Throughout our history, NCSA Next College Student Athlete has established partnerships with some of the most reputable and respected athletic organizations in the world. We are proud to have world-class partners that share our core values and are united in our effort to put student-athletes on a path to college.
This month, NCSA became the official responsible recruiting service provider of USA Lacrosse.
USA Lacrosse is the fifth national governing body to name NCSA as their official responsible recruiting partner. USA Wrestling, USA Field Hockey, USA Track and Field and USA Volleyball all partner with NCSA to meet the recruiting education needs of their members.
The multi-year partnership will allow USA Lacrosse high school members to receive a free assessment from an NCSA recruiting specialist and have access to NCSA’s robust database of online resources and tools to help navigate the recruiting process.
Lacrosse is considered one of the fastest growing sports in the country according to a recent Sport & Fitness Industry Association report. And, a new Premier Lacrosse Outdoor League is scheduled to begin play next year with six teams.
“USA Lacrosse is the country’s premier authority in men’s and women’s lacrosse,” said NCSA President Lisa Strasman. “Today, there are hundreds of thousands of young men and women playing the sport in many different parts of the country. We are proud to partner with USA Lacrosse to help provide its high school members with the best tools and resources to navigate the recruiting process and, ultimately, help them find the school that’s the best fit academically and athletically.”
The partnership will enable USA Lacrosse to establish a scholarship program that will provide free recruiting services to selected student-athletes in financial need who also meet specific qualifications.
Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of USA Lacrosse, spoke with NCSA about the partnership and offered advice to high school student-athletes hoping to play lacrosse at the college level.
Q: When were you introduced to Lacrosse?
A: I picked up my first stick in third grade at St. Paul’s School, which has a long lacrosse tradition, and I played at the high school, college, club and professional levels.
Q: What was your college recruiting experience like?
A: I played back when player recruitment was far more casual than it is today. I received a few letters from coaches (probably because I was an average player), visited 6-8 colleges, and made my decision with no pressure…other than to get into a good school and get my college degree! I only applied to two schools – Hobart and North Carolina – was admitted to both…and chose North Carolina. The coach (Willie Scroggs) and the fact that Carolina had a great journalism school were the two primary reasons I decided to go there. At the time, North Carolina was not a powerhouse in college lacrosse.
Q: You’ve called early recruiting an ‘epidemic’ in lacrosse. Why was it important to change early recruiting rules and how have things improved since the NCAA’s decision?
A: I would argue that no 14 or 15-year-old is capable of making a thoughtful, informed decision about something so important to their future, yet that’s what was happening. Legislative reform was needed to re-prioritize what’s best for the student-athlete and his/her family and, quite frankly, restore some balance to the lives of coaches, whose commitment of time to recruiting athletes has become overwhelming given so the proliferation of “showcase” tournaments throughout the country.
Q: What advice would you give a lacrosse athlete who hopes to play at the college level?
A: I would encourage players and their parents to slow things down, don’t believe the hype, question everything and focus on what’s best for their child at the moment. Don’t get distracted by what may or may not happen in 4 or 5 years. Some of the most important factors that determine whether or not a young athlete don’t become clear until well into high school.
Q: What made NCSA stand out? Why choose NCSA as the official responsible recruiting services provider of USA Lacrosse?
A: It’s very important for us to build partnerships with best-practice companies and services that provide value to our members. With respect to NCSA, we were looking for an opportunity to increase member value for high school players and their families, reinforce the importance of delaying consideration of college opportunities until high school, and support the recent NCAA recruiting reforms that prohibit communication between college coaches and prospective student-athletes until September 1 of their junior year.
Q: What would you tell a parent or student-athlete about NCSA?
A: NCSA is a valuable resource for high school players who are interested in playing lacrosse at the next level.
Q: What do you look forward to most about working with NCSA?
A: The significant support that NCSA provides to families that could otherwise not afford the service was an important factor in our decision to partner with NCSA. Increasing access to the sport requires a concurrent increase in the accessibility of resources available to support athletes and their families.