Can you get an athletic scholarship playing sports at a small school? Will it hurt you?

Can you get an athletic scholarship playing small school sports?One of the biggest myths in the world of recruiting is that just because you play at a small school, chances are low that college coaches will give you a scholarship just because of your competition. But considering that the majority of scholarships seem to be handed out to players from large school, is this a myth or reality?

While the answer to that question really depends on a case by case basis, I am going to say confidently that I don’t think coaches at the next level will discriminate against you if you play at a small school. However, these same coaches may not be as wowed after watching your highlight tape when knowing you are playing against mostly weak competition.

In basketball, it is going to be tough for you to receive a scholarship if all you do is play high school basketball during the year. Even if you average forty points a game, many coaches will think it is inflated stats against bad competition. Unless you are putting up those jaw dropping numbers in a big conference, I don’t know how much it will help in playing at the next level.

Like I have said before, if you are not proactive during the recruiting process, the schools that will come find you are Division III programs. And while I played at that level and there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever, you need to do some work to get your name out there during the recruiting process.

For basketball, if you are a small school player, it is vital that you get on an AAU team that travels the country and gets exposure in front of college coaches. This gives you a chance to showcase your skills against top competition and not against Class 1A opponents. The AAU scene will show to coaches if you can play or not. You basically have little time to impress coaches so this is vital.

A few years back, there was a player in the second smallest class in a Midwestern State who went on to a major Division I University, played in the national title game, and was a lottery pick in the draft. I don’t see this talented athlete playing the blame game and saying that the reason he couldn’t get any looks was because he played at a small school. This standout dominated the AAU circuit and could have played basketball at any college program in the country, Duke included.

Switching over to football, I do feel that the season means more in football than basketball. A highlight tape gives a coach a chance to see how good the player is, no matter what the competition is like. While they may not offer a scholarship based on weak competition, it is obvious to see someone who can flat out play versus someone who can’t. I don’t have much football background and I can see that myself on tape.

What the schools want to see is the players at their summer camps. This gives the coaching staff a chance to work with the athlete, run specific drills, and throw them in one on one workouts to see how they stack up against other competition. If you play at a smaller school, you better get ready because you will be forced to prove yourself on the camp circuit.

Here is a perfect example for you in terms of how much a camp matters to an athlete. Going back to the same Midwestern State as I mentioned earlier, a player playing in 8-Man football eventually received multiple scholarship offers during the spring of his junior year. This player was able to do this after impressing college coaches during the summer at their camp and then sending junior year film. That was enough for multiple schools to offer this player because they had seen the improvement from the summer to his junior year.

Obviously this recruit impressed the coaches enough during the camp that he could play. But even against 8-Man competition on tape, the coaches were wowed into offering an early scholarship. If he had not gone to the camp the previous summer, there is little doubt that he would have gotten the scholarship that early in the recruiting process. College coaches put such an emphasis on camps for many reasons that if you are a small school player, you need to excel at the camps.

Also I would try and get to as many combines and different things to show off your ability as you can. You will receive less accolades as a whole if you are a small school player. But if you do a great job on the camp circuit and show the coaches what you are made of, then you won’t have to worry about if you are playing at a small school or a big school.

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