What does “We do not have any scholarships available” really mean in the football recruiting process?

I recently received an email from one of the most faithful fans and readers of this site stating that multiple schools recently told him that the school does not have any scholarships available.  There is no doubt that this athlete is extremely frustrated by hearing this response and feels that it may actually be a cheap excuse for them thinking he is not good enough.

But could some schools be telling the truth that they are actually out of scholarships?  With this being mid December, one would strongly think that very few football programs have all of their scholarships accounted for.  But if that is the case, then why are they feeding him this line?  I decided to take a look into what they meant and I am going to warn you that this will have some brutal honesty involved.

You really are not good enough and this is our easiest excuse to make you feel better about yourself
On one hand, not many college coaches want to tell high school athletes that they thought your highlight video was not good enough.  On the other hand, chances are slim that these coaches will ever see the athlete again so what difference would it make if they flat out told them that they don’t feel they are good enough to play at their level.

If the coach tells you that they are out of scholarship offers, there is no doubt that something is up.  What schools would really be out of scholarship offers this early in the recruiting process?  So if the #1 player in the country, decommitted from USC (or wherever he is committed to) and said that he would love to go to their school, apparently the coach would say, we are plum out of scholarship offers and you need to find another school.  I don’t really buy that to be honest with you.  So that means the more likely excuse could be

The school is really out of scholarship offers at your position
I definitely don’t buy that a college is completely out of scholarships.  It doesn’t matter if you are Ohio State, Texas, Florida, Alabama, or anyone in the country.  Once again, if Barkley said he wanted to change his mind, these coaches will find a way to get him a scholarship to go to that school.  I am willing to bet a large sum of money on that.

The much more reasonable excuse is that you are a linebacker recruit and the school wanted to bring in three players at this position.  The program currently has three verbal commitments from linebackers throughout the country that are expected to sign with the school in February.  Let me stress to readers out there hoping to play Division I football that even if you study the commit list everyday for your favorite college, there are still going to be athletes flying under the radar that have scholarships.  Face it, this happens all the time.

The school is not out of scholarship offers at your position but they are confident with their current class of recruits
I have stressed the importance of getting your recruiting information out as early as possible during your high school career.  If you are flailing right now because no school has offered you a scholarship so you are sending your highlights and resume out to Division I schools across the country, you are in for a major uphill battle.  These schools understand that recruits who are sending them their information now are likely on their last leg in hopes of getting a college scholarship.  If no program has offered you yet, there may be a good reason behind it.

The coaches are too lazy to look into new options
I hate to say that this happens but it does.  As mentioned in the previous point, the coaches may feel strongly about where they stand with the current crop of linebackers.  If the A recruits fall through, then there are B and C recruits that still like the school.  These coaches may just glance at the video (putting these highlights online does make it easier and cheaper) and then move on unless they are wowed.

The coaches are likely looking for a recommendation from an alum or a high school coach.  As an athlete or the parent of an athlete, it is going to be extremely difficult to get into the recruiting picture at a Division I school this late in the process.  That is the honest truth and something that is difficult for some athletes to swallow.  This is a perfect example of how getting in the door early is key in the football recruiting process.

 

 

 

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