Just as a recap who have not read the definition, Division I eyes are when an athlete only focuses on Division I schools. It has been their dream to play at the Division I level and they could careless what other schools have to offer at the Division II and III level, even if they would pay for your entire tuition.
I am obviously against any athletes having Division I eyes because it hurts the overall recruiting process and can severely limit your college options. Overall, that will make your college education more expensive and take away some schools that may have been the perfect fit. But there is another reason why focusing solely on Division I programs in any athletic sport can also hurt you in the long run.
This reason came to mind when speaking with an athlete recently. He had spent his junior season receiving interest from Division I programs throughout the Midwest. This recruit also had put up stellar numbers, was named All State, and did all the right things to excel as a prep football player. The problem is that his speed did not carry over to the college level and meant no Division I programs would offer him a scholarship.
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Because he had excelled so much as a junior and in high school, the athlete and their family thought they were a sure fire lock for a scholarship offer. They also hired a recruiter who probably was telling them the same thing about how he will get offers and this and that. This lock cost them overall because they had spent the entire time taking visits to Division I schools, watching games at Division I schools, and basically limiting anything smaller.
Taking this route is extremely tough because if you go to almost any Division I-A football game, there will be tens of thousands of fans in attendance. Many other sports also have excellent fan support at the higher level. The better the level of play, the more fans that will come in most cases (let me stress most cases).
So with Division I eyes and excepting a Division I offer, you see the games, the fans, the support, and things along those lines. What you don’t realize is that you think all colleges will be like this. If the Division I attention dries up in the fall, could you see yourself being happy at a smaller campus of a Division II or III school? What about the fact that the attendance is much less and the support for athletics is much smaller?
If you are playing college athletics, especially at the Division III level, you are doing it for the love of the game. It should have very little to do with the support and the attention that the school and the student body gives you. It is because this is a sport that you love and enjoy playing. But if you have these huge eyes and expect to play in front of 60,000 people every Saturday, it is going to be very hard to go to a smaller school.
That is why it is important to realize that unless you have a written scholarship offer, nothing is guaranteed (and not even that offer is for sure). So when planning out visits early on, make sure to look into some Division I-A, I-AA, II, and even III schools. This will give you a better feel for all the programs and help you keep some perspective on all levels. The goal obviously is to get that major scholarship offer but things don’t always work out as planned. Keep your options open and don’t feel that you are Division I or bust. You will likely hurt yourself if you have that motto during the athletic recruiting process.