It is flattering when your athlete-child is being wooed by grown men or women telling them they are “the next best…” But the recruiting game is brutal, and if parents aren’t diligent, they and their children could be “victimized” in its wake.
The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or theirparents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests.”
Coaches can, if your child is a ninth- or tenth-grader, send athletic or sports camp brochures, NCAA information, accept your phone calls at your expense, but they can’t call you back if you leave a message. Coaches can’t call you or send any written recruiting information.
But once your child becomes a junior, beginning September 1, coaches are allowed to send information, personalized letters and emails about their program and their school. They are permitted only to call once per week, but you can call them as much as you like. Beginning in your child’s senior year, both of you can make up to five paid official campus visits — each visit no longer than 48 hours — but only after the prospective school has your child’s official SAT or ACT score results and official high school transcript. Nonetheless, college recruiting can be brutal.
“[If] the parents don’t have the knowledge or the education in terms of the recruiting process, then it’s like open season — like sharks in the water,” states former Washburn football coach Giovan Jenkins. “I think parents should be aware of people who are trying to steer a kid to a certain school.”
Indiana University Education Instructor Johari Shuck, who is finishing up her Ph.D. in education, regularly talks to athletes and parents on recruiting, especially to “educate the younger athlete. There are not a lot of people who know about [college] athletics that can get them through the process,” believes Shuck.
Curtis Johnson’s son Jarvis, a DeLaSalle senior, signed a letter of intent to play for the Gophers next season. Curtis told the MSR about the recruiting “hassle.”
“They [coaches] have no respect of time,” he recalled, adding that at least “10 to 15” coaches constantly called his son. “Some colleges were more aggressive [than others].
“It got worse as he was about to sign” leading up to last November’s signing period, continued Curtis. “An assistant coach would call or text Jarvis. Then he would call me if [his son] didn’t answer his phone. I thought that was no class.”
One coach used Facebook in recruiting Jarvis: “He wasn’t trying to ‘friend’ me but to get at [his son]. So I un-friend him.”
Asked why Minnesota was right, Curtis said, “I think being at home around the family. His official visit was really nice. He didn’t make up his mind until that,” said Curtis. [Jarvis] also liked Gopher Assistant Coach Ben Johnson, he pointed out.
“It’s not about…the school your kid wants to go to,” explained Shuck. “You have to consider the school, its reputation, and [how] they support Black kids, because when your child is not on the court or on the field, he is just another Black student and is treated like everyone else in that community.
“[Check] how the athletic department really supports the goals of [the child] outside of sports. The parent needs to think about [that],” said Shuck.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.