While texting has become a favorite means of communication in daily life, it only recently became an acceptable way for college coaches and recruits to correspond in all sports. There has been a lot of ambiguity around texting college coaches in recruiting, with many athletes asking: “Can college coaches text recruits? The answer: Yes, they can! Now, college coaches can send unlimited texts to recruits starting either June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year (check your sport in the NCAA recruiting calendar to find the exact date when you can start receiving electronic communications from college coaches).
Texting college coaches is a great way to build relationships and get to know a coach in a more informal setting. Usually, texting will start further along in the recruiting process, after the first or second email, and often after your first call with the coach. College coaches don’t give out their phone number to every recruit, so take that as a good sign you are getting recruited by that coach.
While texting college coaches may be a convenient—and more casual—way to interact, a few misplaced texts could damage your prospects. Even though you’ve progressed far enough in your recruiting to get to this point, you are still a recruit, and the coach is still evaluating you. Don’t be lazy in your texts to a college coach, and if you’re not sure a text is appropriate, ask your current coach or parents to give a read before you send it.
As of April 2016, the NCAA Division I Council deregulated texting for some of the last remaining sports under the ban, including football, cross country, track & field, swimming, and diving. This means that for every sport, texting falls under the umbrella of digital communications, alongside social media direct messages, emails and faxes. For most sports, D1 coaches can send you unlimited texts starting June 15 after your sophomore year of high school or September 1 of your junior year.
If you’re diligently looking at the NCAA recruiting rules, you may notice that for DI football and a few other sports, texting is not listed as an acceptable form of digital communications. Rest assured, college coaches can text you at that time. The recruiting rules do state that coaches can only correspond with recruits through a private means of communication. In other words, coaches aren’t allowed to post on your Facebook or Twitter feed or engage with you in online discussion forums. Texting, email and fax are all private digital forms of communication and are accepted!
Coach April Hall, who has coached volleyball at the NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III level, explains a key part of texting college coaches: Showing your character in texts is more important than stats. The coach is going to look up your stats or ask questions if they want to know. Focus on showing the coach you care about playing for them.
Coach Hall recommends that, when texting college coaches, you start out your text with something about the coach or the coach’s team. Show the coach you’ve done your research and then say something about you. A few ways to kick off your text to a coach:
Close out your text with something about you. You can tell them about a big win, or invite them to watch you compete. Here are a few text examples:
Hey Coach, good luck Saturday! I’m looking forward to watching the game. I’m getting ready for a big game this weekend too! We have been practicing hard this week and are playing better than ever. Thanks, Jane Doe
Hey Coach, I saw that XYZ University just got an award for the most beautiful campus in Ohio! I’ve seen pictures, but I’d love to visit this fall. My dad and I are looking at Oct. 30. Would you be free to meet that day? Thanks, John Doe
Hey Coach, Thanks for watching my highlight film! I have a tournament coming up April 13 [link to tournament site.] I’ll be playing my first game at 1p.m. Would love to see you there! Thanks, Jane Doe
While you may be used to firing off texts to your friends, it pays to take a second or third look over your text to a college coach. Double check each of the following before you hit the send button:
Just like with other types of coach communications, your texts need to be positive, well-thought out and show the coach that you’re interested in their program. The more you can personalize your message, the more the coach will see that you care about their school, and the more they’ll be interested in you.