DTRR: Defining the Recruiting Relationship

Recently,  I have spoken with several athletes coaching them in preparation for college visits.  Surely, invitations for college visits are a positive signal that you are being recruited. And its also a good thing that the coach wants to have you on campus to get to know you more. But, what kind of visit is it? Why is it so important.

Often I describe the recruiting process like a dating relationship.  Think about all the things that happen before the first date. Back in my day, a lot of time was spent getting to know one another often talking on the phone or exchanging notes at school. Now  Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and text has replaced that kind of bonding. Eventually, the time would come when the couple actually actually went on a first date.

First dates are alway interesting because of the great opportunity to make a first impression. And if things went well, there is a pretty good chance to have a second date.

Recruiting is a lot like a that. Recruits and coaches get to know one another with some initial communication, then if both like one another the time arrives to take the relationship to the next level.

Typically, college coaches reserve official visits to make offers, especially during senior year. Furthermore, the official visits often follows one or more unofficial visits. Clearly, those are signs of a budding relationship.
The best way to tell if the visit is official or unofficial is determined by who pays the bill. If the college pays the bill then there are some strong feelings. However, if the bill is split or the athlete is paying most rest assured that interest exists but how much is difficult to tell.   Most importantly, on official visits the college pays for lodging, transportation and meals for the prospect and parents. Lastly, the official visit cannot exceed 48 hours from the time the athlete arrives on campus.

In comparison, transportation and lodging for unofficial visits are paid for by the prospect or prospect family. Some swag from the college is permissible, such  up to three free game tickets and meals while on campus, but most of the check is taken care of by the recruit.

So why is it important to know the difference between an official and unofficial visit?
The reason you should to know is because the NCAA allots a certain number of official and unofficial visits for prospects. My job is to make sure the athletes I manage stay NCAA eligible. So, if you have too many official visits then you are in violation of NCAA recruiting guidelines! Which can jeopardize both the recruit as well as the college.

Now that the relationship has been defined, suitable prospects should put effort to make  a good impression while in the presence of the coach.  Lastly, no matter if its an unofficial or official visit its good form to let the coach know that you appreciate the free tickets, food, and the opportunity to see the campus. So, send a note, text, email, tweet or post. It just might lead to a second date!


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