Tips and Terms for College Sports Recruitment


Last Updated: Mar 27, 2017

Looking for tips on recruitment? Here is the breakdown of all of the terms you need to know!


Process by which the college or university woos student-athletes by letter, phone, invitation to campus, or personal visit.

  • The most serious sign of interest is a coach’s visit to a student’s home. But it’s admission departments, not coaches, who admit students. Coaches may make promises they cannot keep.
  • Listen carefully to what the coach says, not to what you wish to hear.
  • Coaches’ early sincere enthusiasm may wane as they land other recruits.


Process by which the student “markets” himself/herself to the institution.

  • Contact the college admission and athletic departments to ask for information. Write a short but personalized letter to each college coach, stating your athletic and academic accomplishments and a sincere interest in playing for the coach.
  • If a coach responds to your letter, suggest a college visit, invite the coach or his or her delegate to visit you, and/or send a short video of yourself in action.

Recruiting services

Businesses that compile student-athlete résumé-type profiles and send them to many (sometimes up to 800) colleges for a fee (usually $300–$600). Services guarantee responses from some schools but they don’t guarantee admission to any.

  • Students who are not heavily recruited may find these services effective, as do colleges that don’t have large recruiting budgets.
  • Services are not the same as agents, who charge a commission for obtaining scholarships. Agents are not allowed in college athletics.

NCAA Divisions I, II, III

Classifications that indicate the level of competition and amount of money a college devotes to athletics.

  • Division I schools, in general, offer the most scholarships, but not all Division I schools offer scholarships. Ivy League schools do not.
  • Division II schools offer some athletic scholarships, while Division III schools do not offer any scholarships.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

The two main governing boards of college athletics that control everything from student eligibility to the number of official campus visits a student may make. For information and free guides, contact: NCAA, PO Box 6222, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222; phone 317-917-6222; NAIA, 23500 West 105th Street, Olathe, KS 66051; phone 913-791-0044;

  • Student-athletes seeking admission to Division I and II schools must be registered at the NCAA Eligibility Center. Registration forms are available at high school guidance offices or directly from the Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, 310 ACT Dr., P.O. Box 4043, Iowa City, IA 52243-4043.
  • The NCAA is exerting greater pressure on colleges to make sure that athletes do well in class and on the field. Colleges may lose scholarships or competition eligibility if their players fail to meet the association’s academic standards.

Title IX

1972 law requiring institutions that receive federal aid to treat men and women equitably. What constitutes “equitably” in terms of the number of scholarships, teams, and other resources available to both sexes is controversial, and colleges are working to meet federal, student, and alumni demands. However, women are gaining in both athletic scholarships and sports open to them. Now is a great time to be a woman student-athlete. 

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