No matter what sport you play or are considering at the high school level, it is imperative that you keep all of your options for colleges. Even if you feel that you are a sure fire Division I prospect, things can change quickly in the game of recruiting. There are a few reasons why this needs to be done.
As I have mentioned many times, the recruiting process is a game. College coaches know that and recruit athletes knowing that things can change at any minute. Say for example that a school you committed to decides to fire their coach after the year. Since you spurned all of your other options because you were dead set on this school, your only options remains this program. The school is having trouble getting a new coach so in a month from now, they bring in a big shot former college coach. This coach has won at the college level before so he decides to pull scholarship offers of all the recruits and look at the film on these players before extending his own scholarships.
While this is a bold move, it has happened in the recent past. If you decided to burn your other bridges and this new coach just doesn’t feel you are good enough, what do you do? And since Signing Day is rapidly approaching, you need to get colleges interested in you in a hurry. Here are a few other stories as to why you need to keep your options open while going through the recruiting process.
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*A few years back when following a recruiting on Rivals.com, the athlete seemed to have it all during the spring of his junior year. This 6-foot-6, 215 specimen had colleges from the Big 10 and Big 12 sending him a great deal of hand written mail everyday. This multi-sport standout was also taking visits to the colleges and learning more about them. At that time, there is little doubt that he didn’t feel he would be playing football at the Division I level. Fast forward to Signing Day of that year and the interested from the big colleges disappeared. Instead of having scholarships from the Big 10 and Big 12 schools, this athlete ended up at the Division III level. If early in the recruiting process he quit responding to the smaller schools, things would have likely not worked out in the end. It is important to look into all of your options, whether they be Division I, Division III, or anywhere in between. And you never know if you will find a place that is the best setting for you as a student athlete.
*The more schools that are interested in you, the better options that you will have. Even if the scholarship offers do not come to the table as you had hoped, you can use the financial packages at different schools to help pay less for college. Anything to reduce student loans is a huge plus. It would be a Division I walk-on vs. a Division II partial vs. a Division III academic scholarships, looking into all of your options and letting the colleges know about them will help you pay less for college at any level.
*As mentioned in the first example, it is important to know that just because Division I and II schools send letters does not mean anything in terms of scholarship offers. While they are nice to have, these schools have added your name to a list that could be around 5,000 prospects. While it is special to get that letter, realize that a lot of other prospects are getting it as well. And while the Division III or NAIA programs may not be sending the media guides like the bigger schools do, these are still good fall back options in case something falls through. So respond to everything that you have time for and do not burn bridges with other schools.
*Another reason why you should take a look at a lot of schools if is something happens at a bigger school. For example, say you finally get that scholarship from your dream school and take them up on. Two years in, you are unhappy because of the lack of playing time and the athletes they have recruited over you. Instead of having no idea where to start, you could contact the coaches at the other schools (After of course you have received your release, per NCAA rules) and tell them that you are interested because you had researched them the first time around. This will make things much easier, especially if you have learned a lot about the schools and developed relationships with their coaches. That can ease the transfer process if it does come down to that.
There are still a number of other reasons why to keep all of your options open in recruiting but these are the main ones.