The NCAA recruitment process explained by student-athletes at American
Self-discipline, obsession, and a work ethic are what every student-athlete planning on doing NCAA sports have in common. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that provides nearly 500,000 student-athletes in the United States the ability to continue their sport beyond highschool and is even their possible gateway for a professional career in the sport they do. However, being able to do sports in college is not always as simple as one may think.
Uriel Rodriguez (12), an offensive tackle for American’s varsity football team, is City College of San Francisco committed and will be playing collegiate football; however, he didn’t originally plan on becoming a serious football player.
“I didn’t start taking football seriously until about after the sophomore year because I had [college] coaches emailing me and I was shocked because, before, playing college football never even crossed my mind and that’s when I started taking it seriously,” Rodriguez stated.
Jacob Carrasco (12) is also a varsity football player for American; however, he is also a varsity soccer player at American and plans on advancing himself collegiately with soccer.
“I thought of NCAA recruitment the day I entered high school. I knew going into high school was going to open many doors that would allow me to play at a higher level. I really want to take this sport to the next level because I found a passion in it; soccer is my stress-relief. I found out about recruitment from my highschool and from club coaches,” Carrasco stated.
Jacob Harper (12) plays for American’s varsity basketball team and has always been planning on doing NCAA basketball after highschool.
“I had always been thinking about playing in college, but reality hit me sophomore year. I thought if I did not get a Division [1 or 2] scholarship, then I failed. I realized there was more to the game than just playing and getting an offer. … I found out about NCAA recruitment by playing, researching it, and from my coaches helping me. In the summer, playing at team camps at colleges like Cal State East Bay and connecting with the coaches over there taught me a lot about recruiting,” Harper stated with great thought.
As much as one may want to do NCAA sports, not everyone knows exactly what it is; with time and some research, Rodriguez has picked up a useful amount of knowledge on the NCAA system.
“First, is D1; they have the most scholarship money to give and that’s why they have so many recruits. D2 is a little smaller and has less scholarship money. Then, there’s NAIA, [National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics]; it’s below Division 2 and not many people know about it. Last, is D3; they have no scholarship money at all,” Rodriguez stated.
Division 3 schools may not be able to provide student-athletes with any scholarship money, but this doesn’t mean D3 student-athletes aspiring to go pro are doomed, according to Carrasco.
“However, just because one joins a Division 3 team, this doesn’t mean that they cannot get recruited by a pro team. There’s been several players who have played JUCO, [junior college,] and have gotten to the higher levels,” Carrasco reassures.
As important as it may be to know what the NCAA is, knowing how to get recruited by the NCAA is even more important to student-athletes aspiring to take their sport to the next level; plenty of this valuable information can be explained by Rodriguez.
“I had one of my older friends, Davin Baker, help me with all my recruiting and everything I needed to know. … To get recruited, you have to put your name out there. Make a Twitter and start adding coaches on there and texting them. It’s the best thing you can do and anyone will tell you that. … To go D1, you must have a GPA of 2.5, but D1 schools won’t even look at you if you don’t have at least above a 3.0 and for D2 schools, it’s a 2.3 minimum. NAIA and D3 are above a 2.0 minimum,” Rodriguez helpfully talked about. “I’ve talked to many college coaches. … I have over 100 coaches following me and I’ve talked to all of them at least once and I have a scholarship from MidAmerica Nazarene University, Jamestown University, and Culver Stockton University, but I’m not taking any of them. I’m taking the JUCO, [junior college,] route.”
Learning about the NCAA recruitment process and trying to get recruited could get quite stressful; it is a patient process, which is explained by Carrasco.
“Make an NCAA profile and insert information where college coaches or scouts can know more about you. Getting recruited is not easy; it’s all about patience. You may make all the accounts and videos about yourself to get your name known, but sometimes it doesn’t work. A very good way to get known is having people help out to post your videos on social media, posters, and talking to people for info. Someone should not go through this alone,” Carrasco stated.
Every student-athlete trying to get recruited should know that as much as they do try to spread their name across social media, college coaches don’t just select randomly by luck, but by who the best of the best are; Harper is able to elaborate more on this topic.
“An athlete gets recruited by being good and having good grades; both are key to get recruited. You also need to be coachable and disciplined. Coaches are looking for the best of the best, so if you are not a top-ranked athlete, you need something to stand out to them. … Requirements as an athlete are simple: keep your grades up. Preferably, coaches are looking for a 3.0 GPA and above. You can contact coaches by emailing them your game film and highlights and maybe they reply back to you. If they reply, they may end up coming to watch one of your games. Sometimes, if you are really good, the coaches will find you without contacting them. … I had a couple colleges contact me, but it was only interest. Some of them were East Bay, Chico State, Golden West Junior College, and a couple others,” Harper remarked.
A big reality that most student-athletes planning on going into the NCAA should know is how much of a business recruiting really is, which can be explained by Rodriguez.
“One big reality of being recruited is that at the end of the day, it’s a business and you have to know that whatever a coach tells you, he’s most likely telling many other recruits the exact same thing. Once you make a decision, you have to know once you get a scholarship or a spot on any team, that doesn’t mean anything; you still have to compete for playing time and you have to compete for that starting position. Nothing is just given to you,” Rodriguez stressed.
Trying to get into the NCAA without any help is not the best idea because of how tough the recruitment process will be, which Carrasco is able to back up.
“Going into it alone with no information will not be easy. You can email coaches whenever you want and they may or may not respond. … Commitment expectations are high from college coaches. It is tough, but it is worth it. Most of [the recruitment process] has to be learned by oneself, but it is worth the process,” Carrasco explained.
At the end of the day, all student-athletes dreaming about going into the NCAA need to come back down to Earth and be real with themselves, according to Harper.
“Something they should know is they should shoot for their dreams and goals, but at the same time be real with yourself. Of course, have some sort of backup plan, but go 100% for your goal and dream. If you do that, you can be happy with wherever you end up. … Know that it will not be easy pursuing an athletic career or trying to get a scholarship. My advice would be to stay strong and keep going,” Harper expresses heartfeltly.