Football recruiting, college coaches, and getting the best deal that they can get

One of the things that I always try to stress time and time again is how important it is to keep learning and throughout the athletic recruiting process (especially during the football recruiting process).  Even for someone like myself who has followed football recruiting for quite sometime, I always try to learn as much as I can every year.  Over the last few months, I have seen a very unique situation of a football recruit unfold under my eyes. 

The recruit is from a small school and has some major skills in a number of sports.  While he was being recruited for other sports, football is the direction that he has wanted to go in.  And even with it being so close to Signing Day, this athlete has interest from schools at all different levels.  From Division I-A (BCS), Division I-AA (FCS), Division II, III, and NAIA, this athlete has some major interest and each of the college coaches are waiting on the others to make a scholarship decision.  I have been informed time and time again and it remains something that happens to a lot of athletes but is something new to talk about on the site. 

Before getting to the actual purpose of the article, I want to give a little more background of the situation.  Currently this athlete has a Division II offer and walk-on offers at a Division I-A and I-AA school.  This football recruit has two more official visits setup up and is awaiting to hear what the programs have to say with regards to scholarship.  Those visits are at a Division I-AA and II school. 

The situation that this recruit is going through is not unique.  A lot of athletes are considering schools at all levels this late in the process and is something that I stress when finding the best fit (as well as the best financial deal in paying for college).  What is so interesting is that college coaches at all levels want to be informed of situations at each and every program recruiting the athlete.  For example, if he is making that Division II official visit this weekend, all schools (which includes NAIA programs) wants to know what that Division II school is offering. 

You might think that all of these schools would not be on the same playing field.  But apparently the coaches feel that they are.  It doesn’t matter if it is an NAIA school, they want to know first hand what other programs are offering.  But what makes it so interesting is the reason why. 

Due to the fact that all non Division I-A (BCS) football programs can offer partial scholarships, these coaches are trying to use their scholarship money the best that they can.  The college coaches have a set budget and they are looking for last minute deals that could eventually pay off.  Looking from their point of view, if they can get an athlete who has no off the field trouble and will work hard, why not offer him a few thousand dollars to sign with them?  If it pans out, they get an outstanding player with a small investment.  If he doesn’t pan out, then they can have the money is the next football recruiting class looking for a similar steal. 

Just to let readers know, these coaches are looking at what the overall costs of the school are.  For example, a $10,000 scholarship at these programs are not the same.  One school may have tuition costs of $15,000 while another may be $25,000.  So these coaches are looking at it in overall terms of how much school will cost.  If there is an in-state program that can offer a lower tuition because of the athlete, then they will take a serious look at that.  This in-state program might be able to match an out of state program with an offer only a few thousand dollars.  They are aware of this and could very well use it when trying to land this athlete. 

My advice in this situation is to follow the request of the coaches and know where other schools sit in terms of tuition.  Shopping around will give the athlete the best chance to pay as little for college as possible.  It may not seem like much when you are an 18-year old but repaying loans later in life is something you will want to strongly avoid if possible. 

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