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Recruiting (athletics)

Recruiting (athletics)

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In college athletics
College athletics
College athletics refers primarily to sports and athletic competition organized and funded by institutions of tertiary education . In the United States, college athletics is a two-tiered system. The first tier includes the sports that are sanctioned by one of the collegiate sport governing bodies...

, recruiting is the term used for the process whereby college coaches
Coach (sport)
In sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople.-Staff:...

 add new players to their roster
A roster is a list of names of people involved with an organization of some kind.A roster can be a list of people and the times when they are required to work or a list of students in a classroom....

 of student-athletes each off-season. In most instances, it involves a coach extending an athletic scholarship
Athletic scholarship
An athletic scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a college or university awarded to an individual based predominantly on his or her ability to play in a sport...

 offer to a player who is about to graduate from high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 or a junior college
Junior college
The term junior college refers to different educational institutions in different countries.-India:In India, most states provide schooling through 12th grade...

. There are instances—mostly at lower-division universities—where no scholarship can be awarded and the player has to pay for all of his or her own tuition
Tuition payments, known primarily as tuition in American English and as tuition fees in British English, Canadian English, Australian English, New Zealand English and Indian English, refers to a fee charged for educational instruction during higher education.Tuition payments are charged by...

, housing, and book fees.

Since success or failure in recruiting is seen as a precursor of a team's future prospects, many college sports fans follow it as closely as the team's actual games and it also provides a way to be connected to the team during the off season. Fans' desire for information has spawned a million-dollar industry which first developed extensively during the 1980s. Prior to the internet, popular recruiting services used newsletters and pay telephone numbers
Premium-rate telephone number
Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers for telephone calls during which certain services are provided, and for which prices higher than normal are charged. Unlike a normal call, part of the call charge is paid to the service provider, thus enabling businesses to be funded via the calls...

 to disseminate information. Since the mid-1990s, many online
ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

 recruiting website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

s have offered fans player profiles, scouting video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

s, player photos, statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

, interview
An interview is a conversation between two people where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.- Interview as a Method for Qualitative Research:"Definition" -...

s, and other information, including rankings of both a player and a team's recruiting class. Most of these websites charge for their information
Subscription business model
The subscription business model is a business model where a customer must pay a subscription price to have access to the product/service. The model was pioneered by magazines and newspapers, but is now used by many businesses and websites....


College football

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the most widely-followed recruiting cycle is that of college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

. This is due in part to the large following football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 usually has at most Division I universities, especially those in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Division I FBS football also has the highest number of scholarship players (85) of any college sport. The NCAA allows football teams to add up to 25 new scholarship players to the roster per academic year, so long as the total number of scholarship players does not exceed 85.

For teams in the second-tier Division I FCS, scholarships are limited to an amount equal to 63 full scholarships. However, FCS schools are allowed to award partial scholarships, as long as the total number of "counters" (NCAA terminology for a person who counts against limits on players receiving financial aid for that sport) is no greater than 85. Also, FCS teams can provide financial aid to as many as 30 new players per year.

In Division II, schools are limited to an amount equal to 36 full scholarships.

The football recruiting season typically begins the summer after the previous year's class has signed—though the building of relationships between college coaches and high school players and their coaches may have been going on for months or years before that. Each summer high school players attend various football camps at nearby college campuses to be evaluated on measures of athleticism like the 40-yard dash, vertical jump
Vertical jump
A vertical jump or vertical leap is the act of raising one's center of gravity higher in the vertical plane solely with the use of one's own muscles; it is a measure of how high an individual or athlete can elevate off the ground from a standstill.-Types of vertical jump:The vertical jump is...

, agility shuttle and the number of repetitions of the bench press
Bench press
The bench press is an exercise of the upper body. For bodybuilding purposes, it is used to stimulate the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps. While on his or her back, the person performing the bench press lowers a weight to the level of the chest, then pushes it back up until the arm is straight...

 that an athlete can perform at a given weight, usually 185 pounds. Recently, the SPARQ rating has become a popular composite metric of a high school football player's athleticism. At this time of year, based on game film and performance at combines, this is typically when players begin to receive most scholarship offers.

After receiving an offer, a player may choose to commit. This is a non-binding, oral agreement.
Although more coaches have tried in recent years to get players to commit early, typically the most highly rated players commit within a month of National Signing Day
National Signing Day
National Signing Day most commonly refers to a day in February, usually on the first Wednesday of that month, which is the first day that a high school senior can sign a binding National Letter of Intent for college football with a school that is a member of the NCAA, the main governing body for...

, the day all high school players who will graduate that year can sign letters of intent
National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent is a document used to indicate a student athlete's commitment to participating NCAA colleges and universities in the United States. The NCAA Eligibility Center manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association provides...

 to play for their college of choice. Signing Day always falls on the first Wednesday in February. Other players, who may not have as many offers to choose from, more often verbally commit earlier in the process. Players occasionally decide to sign with a different school from which they gave a verbal commitment, which often causes rancor between the fans and coaching staffs of the two schools. Junior college players, however, can sign scholarships in late December, once their sophomore seasons have ended.

A letter of intent is binding for both the player and school for one academic year as long as the player is eligible to enroll at the college.

College basketball

Recruiting for Division I basketball teams is also closely followed by fans. Schools are limited to having 13 scholarship players in men's basketball and 15 in women's basketball. The formal NCAA rules and processes for recruiting and signing recruits are similar, but the identification and recruiting of talent differs from football in important ways. Whereas football players can only play in a very limited number of competitive games per year, summer camps and traveling AAU
Amateur Athletic Union
The Amateur Athletic Union is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.-History:The AAU was founded in 1888 to...

 teams afford prospects the opportunity to play outside of the regular basketball season. As a result, while football players generally only come to the attention of college recruiters after excelling at the high school varsity level, top level basketball players may emerge as early as the 8th or 9th grade. Players may also consider their AAU team as their primary squad, which can make high school basketball coaches less influential in the recruiting process than high school football coaches.

Another key difference in the recruiting cycle for college basketball, as opposed to that of football, is the time of signing:
  • First, basketball, along with most other NCAA sports other than football, has two signing periods during which all athletes are allowed to sign letters of intent—one in the fall (autumn) and one in the spring. The early signing period starts on the second Wednesday in November and runs through the third Wednesday in November. (Although football has an early signing period in December and January, its use is restricted to junior-college transfers.)
  • The regular signing period in basketball does not start until the third Wednesday in April, after high schools throughout the U.S. have completed their basketball seasons.


  • Oversigning
    Oversigning is an unofficial term for the practice of American college athletic departments signing recruits to a National Letter of Intent that may exceed the maximum number of athletic scholarships permitted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association...

     - is an unofficial term for the practice of American college athletic departments signing recruits to a National Letter of Intent (NLI) that may exceed the maximum number of athletic scholarships permitted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA limits the total number of scholarships that may be awarded in all sports; in some sports, most notably football, it also limits the number of scholarships awarded in a given year.
  • Blue chip
    Blue chip (sports)
    The term "blue chip" is commonly used to describe athletes who are being targeted to be drafted or signed by teams at the next level. It is most commonly used to describe high school players being recruited by college teams, but can also refer to collegiate players being scouted by professional...

     - A term referring to student athletes that are considered to be among the top players (overall or at their position) coming out of high school.
  • Yellow chip - The term used for athletes who are good enough to make a college team, but aren't blue chips.
  • Early enrollment - Enrollment of student athletes to a university during the 2nd semester or 3rd quarter of the academic calendar year that runs concurrent with their final high school calendar year. The student athlete must have completed the secondary education requirements needed to receive their degrees, have graduated, met minimum standards for admission and been qualified according to the NCAA clearing house.
  • Grayshirting - The practice of delaying enrollment of a student athlete until 2nd semester/quarter or 3rd quarter of the academic year following signing of a National Letter of Intent
    National Letter of Intent
    The National Letter of Intent is a document used to indicate a student athlete's commitment to participating NCAA colleges and universities in the United States. The NCAA Eligibility Center manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association provides...

     (NLI). Student athletes may be asked to delay enrollment or choose to do so voluntarily for various reasons. If a student athlete is asked to delay entry but chooses not to, that can have their NLI voided and immediately sign with another school without penalty. If a student athlete chooses to grayshirt then they may either be counted toward scholarship limitation for the current signing period or for the signing period of the following year.
  • Silent commitment - A player has committed to play for a school but has not publicly disclosed this yet.
  • Project/Sleeper/Under the Radar- Terms that refer to a recruit who is not as highly ranked as a school's typical recruits. Often, these are players who may be athletically gifted but who may have begun playing the sport recently, but the coaches believe they may develop into contributing players with more experience. The term can also refer to a recruit who is playing "out of position" in high school—that is, playing at a position for which he may not best be suited in the long term. Sometimes, a player may be limited by his high school system, such as a quarterback with potential as a passer who is playing at a school with a ground-oriented offense. Such a player may also have been hampered by injuries during high school. Schools often recruit such players if they have scholarships left over at the end of a recruiting period.
  • Athlete - This term mostly applies to American football recruiting. This is typically a student athlete with the skills and physical attributes that would allow them to play numerous positions on the team.
  • Recruited Walk-On - Student athletes that are invited to join a program but are not offered athletically related financial aid or scholarship. In football, place kickers, punters, and long snappers frequently join teams as recruited walk-ons. Walk-ons may be awarded a scholarship at any time. Once a scholarship is awarded a scholarship, that athlete counts against the scholarship limitations for the duration of the time the student athlete is on scholarship. While many walk-on athletes, particularly in football, are recruited, others may approach the coaches without invitation about joining the team. In some cases, programs may hold open try-outs to find players among the student body.
  • Star Ratings - Most recruiting services classify recruits by a number of "stars" with a higher number for more highly ranked prospects. Most services use 5 stars for the highest ranked recruits and only a few players at each position attain this rank. 4 stars is a typical ranking for recruits at elite level universities. 3 stars is a typical ranking for recruits at most schools in conferences with automatic bids to the BCS
    Bowl Championship Series
    The Bowl Championship Series is a selection system that creates five bowl match-ups involving ten of the top ranked teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision , including an opportunity for the top two to compete in the BCS National Championship Game.The BCS relies on a combination of...

    . 2 stars is a typical ranking for recruits at most mid-major
    Mid-major is a term used in American Division I college sports, to refer to athletic conferences that are not among the major six conferences...

    level or Division I FCS schools. 1 star players typically play at levels below NCAA Division I or may be walk-ons at Division I schools.

External links