Do you have an athletic child? Would you like them to be recruited to college for sports and earn some scholarships? In this episode, college athletics expert Jon Fugler explains some of the ins and outs of the athletic portion of college planning.
Getting On Track
“The two biggest questions I get asked are about when and how,” describes Fugler.
Some important things to consider when pursuing an athletic scholarship:
- Take the initiative.
- “Coaches don’t just discover athletes,” explains Fugler. Parents have to market their child and seek out coaches.
- Start early, but junior year is the best.
- Apply to the college where the coach you want is at.
- Make sure you can actually attend that college with academics and test scores.
- Build relationships with 40-50 schools your sophomore year.
- You have to cast your net wide.
Full-ride sports, such as football or basketball, are more competitive. There are also partial scholarships available for most of the other sports.
Some people that can help you to figure out if your child has the ability to go to “the next level” are:
- High school coach.
- Club coach.
- These clubs travel and have the opportunity for your child to be seen by more people.
- Doesn’t mean that college coaches will see them play, you still have to invite them to come and watch.
- College coaches in the area.
“Coaches love it when athletes approach them,” states Fugler. It shows that you are interested in their program.
Fugler recommends doing the following when starting to consider college sports:
- Make a great first impression.
- Create an introductory package and then both mail and email this to the coaches.
- Do NOT fill out the college contact online form first.
- Reach out during sophomore year.
- Remember that you are also recruiting a school.
- There are no rules on you approaching schools or coaches.
- The school should have other features about it that are important to you.
- Attend camps put on by the colleges.
- These can get expensive.
- The coach often has athletes help to run these, so you can meet potential team mates.
Choosing a Program
“In most cases, athletic scholarship is a means to an end so that you can get your education and leverage that for your future,” says Fugler.
Think of more than just five schools. Fugler suggests to think of at least 40-50 schools and to send an intro packet to each of them.
Student athletes have strict rules. Coaches are very aware of what is allowed and the burden is on them.
Some rules to be informed about are:
- If you call and leave a message for a coach, they can’t call you back.
- If they are there when you call, then they can talk to you.
- Students have unlimited visits, but coaches cannot initiate these.
- More information is available at the NCAA website.
There are so many intangible benefits from participating in sports. Even if a student is not pursing this as a career, a lot can be gained from participating. Students might even go on to be coaches themselves, coach sports for their future children, or do something else within the sport.
Division 1 is the most demanding with a very high commitment level. After 1 or 2 years, most athletes are done.
“Go in there to enjoy it. Go in there to learn things outside the sport as well,” notes Fugler.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
- Parent guide to athletic scholarships is completely free to download.
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