Baseball football Recruiting is Like.. Special Contributors Sport Specific

Why I Chose to Play Division III Baseball Over Division I Football

baseball player slides into base after he chose to play division iii baseball

The following is a post by Ray Napientek, a head baseball recruiting coach at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. You can learn more about our baseball recruiting coaches and their stories here. Or if you’d prefer to start working with our scouts and coaches directly, get started with a recruiting profile.

I had the pleasure of being recruited to play both baseball and football. Back then, in the early 1990’s, all recruiting was done by mail and phone. I received tons of questionnaires and profiles from college football coaches from all over the country. Each day was exciting, wondering what Division I school was going to mail something to my high school. I’d anxiously fill out the questionnaire and return them as fast as possible. I’d then wait by the phone and hope one of them called.

My baseball recruiting was not as exciting.

I had interest from some local Division III schools. They all called me to talk to me personally. They did not send questionnaires. They did not ask me to attend their camps. These coaches were actually calling to get to know me. Each one had their own story on how they ended up at that school. Each had done their homework on my grades, ACT score and how I would fit into their program.

It felt a lot more personal than some letter in the mail.

This is where I started to realize the difference between my baseball and football recruiting. In the back of my mind, I thought how awesome it would be to walk on as a place kicker and kick the winning field goal to win our bowl game.

However, my gut feeling was telling me that these questionnaires and letters were only a way to get me to campus for a camp or to be cut after tryouts. Nothing seemed personal about these letters. After awhile, I knew these were just Xeroxed copies on a piece of paper.

This is when I started to realize that baseball was going to be my avenue to college sports.

As my high school baseball season started to come to an end I had received “offers” from several local Division III schools. These “offers” were financial packages detailing the scholarships and grants that I had qualified for at each institution. I talked to my parents and decided to take visits to these schools. I had to sit down with these coaches and get to know them better and get a feeling for the school overall.

I wanted to make sure the coach really wanted me to play for them. I did not want to be just another member on the team. I wanted to play.

“Don’t be just another member on the team. Go to a school where the coach wants you to play.” Tweet this! Tweet:

After all these visits I made my decision.

It wasn’t the cheapest school.

It wasn’t the school with the best tradition, although it was pretty close.

It was the school that made me feel most at home. It was the coach that made me feel as I was part of something special. It was the school that talked about how they were going to push me and give me the education I deserved. It was the school that felt right to me.

“Find the school where the coach makes you feel like you’re part of something special.” Tweet this! Tweet:

I know I made the right decision because I still feel connected to that school. I donate regularly. I attend alumni events. I still check the scores to see if they won. I am also still good friends with my former coach and still keep in contact with many players. I chose the school that was right for me.


Need more help understanding what opportunity to play your sport in college is right for you? Our scouts are here to talk you through your personal recruiting journey. Get started with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.