The recruiting process can be one of the most exciting yet frustrating experiences a student-athlete and their family can go through. It can be an emotional roller coaster. In the details below we have aimed to provide parents and players with informational resources to help them understand and navigate the recruiting process.
Always remember that YOU OWN YOUR RECRUITING PROCESS. It is no one else’s job to get you recruited. It is your job to research schools, camps, academic requirements (SAT/ACT testing dates and core class requirements), etc. It is also your job to reach out to schools expressing your interest and keeping them up to date on your tournament schedule and camps you are attending. Your club coaches and recruiting directors are valuable resources but, it is not their job to get you recruited. It is your process and something you are responsible for.
- One of the most important steps in the recruiting process is asking yourself if you are ready and willing to take on the commitment of playing college lacrosse. Parents: have a conversation with your son or daughter to make sure they are interested in exploring playing college lacrosse. It is a serious commitment and demand on the athlete's time and collegiate experience. Therefore, it will require significant research such that the athlete and their family can make an informed decision about whether lacrosse should be a part of their college experience.
- If you decide that you want to explore playing college lacrosse, there are a few steps to take that can help you in accomplishing that goal. It is important to develop a list of 15-20 schools that you may be interested in. The larger your list of schools, the more likely it is that you will be able to find a place where you can excel academically, athletically, and socially. Talk to your coaches and get feedback on what they believe is a realistic level for you to target (D1, D2, D3) The top D1 programs are all highly sought after and are very difficult to get the attention of those coaches. There are great options at all levels including Division 2 or 3, which can be just as rewarding and at times a much more enjoyable experience, so make sure to include these schools in your search. It is also very important that you consider schools that you would be happy at if lacrosse was no longer an option. You should be choosing a school for many reasons with lacrosse being a piece of that puzzle but not the only piece.
- After assembling a target list of schools you may be interested in, continue with your research on the school and the lacrosse program. Most schools have a website where you can complete their recruiting questionnaire. This will allow you to be included in their database to receive important information about upcoming camps and clinics.
- Develop your own database (i.e. an excel sheet) to track communication with schools you are interested in. In late May, for the summer recruiting period, and October for the fall recruiting period, you should begin sending coaches a personal email with a link to your recruiting profile, a schedule of where they can see you play at that season's tournaments, and a highlight video, if available.
- Keep coaches informed. If you sent an email to them before your spring season, follow up at the end of your season with updates on your progress. You should be reaching out to coaches before any camps or tournaments you attend to let them know you will be there. Be proactive and don’t just wait for coaches to find you.
The Recruiting Timeline
- In April 2017, the NCAA passed new legislation that prevents college coaches from contacting recruits in any way before September 1st of their junior year. The rule also states that college coaches cannot circumvent these rules by communicating with a club or high school coach. Any communication between an NCAA coach and a club or high school coach about a prospective student athlete could be considered an NCAA recruiting violation. The new rule also states that college coaches cannot accept a phone call or set up an unofficial visit before September 1st of their junior year. College coaches will begin watching prospective student athlete's in the fall/summer leading up to September 1st of their junior year so they are prepared to recruit when the time arrives but they cannot communicate with you before September 1st of the player's junior year.
Recruiting Camps/Prospect Days
- Attending individual recruiting camps/prospect days is another important part of the recruiting process and may help a student-athlete draw attention or interest from schools that may not have seen them play with a club team at a tournament. There are a ton of camps and showcases out there and you can spend a lot of time and money trying to attend them all. If you are going to attend a camp or showcase, make sure you are doing enough research to determine if it is a quality event and what coaches will be attending.
- The NCAA strictly limits the number of scholarships that each school can distribute. Each Division 1 lacrosse program has 12.6 scholarships for men and 12 for women. In Division 2 there are 10.8 scholarships for men and 9.9 for women. Unlike football, lacrosse is a NCAA equivalency sport, which means the scholarships can be spread among many players. A fully funded Division 1 lacrosse program has 12.6 scholarships to spread across as roster of about 45 players. Typically, a coach divides the scholarship allotment into several partial scholarships as opposed to giving only a few athletes full scholarships.
- It is very difficult and rare for a coach to offer many “full rides.” What also may happen is that an upperclassman may have his or her scholarship amount increased in an effort to retain that player or reward that player for his contributions to the program. A quarter scholarship may be improved to a half scholarship which means the “extra” scholarship money has to come from another athlete.
- As a result, thousands of outstanding high school athletes are never offered even partial scholarships. Keep in mind that scholarship awards are on a year-to-year basis. While a coach cannot guarantee you will receive the same award in future years, it is normal practice that it will be renewed at the same level.
- Even if you are fortunate enough to get all or some of your tuition paid by an athletic scholarship, you may still have other significant costs like room and board, books, entertainment, and transportation to and from school. Though other forms of financial aid are available, D-III and D-I Ivy League schools do not offer any athletic scholarships. Military academies like Air Force, West Point, Navy, and the Coast Guard are tuition-free; however, admission requires a congressional recommendation and service requirements.
Useful NCAA Links:
This site is dedicated to helping you understand the balance between academics and sports required of every student-athlete for a successful life in school and out.
NCAA Eligibility Center
An excellent interactive resource for prospective student-athletes.