“Jeremiah 29:11 is the scripture I am looking to in all of this,” said college basketball player Aubrey Minix. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Aubrey has transferred from D1 to D2.
“I never thought it would go this way,” she told me, “but it is what it is…”
She was one of the best shooters in basketball mad Indiana. She was all-state at Oregon-Davis High School and helped the Bobcats claim the Indiana Class 1-A state championship in 2007. Aubrey set a state record for three-pointers and was the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,606 points. Incapable of burning out on the sport, she grew up shooting 1000 shots every day, doing High School and AAU, and doing personal training. When she got an offer from D1 Murray State she accepted a full athletic scholarship. Aubrey red shirted her first year and played in just five games this past season, scoring one basket. She decided to transfer to Division Two University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN.
“I want to play,” Aubrey told me. “The Coach here at Murray State didn’t think I could play with a foot injury (originally suffered in High School) so I got my release and looked at a lot of D2’s. To go D1 I would have had to sit out a year and I didn’t want to do that again. USI plays in a Conference that has many D1 caliber players.”
When an athlete transfers from D1 to a lower level, they can be eligible the next season, so she will have three seasons left.
There are D1 type players at practically every level of College Sports, especially D2 and high NAIA. When I spoke at a big Club Volleyball event, a Grand Valley State (D2) Volleyball coach told me he often gets calls from Club Volleyball Coaches saying “they have a great D2 prospect for him.” He quickly asks if the girl can play D1 because at Grand Valley they recruit against D1’s like Western Michigan and Ball State for recruits. He said 95% of families have never been to D2 Volleyball matches and generally don’t understand how competitive it is.
I spoke at the Goshen (IN) Noon Kiwanis Club to educate their members about scholarship opportunities. Goshen College (NAIA) Athletic Director Tim Demant is a member of the Club and heard my presentation. We talked afterwards.
“Every athlete has these D1 dreams,” said Demant,” and many are good enough to be on a D1 team but a lot get there and not get a lot of playing time. You then see them transfer to a D2, NAIA or D3. Two big reasons are the playing time and also you hear them speak of “being owned” at that level. One athlete talked about having to practice on Thanksgiving Day at the her D1 school and not being able to get home to family.”
“We see it a lot in baseball,” added Demant. “We put offers out and the players think this magical D1 offer is coming. We tell them in a nice way that if they have not received a D1 baseball offer by the start of their senior season they are probably not going to get an offer of their liking at that level. Many families don’t realize that their athletes can get a pretty good package at the NAIA level of a combination of scholarships that will rival D1 scholarships.”
Aubrey had several reasons for transferring after two years at Murray State (which is in Kentucky). “All of the coaches at the University of Southern Indiana went there to USI,” said Aubrey. “They are invested. They are there for a reason. They like it and there is a real family atmosphere there. The team chemistry at Murray didn’t help. There was a lot of animosity and it showed in our records. I never lost that much in my life (they were 9-21 this past season).”
She is giving up a full athletic scholarship at D1 but still doing well. “For me, I am getting a full ride here,” said Aubrey. “At D1 they have up to 15 full scholarships. At D2 in basketball there are 10 total. USI has five returning players and seven coming in prior to me but several of those are on academic money (D2 mixes scholarships). Basically, the scholarship I have here is what I had at D1 Murray State.”
Transferring is never what an athlete sets out to do, but it can often be fairly painless. Her coach at Murray State, Rob Cross, was very complimentary of her in remarks to the Murray Ledger and Times newspaper.
“I’m happy she’s getting to continue her education and play basketball at Southern Indiana,” Cross said. “I wish things had worked out better for her here. I have a lot of respect for her and think she’ll do good things.
“Most of the teams in that league have three or four Division I transfers on their rosters. I think it will be good for her and good for them.”
Absolutely. There are D2 programs that can beat lower level D1’s. There are good players at every level of college sports.
At every High School I speak at, I arrive early to ask the Athletic Directors what are the major challenges they face with families regarding recruiting. In virtually every case, the number one thing they bring up is that many of their families and athletes have unrealistic expectations of where they can play at the college level.
LaPorte High A.D. Ed Gilliland told me that he often see’s cases where an athlete may be “LaPorte good” but that doesn’t mean it will transfer to “D1 good” at the next level. Families and athletes often fall into the trip of being a big fish at a little pond and not realizing there are a lot of other really good fish out there.
As NCSA Recruiting Experts and Educational Speakers, we go all over the country and see the talent out there. I spoke at a Schuman NUC Football Combine in the Norfolk, VA area. There were some REALLY good players there. A few weeks later I spoke at the Schuman NUC in Indianapolis. I told the families about those good players in Virginia and in many cases they are competing against them for scholarships, not just the kids in their conference or state.
Shelbie Jones was a standout pitcher for Mishawaka High School. As a junior she threw five no hitters and three one hitters at the 4A level of High School sports, winning a school record twenty two games at Mishawaka High. She signed to play at the high NAIA level with Marian University in Indianapolis. She is a tremendous pitcher, and it just goes to show that there is talent at all levels of college sports.
Ben Davis is a massive High School in Indianapolis that produces many college athletes every year. A good chunk go D1 but also to other levels. Courtney Clark, a pitcher and third baseman, is playing for Ancilla College, a Junior College. Clark hit .427 as an eleventh grader.
It wasn’t unrealistic for Aubrey Minix to shoot for mid level D1 coming out of tiny Oregon-Davis High. She had the credentials. Her opinion of how much she should play and her Murray State coaches decision of playing time were different, and she made the decision to move on. She has invested so much in developing her remarkable basketball skills that she wants to be out there on the court. She has three precious years remaining so she wants to make the most of it while finishing her degree in Education. In her research on D2 she learned that it is very competitive. I would say that more than 80% of the High School athletes I speak to at High School Talks are not capable of playing at the D2 level in College. It is probably closer to 90% that wouldn’t be able to play D2, but a lot of them think they are D1.
It is CRITICAL families get a realistic evaluation of where they will fit best as a college student-athlete. This evaluation should be done early. It can change as the athlete physically matures, but a properly done evaluation can lead to a fulfilling college career where the athlete does not have to interrupt their college experience by transferring.
Send me an email with a description of your athletic and academic accomplishments and I will make sure you get an Evaluation with a Senior College Scout at NCSA. firstname.lastname@example.org is the email.
Charlie Adams, NCSA Recruiting Expert/Senior Educational Speaker