The Division I-AA (FCS) timetable for scholarships and when to expect them in the football recruiting process

Division I-AA (FCS) timetable for scholarships in the football recruiting processOne of my favorite parts about this site is when users interact with those on the site and ask questions about specific situations that they are currently going through.  Because the recruiting process is so difficult, especially for football, there are always a ton of questions that parents have been few rarely ever ask.

Well, one dad came along and asked us about the time table for Division I-A and I-AA schools and how they handle the recruiting process for recruits who are not national.  In this first part of two articles, I will be taking a look at updated timetables as to when Division I-AA (FCS) schools make a decision on when they offer athletes.

Let me note before going into this that these FCS schools all are different and not every situation is the same.  One Division I-AA schools could have a completely different philosophy on the recruiting process than another one when trying to find football recruits.  Most of what I am basing these timetables on are on some of the top FCS schools in the country and what I have learned from following them.

There are three situations where I have seen FCS schools extend offers to athletes this early in the process.  But before going in these, because FCS schools have a scholarship dollar limit, the majority of offers that they extend could be for $10,000 or 33% of the costs associated with the school.  Each program depends but as a recruit, try to get the percentage offer because the price of school usually goes up.

Because they offer a dollar amount, most schools may offer a scholarship early on but when it comes down to it, the offer may be worth very little.  So before getting too excited about how they promised you an offer, until the dollar amount or percentage is in writing, that is when the real offer is on the table.  Many schools have promised athletes cash for school but when they come for an official visit, the money is much less than originally thought.

The first way that a school may offer a prospect is if they see him in camp and are extremely impressed.  This does not happen frequently but every year, there may be a few prospects who end up with verbal offers from this school.  While a verbal offer is great, until the money is in writing, I wouldn’t get all too excited about it.

The second way is if the coaches from the school come out to a game and are extremely impressed.  I had a chance to go to a football game earlier this fall and saw coaches from a Division I-AA powerhouse there.  They came to watch a talented running back/athlete and came away so impressed they offered him a scholarship later that week.  This has happened only a few times so the camp offer does happen more.

The third is when an out of state Division I-A college program extends an offer.  In order for this to work, it basically cannot be a Division I-A school in a BCS conference and usually has to be a great distance from home.  The reason that these Division I-AA programs swoop in with an offer is because they usually can sell the close to home angle as well as winning tradition.

Outside of this in my experience, offers now come when players take official visits.  The reason that these Division I-AA schools usually wait so long is that they are realistic about the process.  If you live in Missouri and the University of Missouri offers a prospect, there is little to no chance that Missouri State will be getting him to sign with them.  They usually wait to see where the Division I-A schools stand first.

I saw a prospect a few years back commit to a Division I-AA schools a week before Signing Day.  Late on Signing Day eve, a Division I-A school from his state came in with an offer.  Both the coaches from that Division I-A school and the recruit stayed up late before he eventually signed with them.  These midnight steals can happen often to a Division I-A school if an athlete decommits.

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