Athletic Scholarship FAQs

How athletically competitive is the Ivy League?

It is competitive. You have high caliber athletes who are strong both academically and athletically. There may not be as much depth top to bottom on the roster, but Ivy League schools compete well against top athletic programs. You’ll meet and compete with standouts for any level in the Ivy League.

What are "Bands" in the Academic Index during Ivy League Recruiting?

Bands are like levels of academic excellence for student athletes in Ivy League recruitment. It was created to reflect the academic standards of the university. The highest band schools are Harvard, Princeton and Yale. It is best to be closer to an academic index of 240 because it gives you more options to play at any school within the Ivy League. If you’re in the 185 range and lower, you can’t move up and you’ll only be allowed to play in a certain pool of Ivy League schools.

What are the lowest scores I can have for the academic index?

A 3.5 GPA, a 27 on the ACT or 1200 on your SAT scores are the average for the Ivy League academic index. The lowest tends to be a 3.0 GPA, a 26 on the ACT or 1100 SATs. If any lower, you usually don’t get admitted to an Ivy League school.

What is the likely letter from the Ivy League schools?

It’s a great sign. A likely letter is from the admissions department when the school wants to offer admission contingent on final acceptance. This comes after you've worked with the coach, committed to a school and the coach has informed the admissions department about you.

What is the academic index for the Ivy League?

The academic index is used to evaluate your academic standing. Two-thirds of the index is your standardized test (ACT/SAT) scores and one-third is your GPA. The maximum score is 240 and the minimum to play at the Ivy League level is a academic index score of 176

What is the recruiting timeline for Ivy League schools?

Academics come first. Ivy League schools tend to reach out a little bit before your Junior and during your Senior year. They’re usually waiting for Division I caliber and academically strong student athletes to consider their programs first.

What scholarship opportunities are available in the Ivy League?

Ivy League schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, but they do offer need based financial aid. They’ll determine your needs based on your family earnings and assets. If its under 75,000 dollars, there’s a chance you’ll earn full aid for school. After that amount, usually what you pay will be based on incremental scale. Each school has a different range for need based financial aid. Your academics also play a huge role.

Is club or high school more important in recruiting?

It's important to do well both in the classroom and on the field with your high school team. Nowadays, exposure and showcasing your talent in competitive leagues is very important. College coaches want to see you develop and stay competitive throughout the year. For sports like volleyball, softball, basketball, soccer and baseball it is definitely worth joining a club or travel team could be beneficial.

What is the NAIA?

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is the legislator for sports for over 300 college programs. The programs are usually smaller and tend to have a religious affiliation. The level of play is similar to Division II.

What is the NCAA?

The NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. They oversee the rules and regulations for 1,200 Division I, II and III athletic programs.

What is the NJCAA?

The NJCAA stands for National Junior College Athletic Association. They are the governing body for over 513 junior and community college programs in 15 different sports. Most programs are two year programs and offer transferable credits.

Is there a different application process for athletes?

You still have to apply to the university. Coaches will usually ask you to send them your application directly so that they can send it into admissions. Athletics can be a great door to fulfilling academic enrichment.

What is the #1 mistake in recruiting?

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Schedule a M.A.P. session to get an evaluation, learn about the recruitment process and develop a strategic plan to get to the next level. Ninety-two percent of the families who work with an NCSA scout expert and execute their M.A.P. will end up on a collegiate roster. That’s compared to five percent success when you don’t have the plan. Start with reviewing NCAA rules/course requirements, develop a list of 50-100 realistic prospective schools, set goals and responsibilities.

How early can Division III coaches contact a student?

Division III coaches can send material or make calls at anytime. Off-campus visits with you and your parents from coaches start after your Junior year.

How early can Division II coaches contact a student?

They can send you information materials and may start to call as soon as September 1st of your Junior year. They can call once-per-week starting June 15th between your Junior and Senior years. Coaches make off-campus visits with families after June 15th after your Junior year.

How early can a Division I coach contact a student?

Due to NCAA rules, most DI coaches can’t call you until September 1st of your Junior year. For Men’s basketball and Men’s hockey, they can contact you on June 15th of your Sophomore year. You can still be proactive by calling, emailing and sending DI coaches letters, they just can’t call back if its before the mentioned dates. They can send generic information to you at an anytime.

Why are scouting evaluations are so important?

There are over 7 million high school athletes. College coaches now rely on NCSA scouting experts to evaluate, interview and screen student athletics. NCSA helps identify which students to offer scholarships and ensure your information is being sent to coaches. For many parents and student athletes it’s important to ask five questions when you begin the recruiting process. Do we have a detailed recruit action plan? Do we have a timeline of the recruitment process? Does the student athlete have a proper highlight/skills tape? Do we have a sure way of making sure coaches see the video? Do we know which coaches are recruiting for my position? If you answer no to any of these questions, consider scheduling a visit with NCSA.

How many official visits can I take?

You can only make 5 official visits. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the athletic and academic programs. Do your research and stay organized. You want to have a top list of schools because you only get five official visits. Its up to you on how many you want to make. Remember to communicate with your high school coaches about these visits so that it doesn’t conflict with your season schedule. You can make unlimited amount of unofficial visits.

What is my high school coach's responsibility in recruiting?

Respect your high school coaches. A close relationship with your high school coaches can be beneficial in earning your spot at the next level. They can become one of your greatest advocates when college coaches ask about you both on and off the field. College coaches will visit your high school and talk to your high school coaches to verify information about your character, leadership, work ethic and skills. They can also provide college coaches with your grades, test scores and a tape of your highlights.

What is an official visit?

An official visit is when the university or college pays for your visit. It includes transportation, lodging, game tickets and meals. This is a great sign because it means the university and coaches are seriously interested in you. Remember that you are only allowed 5 official visits. An unofficial visit is different because you have to pay for all your expenses.

Where should I post my recruiting resume?

The key is to make it easy for coaches to find you. Do it by putting your recruiting resume online. Your recruiting resume should include highlights of your best plays, skills tapes, statistics on your skills and evidence you can play at the collegiate level. Coaches are looking at skills, qualifications and leadership qualities when they look at your recruiting resume.

How do coaches get a hold of my test scores?

You cannot go on an official visit without sending your test scores to either the Eligibility Center or directly to the school. Be prepared and bring your transcript and scores with you when you visit colleges. It’s important for coaches to know you qualify academically.

How long should my highlight video be?

This is critical. The goal of your highlight tape is to make a great impression. Make sure your best five plays are at beginning of the tape. Coaches don’t have the time to watch the whole tape most of the time. It doesn’t have to be in chronological order, but it should be done professionally.

Multiple coaches have contacted me, am I being recruited?

Everything a coach says and does means something. If you receive camp brochures or a questionnaire, it means you’re on the coach’s radar. Fill out all questionnaires. If you start receiving hand written letters or a phone call, it means more, especially during your Sophomore and Junior years. Pay attention to how the coach contacts you.

What is the difference between a recruit and prospect?

Prospects have potential to become a recruit. You become a recruit when coaches start sending you questionnaires, letters or they start calling you.

When does the recruiting process begin?

Recruiting starts as early as you get evaluated. In some sports, it starts in the 7th and 8th grades. It could be before entering high school, a student athlete is already a prospect. The process starts early.

Does it matter if I am a one sport or multi sport athlete?

Multi sport athletes beware. Earning good grades and not wearing yourself down are important. If you are a multi sport athlete in high school, time management is key and if you see that it’s hard to manage more than one sport it maybe time to re-evaluate your priorities. Remember that certain sports may require year around club teams to gain exposure, sports like volleyball, baseball, basketball and soccer. When thinking about whether to play one or multiple sports, think about which sport benefits you the most to play at the next level and which schools offer the program best for you.

How many college coaches should I be connecting with?

This is one of the most important parts of the recruitment process. Building the relationship with coaches by making a phone call, sending an email or letter are critical. You want to aim to contact 50-100 college coaches by Freshmen year. There are restrictions for coaches, but you can be proactive in contacting them and showing them your level of interest in their program.

How important are academics?

There are seven million student athletes and less than 150,000 get to play each year at the collegiate level. Earning good grades and fulfilling the 16 core course requirements will be key in making you a qualified stand out recruit. Academics are important because if there aren’t any athletic scholarships, good grades could help you earn an academic scholarship.

Should I fill out all questionnaires I receive?

Yes. Filling out questionnaires is the first way you can develop a relationship with the coach. If they take the time to send it, you should take the time to show you’re interested and fill it out. This is a great way to gain exposure, get your name in the college coach’s databases, keep all options open and to stay realistic about playing at the collegiate level.

Can a college coach rescind a signed National Letter of Intent?

Once the student athlete and the parent sign the National Letter of Intent with a college/university, it becomes a one-year binding contract with the college or university. Make sure you sign the agreement with the school. If a coach tries to rescind the agreement, there is an appeals process. If a student athlete tries to leave the agreement, he or she will have to be prepared to sit out a year.

What are the NCAA rules on text messaging?

The rules are simple. Division I and II coaches cannot coaches cannot text message student athletes. However, starting June 15, 2012, DI and DII Men’s Basketball coaches can text message student athletes. DIII, NAIA and Junior College coaches can text at anytime.

What is the dead period?

The dead period is when there are no official or unofficial visits allowed. Its part of the NCAA rules to restrict recruiting. This period is usually around the winter holidays, signing days or coaches conference event dates. This is a good time for you to continue to research programs on your own.

What is the quiet period?

The quiet period is when recruitment slows down. College coaches can’t come to your campus to visit to evaluate. During the quiet period, you can still be proactive by calling them and making unofficial visits.

What is a National Letter of Intent?

The National Letter of Intent is a contract between the student athlete and the university or college for one year to participate in the athletic program. Student athletes sign the National Letter of Intent during signing periods.

What if I decide not to go to the school after signing the Letter of Intent?

The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement and acts just like a contract. It is a binding agreement with the school. If you decide you don’t want to go to the school or want to sign with another school, remember there are conference rules that will include paying a penalty and losing a year of eligibility.

Do I really need to register with the NCAA eligibility center?

It is a requirement for Division I and II to register with the eligibility center. Student athletes must complete the core courses, transcripts must be sent from high school as soon as you completed six semesters of high schools, and testing agencies need to send scores directly to the center.

What is the eligibility center?

The Eligibility Center, also know as the Clearing House, determines whether a student is eligible to compete as a Freshmen at the Division I, I AA Football, II levels. It verifies the athletes core classes, ACT/SAT test scores, amateurism and core GPA.

When and how do I register with the eligibility center?

Register with the Eligibility Center before your first official visit, usually the summer after your Junior year. You can register at and it's a 90 dollar fee. There are two forms you need, authorization for high schools to send transcripts and authorization of the center to send your eligibility to colleges.

Should I be attending camps and showcases to get recruited?

Does this camp or combine work with college coaches? If they do, how do they get the information to coaches? When they do, is it successful? These are the types of questions to ask before signing up for a camp, combine or showcase. Private camps and combines tend to be better than the camps run by college coaches for the recruitment process. The private camps and combines usually have more tests and can measure you up against top athletes, whereas the camps put on by college coaches are just running drills. Research camps and keep in mind what might be the best for you to get discovered.

Can I still be recruited if I’m home schooled?

Home - schooled athletes have to be very proactive in the recruitment process. The first thing is to find a team. Athletes can do this by joining a club team, going to camps or going to a school district team. To play for a school district team, you will need to find out the rules to play. Academic and athletic resumes online are keys to gaining exposure and contacting college coaches.

How do you get on a coach’s recruiting list?

The recruitment process starts early nowadays. Create your profile online showing your academic and athletic profile. Attending combines are great to gain more exposure and develop your skills. Reach out to coaches and find who is responsible for the recruitment process at schools your interested in. Don’t wait until you’re a Junior in high school.

How should I dress for a college visit?

The key is to make a good impression and dress appropriately. For male athletes, wear a nice pair of jeans or khakis and collared shirt. For female athletes, don’t wear anything that brings a lot of attention and you can use your high school dress code as a guideline. No jewelry and if you wear a hat, wear it forward. Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and ask, if I were a college coach, am I appropriately dressed?

How do I overcome a lack of exposure?

The symptom of lack of exposure is when fellow student athletes around you are starting to receive recruitment calls and you aren’t. It’s time to be proactive. Reach out to college coaches, make a highlight tape, continue to update your athletic profile and academic resume online. To gain more exposure as a student athlete, use the internet to get your name out there, call coaches, send out your tape and make visits.

What is grey shirting?

A grey shirt is someone who signs their national letter of intent in midseason, but doesn’t report until later. Usually common for football and don’t have a scholarship ready for that season. Reporting late in January doesn’t start the five year clock to the next season.

What is green shirting?

Green shirting is usually for student athletes who enroll in college early. They graduate from high school in their first semester and in the second semester go to college. Student athletes who want to get used to their athletic program and going to classes will green shirt. It is pretty common for athletes who play a Fall sport.

What is a verbal commitment?

Coaches are recruiting as early as Freshmen and Sophomore years. A verbal commitment, usually around your Sophomore or Junior year, is a verbal agreement to sign your national letter of intent with a school. However, the agreement is not binding until you officially sign your national letter of intent.

Does every division level offer athletic scholarships?

Every division and each level is different in how financial aid is offered. Division I men’s and women’s basketball, football, hockey for example do offer scholarships. Division III and Ivy League do not offer athletic scholarships, but they do offer need based financial aid. Division I AA Patriot League also offers financial aid.

How do coaches use junior days?

On your Junior day, everything you do is being evaluated by the coach. Be direct, look the coach in the eye, dress appropriately and be respectful. They‘re watching everything from how you walk into the room to your handshake to how you’re dressed.

How long should I wait to follow up with a coach after I’ve already contacted them?

Depending on the sport and the rules, coaches may or may not respond. Up until Junior year, its mostly up to you to follow up with coaches due to certain rules. But you can still be proactive in reaching out to coaches, recruiting assistants and assistant coaches. When you speak with them, they’ll give you a good idea when you can follow-up with them.

Is senior year too late to be recruited?

Senior year is not too late. But if you are a Senior and haven’t been recruited yet, its key to have the sense of urgency. Prepare your player profile and be proactive in reaching out to coaches.

What is a highlight video?

If it is a highlight video of your games, make sure the first five plays are the best plays. If you’re a golfer, individual sport athlete, quarterback or pitcher, make a skills tape showcasing your technique. Coaches use videos to evaluate whether they would like to come see you in person. This is an introduction tool to get them to want to learn more about you.

At what division level can I compete?

Keep your options open at every level. You can’t play in a division until you’re enrolled at a school. Be proactive by starting early in researching programs, calling coaches and get an objective evaluation of your skills. Evaluations help you learn about competition at the different division levels and learn about which programs might be best for you. These steps will help you build your plan to achieve best rate of success at the collegiate level. Call NCSA to get an objective evaluation and to develop a plan for success.

What is Junior Day?

This is an evaluation day. If you’re invited you should definitely go. This is an unofficial visit that usually happens around your Junior year. Some Junior days will be a personalized unofficial visit. There might be Sophomores there too, but remember you are being evaluated on how you carry yourself.

What is a game day visit?

It’s a chance to make a good first impression. This is when coaches invite you to a game. If you bring a guest with you, make sure its people who have been influential in your development as a student athlete like your parents. You may not be able to have much one-on-one time with coaches, but if you have a chance, remember to ask questions, check out the facilities and make observations about the program. Send coaches a follow-up thank you email or letter.

How long should I wait to accept an offer?

Be honest with coaches. If they haven’t quite made the offer you’re looking for, communicate with them. Tell them what is going on and help them understand your goals. Talk to your family, talk to your counselors, do your research on the school’s academic and athletic programs. It’s important to keep in touch with coaches and ask questions. If you receive an offer from a school you want to go to, sign on.

Is Junior College a Good Option?

Junior College is a good option to develop physically, mentally, socially and academically. Junior college programs give you another chance to be recruited. And remember to take classes that are transferrable to schools that can help you earn your degree when you transfer.

How Should I Dress For A College Visit?

The key is to make a good impression and dress appropriately. For male athletes, wear a nice pair of jeans or khakis and collared shirt. For female athletes, don’t wear anything that brings a lot of attention and you can use your high school dress code as a guideline. No jewelry and if you wear a hat, wear it forward. Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and ask, if I were a college coach, am I appropriately dressed?

How involved should parents be in the recruiting process?

College coaches want to know if the student athlete can communicate and make it at the collegiate level. It is important for the student athlete to take ownership of the recruitment process by building the relationship with the coach. Parents should be involved in the beginning to guide their son or daughter but beware of a “We” dad or a “We” mom. This is when the parent is overbearing in the process and the coaches never get to talk to the student athlete.

How Do College Coaches Find Out About Recruits?

Technology, highlight/skills tapes and third party scouts are key for coaches to find out about recruits. Create your player profile with your academic and athletic information. The internet is a powerful tool used by coaches to learn about you. Send coaches a link to your highlights/skills tape. Be proactive in sending letters, emails and making phone calls.  You want to make it as easy as possible for college coaches to find your player profile.

What qualities do coaches look for when evaluating a prospect?

Recruits and prospects are different. A recruit is a student athlete who coaches are contacting. A prospect is a student athlete coaches identify as having potential to become a recruit. Three things coaches are looking for in a prospect: talent, character and academics. Talent can be evaluated by looking at your highlight or skills tape. Social media is a powerful tool for coaches to evaluate character. Be careful of photos, pictures, videos and groups you post on your Facebook or YouTube accounts. Coaches are paying attention. Your grades matter, you have to qualify for admission standards and take every year of high school seriously. If you have struggled in the past with grades, take the initiative to take summer classes to improve your GPA.

What is Red Shirting?

You are on the roster and you can practice on the squad. You cannot play in games. Usually used your Freshmen year or if you have an injury to preserve a year of eligibility

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