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College Bound Athletes
Summary: Information for College bound athletes
College Bound Athletes

There are several levels of collegiate athletics, from highly-competitive Division I and II programs to more relaxed Intramural programs. Talk with your coach about the level of play you are best suited for and speak with your counselor about the rigor of collegiate athletics. Be realistic: being the best player on your team or in your league may not be enough as you will be competing for spots with students who are the best in the state or region. Bear in mind, only two percent of student-athletes receive scholarship assistance and a very rare few are offered a full-ride; Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), www.ncaa.org, is the organization that oversees college athletics with over 1,000 member schools in three divisions: Division I (DI), the most competitive, Division II (DII), highly competitive, and Division III (DIII). The rules of recruitment are strictly enforced so take care not to damage your chances for eligibility:

  • Be aware that college coaches cannot contact you by mail until September of your junior year and by phone until July after junior year.
  • College coaches are not allowed off-campus contact during your sophomore and junior years. When attending off-campus tournaments for example, coaches are only allowed to offer a formal greeting, so don't be put off when they try to avoid contact.
  • When you visit a college campus or athletic filed, coaches are allowed to speak with you and your parents.

Student-athletes should start their college search in sophomore year and should register online with the NCAA Eligibility Center in their junior year. You will need to market your abilities by creating an Athletic Resume of your school and club participation.  A website or YouTube video can also help more schools appreciate your skills, but remember coaches want to hear from you - not your parents or a professional recruiting agency.

Colleges encourage student-athletes to choose a school based first on academics and second on athletics, so keep your options open. There are 450 Division III schools that do not offer scholarships, but pride themselves on helping students-athletes balance challenging academics and rewarding athletics. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), www.naia.org, has 300 member colleges that offer more relaxed rules, particularly regarding transfers, as well as scholarships.

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