In one of the best all time comments on Recruiting-101, I had a parent ask some serious questions about calls from college coaches. Here is what she said: “My son is getting loads of calls from DIII schools and a few from DII. I have almost threatened to disown him if he doesn’t return the DIII calls because I feel it’s important to get back to everyone. Is that true? If he doesn’t call them all back will anything bad happen? Will he be blacklisted or anything like that? Do DIII and II coaches talk to each other about recruits?”
First off, yes it is important to get back to as many college coaches as you can. Each and every one of these schools have some serious interest in your son if they are taking the time to call him. But at the same time, as a 17 or 18 year old, I know that it is difficult to try and field all of the calls from coaches. When I was in high school, I had one coach calling me regularly and I didn’t answer his calls all the time. With a great deal of calls, it is never going to be easy to handle the amount of attention he is receiving.
If your son has the time, yes, he should be making those calls back. You could write down some simple questions that he could ask the coaches just to show that he is interested. It is important to have as many options open as possible throughout the recruiting process so you don’t want to burn any bridges.
Then again, it is your son’s life. If he decides that he doesn’t want to go to this or that Division III program, then that is his decision. Even the most well meaning mom can’t nag her son enough if he doesn’t want to talk to certain coaches. Disowning may not be the best option but talking to him about keeping his options open, student loans, education, and things along that line may pay off in the end.
Basically the worst thing that can happen if he doesn’t call the college coaches back is that they will lose interest in him. Again, they are taking time out of their day to call athletes that they are interested in. My guess (I would hope) is that they log when they talk to recruits and when they call them. Some athletes can have issues with voice mail, a broken cell phone, or any number of different excuses as to why they didn’t return the call. That school, which could be a perfect fit your son, may go on and focus their recruiting attention on another player at his position.
As for other Division III schools talking to each other, yes, they do talk to each other. But just because you didn’t call back School A and called back School B doesn’t mean both programs will no longer be recruiting you. If they do talk, School A may wonder why the heck you are not calling him back but School B may be a better program with stronger academics. If each school takes the time to call, they are genuinely interested in one way or another.
Most schools in the same conference do speak with each other about recruits, especially those that both schools are recruiting. Most coaches know the right questions to ask recruits to see what other schools that they are looking at. In most cases, these coaches are competing against conference foes for the best players in-state. It happens at all levels, although the friendship among conference coaches is probably stronger at smaller schools.
Going back to the point, in a perfect world, your son should call back every single coach that called the house or his cell phone. He should take the time out of his day and speak with the coaches to show that he is interested. In the end, that could help him get a cheaper education at a strong school. But realistically, as a teenager, I know that it is hard to spend so much time on the phone with coaches. They ask a lot of similar questions and it just gets old.
I would stress the point at keeping your options open and looking into as many schools as possible. If your family has done the background work and feel School A is not for you, then you may want to tell them that you are not interested in their school because of x, y, and z. Again, that may be limiting your options but you never know.
College coaches are very aware of what athletes don’t return calls or don’t return questionnaires. I know a Division III assistant coach who can tell me all the kids that didn’t send anything back. If you call or send back information to these coaches, it does show that you are interested in the school and helps keep your options open. But again, that is up to your son to deal with.