How to interpret what a college coach is REALLY saying

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September 21st, 2012 – by Kerry Brown

1. “I am officially offering you a scholarship” Email:

Dear Jacob,

At this time, I am confirming our decision to offer you a scholarship to attend Boston College and become a student-athlete in our football program. A full scholarship will cover the cost of room, board, books, tuition and fees. Our offer is based on the following requirements:

You must continue to excel in the classroom and obtain the grades and test scores that are required for admission.
You must complete the requirements set forth by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
You must perform up to the standards of Coach Smith in the classroom, community, school and on the football field.
We want you and your parents to feel comfortable with your opportunity to succeed as a student athlete at Boston College. This offer is being made in good faith, with the hope that it would be accepted in the same manner. Feel free to contact me at any time at 607-222-2222 (H), 607-555-5555(O), or 607-666-6666(C).

Note: This is an actual excerpt from a letter written on February 13th of a student-athlete’s junior year.

The Reality:Congratulations! You have been offered a full-ride scholarship to compete in college!

2. “I am very interested and you are being considered for a scholarship” Email:

Dear Julie:

We have watched you compete several times over the last year and are very impressed with your performance. We have spoken to your coach, and he has emphasized your skill and dedication. It is obvious to us that you are a player who makes an impact. You are among a small group of select athletes whom we would like to continue evaluating for a possible athletic scholarship. Feel free to call me at any time on my cell phone 773-555-5555 or at the office 847-555-5555.

The Reality:This is the letter all student-athletes and their parents dream of receiving. However, it is uncommon! The interest is serious any time “athletic scholarship” is mentioned. The coach has actually seen you compete and is pursuing you. If you receive such a letter, contact the coach immediately and assure them of your interest. At this time you may ask the coach if there is anything specific you should do to proceed with your recruitment at their school.

3. “You are high on our radar” Email:

Dear Chris,

Our staff has identified you as one of the top junior recruits this year. We enjoyed watching you compete in San Diego. With the graduation of eleven seniors from this year’s team, we are interested in and are in need of bright young athletes to carry on our tradition of excellence.

Please fill out the attached player profile as fully as possible. We look forward to seeing you compete again soon. If you have any questions, please contact me directly at 345-009-4545 (H), 345-777-7777(H), or 544-666-7777(O).

The Reality:You have been recognized by a member of their coaching staff. No mention of athletic scholarship money, but it may be a possibility. Be sure to fill out the player profile immediately and send it back along with a personalized thank-you note and a link to your NCSA Recruiting Profile. Keep the coaching staff updated on your schedule. Call and ask if the coach has seen your video yet. If so, request feedback and if not, remind him that they can view it through your Recruiting Profile.

4. “You have been identified as a potential recruit” Email:

Dear Kelli,

You have been identified as an athlete who may have the potential to contribute to our college program. We are interested in the possibility of you becoming a student-athlete at our school. If you are interested in being evaluated by our staff, please complete the enclosed questionnaire and send us your competition schedule so that we can arrange to evaluate you. Feel free to call our office with any questions or to request more information: 567-555-6767(O).

The Reality:Someone trusted has personally recommended you, or your athletic accomplishments have been documented and the coach is willing to give you a serious evaluation. He or she thinks you have potential. Return the profile and keep the coach updated on your schedule. You might also consider calling the coach to personally introduce yourself. The potential for scholarship money is unclear, but some type of financial aid cannot be ruled out. A lot depends on future evaluations. If you have video available, ask the if they would like to view your NCSA video.

5. “We are responding to your email and may be interested” Email:

Dear Allison,

I am very pleased to learn of your interest in our athletic program. Your athletic and academic accomplishments are quite impressive. We look forward to continuing correspondence this year and hope to evaluate you at various competitions. Please complete our questionnaire (see link) and send us a copy of your upcoming schedule.

The Reality:Notice that this coach did not provide a phone number or ask you to call him/her. The coach is responding to a contact you made and the good news is that you grabbed their attention. Effort is being made to evaluate you, so be sure to complete the questionnaire, send a schedule and keep in touch. Ask the coach if they have reviewed your video yet and if not, re-send the link to your NCSA Recruiting Profile.

6. “We are responding to your email and are probably not interested” Email:

Dear Pat,

Thank you for your interest in our college program. Our recruiting is on a national level and we are looking for talented students who can meet the high-level athletic and academic demands of a challenging program. Please complete the enclosed questionnaire and return it as soon as possible. Include a schedule of events where you will be competing. If you have video available you may send it to us at your convenience.

The Reality:The coach is responding to your contact, but has not seen you compete. The comment that the program’s recruiting is “on a national level” implies that the coach expects to recruit players who are at the very top of their graduating classes. While a schedule request and offer to view a video are encouraging, no actual commitment has been made to evaluate you in the future and the coach did not invite you to call. Pursue your interest in this school, but make sure to keep your options very open. If you have a video ready, re-send it to the coach.

7. “We are responding to your email and are not interested” Email:

Dear Tracy,

Thank you for your interest in our program. We feel that the history of our program is truly unique. We have produced thirteen All-Americans and have made ten NCAA tournament appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. If you continue to have an interest in our program, please complete the questionnaire on our website.

The Reality:
Your email did not make much of an impression. Nothing has been said about evaluating you in the future and the coach did not provide their phone number. They also did not give you detailed instructions for how to find their questionnaire. The intent of this letter may be to discourage you, but if you are still interested, fill out the questionnaire and keep in touch with the coaches. Write to other coaches who might make more of an effort to evaluate you. If your video is ready, re-send the link to the coach and ask for feedback.

8. “We are not interested” Email:

Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your email. We appreciate your interest, but want you to know that we only expect to add two athletes to our squad next year and we have already identified them. We wish you the best of luck in your college search.

The Reality:

It simply means, “Look somewhere else.” Although this is not the most positive response, it does let you know to move on and focus on other schools.

 

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