Nor’easter Parents and Players!
On the eve of the end of summer and the Sept 1st D1 recruiting contact date for all 2020 lacrosse players, there may be many mixed emotions headed into this Labor Day weekend. After having played in the heat of the summer and the depths of a cold winter day in March, if you’ve had your heart set on DI lacrosse it may seem like your recruiting journey is being crunched into one make it or break it day. This could not be further from the truth! Let us help answer some questions, dispel some myths and generally ease that overwhelming feeling for both parents and players.
While the recruiting contact date is new to your recruiting experience, the age-old questions remain the same:
- · What if I don’t hear from my dream school?
- · What if I DO hear from my dream school and I’m still not sure?
- · Am I allowed to take time or do I have to commit to a school on the 1st?
- · What if I still have schools I want to contract?
- · What the heck do I do now?
- · What are you talking about, why does Sept 1st matter—its Labor Day, let me go to the beach!
What is the significance of September 1st of a student-athlete’s Junior year?
Division I college coaches can call you, answer your call, talk to you about recruiting by any method you want (email, text, phone) as well as talk about you with club and high school coaches.
As of Sept 1st of your Junior year you may also visit DI schools and meet with coaches and players and stay over on visits.
It’s now time to start answering your own questions:
Where do I see myself playing lacrosse for the next stage of my life?
First let us say that almost everyone who has played a sport in college has had some level of anxiety when making this decision. That is normal and frankly it should be a well thought out decision, albeit hopefully not anxiety inducing. We like to joke it’s the best-worst time of your life! The pressure you feel is hopefully tinged with some excitement at the process finally opening up and being able to get more and more information about the schools, the people and the programs that you have been researching and finding YOUR perfect fit.
Whether you are thinking of playing DI and Sept. 1st is your start date for contact or you are unsure what level you want to play, there are some best practices involved.
Do your homework.
We usually mean this in a classroom to best help you gain entrance to college but in this case, we mean get as much information about the schools you are interested in and that you learn are interested in you. Be able to talk knowledgably about yourself and what you value and want in a college experience. This will help calm your nerves on the phone and also help frame your search as you think about what you want or don’t want from your college of choice. You don’t need all the answers; your preferences will evolve and change over time but it’s a good rule of thumb to be able to answer those types of questions when asked by a college coach. Think about your response to schools that contact you that you haven’t thought about before or that you might not be interested in; be prepared for those scenarios and don’t be afraid to be honest. While the expectation is always that you and your family will be courteous of a coach that calls, being honest is also appreciated. Treat a coach like you would expect to be treated.
I didn’t get any calls or the calls I wanted.
This is where you must remember that the process is simply beginning now, it is not ending. While it might be a cliché that everything works out how it should, if you ask most college athletes they will tell you this is true. But that still doesn’t answer the question. So here it is: if you didn’t get the interest you anticipated, keep working. Keep training, reaching out and attending clinics that you believe will put you in front of coaches you would like to play for. Expand your list. Perhaps think in a different direction, level of play, area of the country etc. than you had before. Be prepared to adjust and be adaptable; after all that’s the best trait any college athlete can possess. Reassess; talk to your family, talk to your club and high school coaches and think in a broader list across all divisions and styles of school.
Remember that coaches are working through their lists as well. Just because you didn’t get the call you wanted doesn’t mean they won’t call. With three coaches on staff (or fewer), and only 24hrs in a day, the calls, texts and emails take time. A coach may take a day, a week, or the whole fall to contact players they are interested in. Its ok to reach out and restate your interest in a school, coaches will be shuffling and reshuffling their prospective recruits often through their process and aren’t afraid to receive interest from a prospective student athlete they may not have reached out to on Day 1. Most coaches will be honest with you and about their process so listen to their feedback but never be afraid to reach out to the schools on your list.
Again, don’t be afraid or deterred if your process is taking longer than someone else’s—after all, its unique to you. Many players at the DII and DIII levels commit over the course of Junior Year and into Senior Fall—that’s ok too, you do you!
I DID get the attention I wanted, what now?
Keep working. Make sure you are keeping lines of communication open with the schools you are talking with (don’t forget to return calls, emails or texts when its warranted!). Schedule visits to see the schools in session and on a “normal” day to get the feel of the environment and keep learning as much as you can. Be your own best advocate; speak up, lead the conversation, be careful of letting your parents take the reins for you—this is your four-year decision. Remember again that this is your timeline, be wary of pressure to commit before you are ready and be honest with schools about what your timeline might be.
I like the schools that have contacted me but none of them like me enough to offer a scholarship.
Manage your expectations. You know the teams that have all their players already committed on a “full-ride” to their college of choice? Not likely. The truth is that very few high school lacrosse players will be offered a “full-ride” athletic scholarship and that has little bearing on a school’s actual interest in you. If you consider that in women's lacrosse NCAA DI teams can offer a maximum of 12 full scholarships per team and DII can offer 9.9 and that most rosters vary from 25-40 players, that money must stretch thin. That also assumes that the program you are interested in is fully funded—many are not. College is expensive and every family is different in their ability to afford those costs, so learn about the financial aid options, merit aid or other means that the colleges you are interested in might help their families better afford tuition. And remember, just because you may not be offered money does not mean a coach doesn’t value you, it might simply be the reality of their situation and you have probably watched many great “non-scholarshiped” athletes lead their team without ever knowing they didn’t sign an NLI.
Here’s a useful reality check:
VERY FEW PROSPECTS WILL COMMIT ON SEPT 1. Yup I know, you’ve heard a lot of rumors and there’s a lot of talk out there but the reality is that both parents, players AND coaches will take their time and all three parties have every right to do so. There’s a lot of hype leading up to the day but this rule is for you as the student-athlete to take your time. All parties from your parents to your future coaches want you to make the best decision for YOU!
And finally….remember that the right school is out there for you. There is time for you to find that school, there is time for you to be able to make a confident and well-founded decision and there are many people out there to help you in the process. Enjoy the journey!