If you’re a high school athlete looking to play NCAA baseball in college, the first step toward college baseball recruiting success is familiarizing yourself with the recruitment rules and processes. Keep reading for an overview of the college baseball recruiting process and tips on how to help stand out to NCAA baseball coaches. Once you understand how the baseball recruiting process works, you’ll know what you can do to help college coaches find and recruit you for their team.
The College Baseball Recruiting Process - A Step-by-Step Guide
Initial contact from coach. The unofficial college baseball recruiting process begins following freshmen year for those players who attend showcases and summer camps. It officially begins either with an initial contact from the coach in the form of a “nonathletic recruitment publication” such as a "form" email about a camp, flyer, brochure, or questionnaire, or an email sent from a player to a coach. If you receive an email from a coach, you should know that college baseball coaches and their recruiting teams might send out hundreds or even thousands of these materials, depending on the size and funding level of the university’s baseball program. If you receive one of these emails or letters and it includes a questionnaire, it’s in your best interest to fill out the questionnaire and send it back quickly. But don't think that just because a coach sent you an email that he's strongly interested in you. Early in the process, coaches cast a wide net, and narrow their sights as they move through sophomore and junior year.
High School Players Who Want to Get Recruited Usually Attend College Summer Camps and Showcases. Here're Links to Each:
Base evaluations. After a coach makes initial contact, he’ll continue investigating potential athletes. Depending on when this occurs, the coach may or may not be able to contact the athlete directly -- so he will conduct most research by searching online and possibly contacting the athlete’s coaches. The university coach will examine an athlete’s athletic and academic standings by looking at information such as class portfolio, test scores, GPA, game statistics, and performance records. If video footage of the athlete is available, the coach will almost certainly watch it. He/she might begin to rank all potential athletes, creating an ordered list of athletes to pursue in the recruitment process.
Personal contact. Next, the coach and player will make personal contact over the phone or in person. Depending on the time of year and grade of the athlete, the coach may be able to initiate contact with the athlete according to NCAA rules -- if not, it’s up to the athlete to initiate contact with the coach. At this point, the coach begins to get a better “feel” for the athlete as a person so that he can assess the athlete’s character, attitude, and genuine interest in the university’s baseball program. Phone calls and visitations from the coach may continue for a series of months as both the athlete and coach learn more about each other.
Campus visit. Typically, the next step in the recruitment process is a campus visit. Campus visits help both the coach and baseball player assess whether the school and team are right “fits,” while also exposing the athlete to university life and his potential future teammates. If the campus visit goes well, the next step in the process is usually the extension of an offer.
Unique Features of College Baseball Recruiting
- Athletes who want to play college baseball are pretty much expected to attend summer recruiting camps and showcase events. And, those that invest some time and effort to contact college baseball recruiting coaches in advance will be the ones who will effortlessly score 1-1 time with coaches during these camps and showcases. Just showing up and playing well is not enough.
NCAA rules regarding university baseball have some unique features that make the recruitment process for this sport different than others. Some of the most notable features of the NCAA baseball recruitment process include:
Initial contact: The NCAA allows Division I baseball coaches to contact baseball players with forms, pamphlets, flyers, and questionnaires during the athlete’s sophomore year; no personal contact is allowed until the athlete’s junior year.
Recruitment periods. Heavy recruitment for Division I college baseball begins on September 1 of an athlete’s junior year, when NCAA baseball coaches are allowed to initiate contact with the athlete. Official visits to Division I schools are allowed during a baseball player’s senior year. For Division II and III programs, these steps in the recruitment process are allowed to start earlier. For full details, view the NCAA’s college-bound athlete guide.
“Equivalency” status: Division I baseball is considered an “equivalency” sport by the NCAA, meaning that college coaches are allowed a set amount of full scholarships that they can “divide” among multiple players to a certain extent. Division I men’s baseball coaches are allowed 11.7 full scholarships which they are allowed to distribute among up to 27 players. However, each player must receive at least 25% of a full scholarship, unless the school only offers need-based aid. See the 2015-2016 NCAA Division I Manual for more information.
Commitments: Signing dates for college baseball programs typically begin in November and go through April of an athlete’s senior year.
The Role of Recruiting Agencies
Because baseball recruitment can be overwhelming for athletes, parents, and coaches, many athletic recruiting agencies have emerged to assist all parties involved in the recruitment process.
However, the value of these agencies is highly debated and the adoption of these services by both players and coaches across the country is inconsistent. Although recruitment agencies can be helpful, they can also put the athlete at risk by not representing the athlete to the fullest or misunderstanding the athlete’s needs. Whereas some coaches say that they “trust [agencies’] judgements and will take a look at the athletes sent our way,” others say that they immediately delete emails from agencies and consider them “equivalent to spam.”
The problem with using recruiting agencies is that today, they generate more email to college coaches than the college recruiting coaches - or their assistants - can get through. See our article about trends in college athletics recruiting and remember that you have to find a way to stand out. You are far better off building your own online profile and contacting coaches directly, yourself.
Greg Pereira, Founder, Athletics Recruiting
With this in mind, it’s crucial that high school athletes seeking to play baseball in college do everything they can to help themselves stand out and make the recruitment process easy for college coaches. By establishing an online profile with detailed academic and athletic information, an athlete simplifies the recruitment process for a coach. A baseball player’s online profile should include all basic athletic and academic information and records, as well as video clips. For example, one Division III study by the NCAA concludes that 80% of coaches watch videos sent to them. For help setting up your own online athlete profile, contact us.
Why Do I Need an Online Profile?
For team sports like baseball, the recruiting process can be somewhat subjective because hard metrics based on individual performance simply don’t exist. Although some statistics (such as runs scored, arm speed, batting average, etc.) assist college coaches when assessing an athlete’s potential, these statistics are not completely reliable due to differences among high schools’ and travel leagues’ levels of competition.
For example, Division 4 and 5 high schools are generally considered less competitive by college coaches during the recruitment process due to their small size and resulting smaller quantity of athletes. During the recruitment process, university coaches may not consider Division 4 and 5 high school baseball players as closely as Division I and 2 athletes; therefore, it’s critically important that athletes who are competing for scholarships and college admissions based on sports participation establish an online presence for university coaches and recruiters. An athlete’s online profile should include grades, test scores, transcripts, film, and profiles in a single location. The objective of the profile should be to put the athlete’s best foot forward and make it easy for college coaches to say “yes.”
Get Your Own Affordable Recruiting Website
Why Should I Include Grades and Test Scores Within My Profile?
Most colleges require that their athletics team maintain a minimum GPA -- and therefore, college baseball coaches favor high school athletes who show potential to help their team meet this requirement. For example, if a coach is considering two identical athletes during the recruitment process and one has a 3.4 GPA and the other has a 2.8 GPA, the coach will most likely make an offer to the athlete with a 3.4 first. Note that high school students must maintain a 2.3 GPA to compete during their freshman year of college for Division I sports; visit the NCAA’s 2point3.org website to learn more.
With this in mind, it’s crucial that your online profile include academic details. In choosing an online profile tool, be sure to choose a platform that allows you to attach and post (not just state) your GPA and SAT/ACT scores. For safety, be sure that any sensitive information is password protected -- something we always ensure at Athletics Recruiting.
Although the baseball recruitment process is competitive, it’s also exciting. As a high school baseball player, your skills are your most important asset -- but your ability to package and present these skills, along with your grades, test scores, and statistics, completes the package. With the right online athlete profile, you have a better shot at standing out during college baseball recruiting.
Our College Recruiting Websites Can Help with Your College Recruiting Process: