college level and what year your daughter is in high school. You can definitely learn the recruiting basics and have enough knowledge to know where to search for, and find, accurate answers.
Many student athletes and parents are shy about asking questions about where they stand. Any time you have questions about the accuracy of information, ask the coaches. Here are some frequently asked questions that student athletes and parents ask coaches concerning the recruiting process. They come at different times throughout the recruiting process. Maybe some of them will spark questions or conversations for you.
Asking college coaches:
- Where do I stand on your list?
- How interested are you in me as a potential student athlete?
- How many other players are you recruiting in my position?
- How do you see me contributing to your team?
Asking high school or club coaches:
- How truly interested is College A in me?
- Can you call a coach for me to find out about such and such?
- What level of play do you think I am? Ask for honesty.
There are many other questions to ask, depending on sport, age and stage in the recruiting process. If you don't ask you may never find out.
Don’t Settle for One Answer and One Person
You wouldn’t settle for one doctor's opinion on a major surgery. You would get second and sometimes third opinions. The same is true with the recruiting process. Get more than one opinion and answer from multiple sources. Be a detective.
For example, you could ask a pertinent question like, "How many players are you recruiting in my position?" to the head coach and to each assistant. Are their answers the same? You could treat all of your important questions this way. Ask questions to different coaches, to the administrators and to the team. Are they on the same page?
If sources you ask give you different answers, ask for clarification. You have a right to know about your daughter’s recruiting situation. Encourage her to ask questions, too. You can compare notes with her to see if you both receive answers that clearly explain what your questions are trying to discern.
Honesty Works Both Ways
It’s best for all sides to be open and honest with each other. You demand it from the coaches, and they should demand it from you and your daughter. It’s best to keep them informed about where they stand in your daughter's interest.
One-way honesty does not tend to work. College coaches have been faced with situations where an athlete makes a verbal commitment, then continues to visit other colleges. They have also had recruits who lied about their grades or level of interest in a college. They deserve honesty from their recruits as well.
Some examples of questions that college coaches would want honest answers to are:
- Where do we stand on your daughter’s list?
- What is holding your daughter back from committing right now?
- If we offered your daughter a place in our program tomorrow, would she commit?
- What are your daughter’s major concerns about attending college?
The questions vary. Every college coach recruits a little differently and each situation drives the process for him or her.
The recruiting experience can be fun and exciting. The more your daughter and you invest in understanding the details at every step of her recruiting process, the easier it will be to learn the truth and make informed decisions. Continue searching for the answers necessary to assist your daughter in making the best choice possible for her.