Over the past few months, I have spoken with several athletes to coach them in preparing for college visits. Surely, invitations to visit a college is a positive signal that you are being recruited. It is also a indication that the coach wants to have you on campus to get to know you more. Even though the signs look promising, there is an awkward feeling looming. Kind of like teenagers entering the often confusing dance of a dating relationship. So, on this St. Valentine’s Day, the hope of this article is to help the confused students-athletes asking questions like. Do they really like me? What kind of visit is it? What should I wear? What do I expect. Why does it even matter?
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 clean slate opportunity to make a first impression. Then, 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 through initial communication, then if both like one another the time arrives to take the relationship to the next level. Usually, college coaches reserve official visits to make offers, typically during senior year. Furthermore, the official visit often follow one or more unofficial visits. Like a unbroken Snapchat streak, Clearly, consistent communication and visits are sure signs of a budding relationship.
As the relationship is defined, the sure way to tell the difference between an official or unofficial is determined by who pays the bill. Like a serious suitor bent on making a good impression, the college pays the bill. Surely, this is a sign of some strong feelings. However, going dutch isn’t a bad sign either. So, on the occasion of an unofficial visit when the bill is split between the athlete’s family and the college, rest assured that interest is apparent, but how much is difficult to define.
Most importantly, on official visit is like a well planned date. During the official visit the college takes care of it all by paying for lodging, transportation and meals of the prospect and parents. But, like Cinderella at the ball, the moment can’t last forever. The overseeing fairy godmother called the NCAA mandates that an official visit once the athlete arrives on campus, cannot exceed 48 hours. Violating this rule will lead to some pretty severe sanctions.
In comparison, like prom expenses, transportation and amenities for unofficial visits are paid for by the prospect or prospects parents. But colleges aren’t that stingy. They’re not all take and no give. In many situations while on campus colleges can give out swag, as many as three free game tickets, and provide meals. But again, on unofficial visits most of the check is paid for by the recruit.
Now that the relationship has been defined, in either situation. suitable prospects should put effort to make a good impression. Like every first date, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Lastly, no matter if its an unofficial or official visit when the visit is over it is an act of appreciation to courtesy send a quick text or email the day after to let the coach know that you appreciate the overall experience. Doing so, just might lead to a second date!