One 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 unable to 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 nationally known. In the first article, I talked about when Division I-AA (FCS) schools usually offered scholarships. In the second article here, I talked about when Division I (BCS) schools usually offer scholarships and official visits. This third part of the article will break down when official visits are normally set for schools in the Division I-AA ranks.
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.
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The earliest ever that I have seen a Division I-AA school offer an official visit is usually during the month of December. For their very top recruits, the coaching staff will try to bring them normally in during December. Their season should be over at this time and the college coaches should have a pretty good feel on where these recruits stand with Division I-A schools in their area. As mentioned in that earlier Division I-A article, the main reason that schools in these ranks offer athletes is because their first options have fallen through.
Again, this does depend on a case by case circumstance. Some athletes may want to make a decision earlier and they could want to take those official visits during the season. The reason that these Division I-AA schools wait on these visits is so that they can get a better gauge on what the Division I-A schools are doing.
Going back to the officials, these Division I-AA schools are allotted a certain amount of money and know exactly how much they can spend overall on that recruiting classes. These numbers should have already been established before the season finished up. It gives them an opportunity to get a feel for what they need position wise and how much money they can spend on the important spots to fill.
Chances are high that if they are trying to bring you in for a December official visit, there will be at least some sort of financial offer made towards you. While I cannot 100% guarantee that an offer will be yours by the time you leave that official visit, the earlier that the school wants to set up the visit, the better your chances are for a scholarship offer.
From what I have been told, heard, and read, these Division I-AA schools try to bring in a second wave of recruits either in mid December or early January. They normally have a solid feeling on the first official visit date so they will know how much they can offer. This may be a time where the coaches pull out the deadline on recruits telling them that they are going to offer other athletes unless they make a verbal commitment.
The coaches then try pushing back the potential walk ons/small scholarship recruits until late January. In the majority of cases, they are trying to get these athletes to walk on or may offer a 10% scholarship. This is something to consider, especially if you have not made a college decision and/or made your five official visits.
This is what I have seen over the long hall of the recruiting process. That doesn’t mean every single Division I-AA school does it this way. However, this is how the majority of schools do it because they want to make sure that their top recruits get on campus early and they know how much money they will be receiving. That allows the families to compare and contrast other scholarship offers and figure out what is best for their college education.