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The complicated high school recruitment process
11/08/2010 FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - With more than $2 billion handed out each year by the NCAA for athletic scholarships, the world of high school sports recruiting is a high stakes business.
We’ve all heard the success story in our towns, and though a full scholarship is a long shot, getting some kind of financial assistance to play a sport in college is actually an attainable goal. But it's a complicated process.
High school sports used to be about pep rallies, practice and the big game on Friday night. Now, many use athletics as an avenue towards a free or discounted college education.
Over 600 schools in Division I and II offer athletic scholarships and even though only 2-3 percent of the estimated 6.9 million high school athletes receive them, the scholarship is not as big of a long shot as you would think.
Former Natick athletic director and coach Tom Lamb has been a part of high school athletics for 33 years. He played college football at Holy Cross, coached Doug Flutie at Natick and has been a part of the recruiting process for more than four decades.
Tom retired from Natick this past summer and now works for Medway-based College Planning Strategies, which consults student athletes and families on athletic recruiting.
“College coaches are recruiting 50 to a 100 recruits per year. They do it annually. They’re pros at it and know every word they’re saying,” Lamb said.
Experts like Lamb and the national college scouting association say there are some basics to keep in mind if your son or daughter is being recruited. First, athletes and their families need to be pro-active.
The stories of college coaches knocking on the door are few and far between. In fact, college coaches aren’t allowed to contact recruits until July 1 of their junior year of high school.
If you want to get on a college coach’s radar, you need to put yourself there.
Kathryn Raynor is one of two Needham soccer players who will play at a Division I program next year.
She says along with taking the initiative during her sophomore year of high school, it helped to put together a list of schools she was interested in. Along with that list, athletes should get noticed playing for summer teams and at college showcase camps.
Now along with the athlete, parents play a very important role in the recruiting process. We've all heard the term “helicopter parents.” They’re parents who hover over their kids and take too aggressive of a role in recruiting. Well no doubt, coaches take notice. They know along with the student athlete that parents will be a part of their program for the next four years
Along with providing guidance and support, parents can also help their kids stay realistic about their skill level and college aspirations.
The last bit of advice that everyone we talked with mentioned was to think big picture. Consider academics along with athletics, but don’t forget about overall happiness. Ask yourself: If you blew out your knee and couldn’t play your sport anymore, could you still go to school there and be happy?
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