Shake-ups are common in every collegiate sport…

Shake-ups are common in every collegiate sport but how what are repercussions on recruits?

Recently, a news notification citing a significant change in SEC collegiate softball.  My draw dropped as I read the headline that the head coach of the University of Missouri softball program was relieved of his duties.  Certainly, to the amazement of the entire softball community, the decision was executed with less than two weeks before the season opener on February 8th. 
Mizzou is known to recruit players early. In fact, many of their prospects are identified Freshman and Sophomore season.  Truly, the effects of this decision will impact everyone involved in the program including coaches, players and recruits as well as their families.
As a natural reaction I Immediately passed this information along to the athletes under my care. I wanted them to get an idea of how unstable the recruiting process actually is. The lesson to be learned is to plan ahead, but adjust accordingly. Most importantly, nothing – no promise, no offer- is set in stone until NLI Signing Day. 
Coaches fired. Programs overhauled. Players transfer. Like it or not, these are norms in much of college softball recruiting. Frankly, shake-up like these are not solely regulated to softball. They are common in every collegiate sport.
Arguably,  breaking news like this also serves as a stark reminder of the uncertainty of the recruiting process.  Over the years as National Director of Scouting & Recruiting at Prepstar I’ve helped hundreds of athletes navigate unexpected obstacles in the midst of their recruiting.   If I can be of help feel free to give me a call, text or email. 
Be committed,
Coach Mike

Coach Mike oversees the recruiting of talented next-level athletes by helping families develop and implement a recruiting strategy for athletes to get exposure, evaluated and recruited. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and, as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Coach Mike – Email:   Office: 805-622-STAR


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!

NLI Signing Ceremony Solidifies Scholarships

National Letter of Intent

Signing Ceremony Solidifies Scholarships


February 7th is almost here. Soon, verbal commitments will be solidified once an athlete signs her/his National Letter of Intent. Did you know that over 45,000 prospective student-athletes sign NLIs to attend NCAA Division I or II institutions? Additionally, thousands of Division III student-athletes will make good on commitments in signing ceremonies even if not formally recognized by the NCAA.

When presented an NLI must be accompanied by an athletics aid agreement to explain scholarship award money. These terms are binding once the NLI is signed.  A prospective student-athlete not receiving athletics aid does not have to sign an NLI but still have a signing ceremony. Regardless, all athletics aid agreements are must comply with NCAA rules.

Lastly, keep in mind what I shared previously about fulfilling the obligations of the NLI even if a coach leaves or gets fired.  When a prospective student-athlete signs with an institution or the coach leaves, the NLI signee is still bound by the provisions of the NLI. Completing a playing season does not fulfill the NLI obligation. Instead it is required that the student-athlete complete the entire academic year at the signing institution must be completed.

Finally, seniors, as you prepare for signing day please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. I also added some links for quick research convenience.
National Letter of Intent Website
National Letter of Intent Guide

Be committed,

Coach Mike



Coach Mike oversees the recruiting of talented next-level athletes by helping families develop and implement a recruiting strategy for athletes to get seen, scouted and recruited. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and, as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Coach Mike – Email:   Office: 805-622-STAR


Avoid Signing Day Sorrows

Signing day is near and while the ink dries on NLI’s there will be many student-athletes with sorrows and shattered dreams.  This time of year hundreds of overlooked student-athletes will wish they did something to be more proactive. Most will wish they hadn’t bought into the myth that “if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.”

Hoping and waiting for some college coach to come knocking on your door is not the way to get recruited. If this is your plan, then I’m afraid that your chances of signing a letter of intent on National Signing Day is pretty slim!

But you’re an an elite athlete determined to succeed! You’ve put in the hard work, extra reps, aches and pains…sweat…blood…tears. You are determined to get your full reward. quote-Vince-Lombardi-the-price-of-success-is-hard-work-41792

Here are three tips to improve your chances of playing at the next level.

1. Start early
The earlier you begin planning the recruiting process the better. In most sports D1 prospects athletes are identified by the end of their sophomore year! Recruiting boards of D2 and D3 schools also start to fill up early.  This means athletes should start outlining your recruiting plan in 8th or 9th grade.

2. Be proactive
Don’t be afraid to take control of your recruiting process. Do your homework. Learn the recruiting timelines. Find out about contact dates and regulations.  Keep good stats and up to date film.  Proactive people make something happen by taking control.

3. Get help
College recruiting can be confusing so you’ll want someone to help you navigate the process. There are a number of different avenues to explore for advocacy, assistance, advice and exposure. Use coaches, and contacts as well as websites and recruiting organizations to help you get noticed.

The goal is to enjoy the recruiting process!  Get in there and get going! If you’re not enjoying it then today is the time to start putting together a plan towards success!

Have questions? Need help?  Contact me to set up a time to talk (get free advise!) or use the comment section below.

Be committed,


Coach Mike




Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and, as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Coach Mike – Email:   Phone: 805-622-STAR


Checkpoints Along the Recruiting Journey  

Soon another recruiting class will be replaced by eager to impress underclassmen. Each with their own aspirations. This is why having a good solid recruiting strategy is the foundation to a controllable recruiting experience.  In this week’s post my goal is to provide a helpful outline to use as a guide for overall recruiting process. Of course, there are exceptions just as there are exceptional athletes, as we see with  Jr. High and Freshman verbal commits to Power 5 colleges.


Starting with the Freshman year of high school this guide will provide direction and checkpoints to help provide a fair bit of control as student athletes navigating the recruiting process towards the apex Senior year.


  • NCAA recruiting guidelines stipulate that student-athletes become a college prospect the first day of freshmen year in high school.  Start Planning now!
  • Prepare for the future as a student-athlete by making  schoolwork and grades top priority — College coaches want to recruit “Student-Athletes” — not just athletes! Emphasis on “student”.
  • Talk to the school guidance counselor to plan the 16 core courses that must be completed with a passing grade to become an NCAA Academic qualifier — Know the list of your high school’s approved NCAA courses at by clicking “resources” at the top of the screen.
  • Begin keeping a record of scholastic and athletic achievements.  This information will be vital when starting building an athletic recruiting profile.
  • Don’t make the mistake of attending camps, combines or showcases too early.   Attending these camps too early can hurt more than help.
  • Focus on your offseason training and conditioning over the summer months .


  • Make sure academics are on track, so stay focused and disciplined in the classroom!
  • Begin researching colleges with realistic expectations of  competition  level and academic program.  Keep your options open and make a list of schools from all across the country.
  • Put together a player recruiting profile. Plan on updating that profile every semester throughout your high school career.
  • Start creating a recruiting video with  good video highlights.  Having an expert look at your videos is helpful to putting the right film in front of college coaches.
  • Visit college websites from the created list and fill out their online recruiting questionnaire
  • Now is the time to start thinking about attending a camp, combines or showcases.
  • Make sure to practice and prepare before attending.  Learn and practice the drills tested at the camp and be ready to perform at your very best!


  • Continue to take courses that meet the high school graduation requirement and that meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements.
  • Make sure that to be on track to complete 10 of the required 16 core courses by the end of junior year.
  • Junior season is very important for college recruiting so keep college coaches updated on your athletic progress.
  • Register to take the SAT and/or ACT test.  When registering for the SAT/ACT, be sure to select the Eligibility Center as one of the recipients {Code: 9999}.
  • After September 1 prospects can recieve athletic information from college coaches.
  • At the end of your junior year, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and complete the amateurism certification questionnaire (  A fee waiver is available for students who qualify for a waiver fee.  Your high school guidance counselor must request the fee waiver online through the Eligibility Center.
  • Create a junior season highlight video to send to college coaches along with an up-to-date player profile. Start sending that profile along with video highlights to college coaches that match your competitive level, geographical preferences and academic interests!
  • Attend at least one camp local or regional camp, combine, or showcase.  Make sure to go fully prepared to be tested the necessary sports specific skills.
  • After July 1st most college coaches in most sports can call prospective student athletes.
  • Schedule at least three unofficial visits to college campuses over the summer.  Be sure to choose colleges that have shown an interest in you or schools that fit your competitive level!


  • After September 1st of your senior year Division I college coaches may call prospective student-athletes once per week during contact and evaluation periods.
  • Stay in communication with as many college coaches as possible by email and phone.  If your phone is ringing that is a good sign of being recruited!
  • Plan to retake the SAT/ACT test early first semester of senior year if necessary to obtain a higher score
  • Arrange five official visits.  Prospective student athletes are allowed a total of five visits no matter what division.
  • Many Division II, III and NAIA offers will take place during the senior year so it’s important to stay in touch with as many coaches as possible with timely updates of player profile information and video highlights.
  • The Early Signing Period for sports other than Football is in November and runs for 7 days. Early signing period for Football is in December. Traditional Signing Period begins in February and ends August 1st.  To learn the exact dates please visit:

Be committed,

Coach Mike



Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and, as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

3 Things to Know Right Now about recruiting

3 things you need to know right now about recruiting

Recruting season is here! Its hard to ignore when its the talk of ESPN, the local news and sports media. Problem is, looking at any of these outlets its easy to assume that recruiting is over. But that’s not true. There is a lot of recruiting left. Actually, for 2018’s, there is over 6 months of recruiting remaining! So, since there is still time left on the recruiting clock here are some important details about recruiting to know right now.
Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 11.21.34 AM
D1, D2, D3 and NAIA have different signing periods

2018’s still have time – there is much more recruiting left

  • While the early National letter of Intent (NLI) signing days have come and gone  athletes can still sign until April 1. Signing day for all sports other than football starts April 11 and goes through August 1st.
  • If you haven’t gotten much traction yet, don’t give up hope. Keep working hard in the classroom and on the field. Coaches are like lions on the hunt. They often lay in wait watching and looking then move swiftly with decisive action. For example,  one of my athletes Prepstar verified athletes recently got 5 offers is 4 days!
  • Lastly, D2, D3 and NAIA have different signing periods. However, when signing after the NLI dates expires for your sport it is important to know that often scholarships are not guaranteed and become at the discretion of the college coach.

I’m available whenever you need me

  • I’m here to help. But I can’t help with the things I don’t know about. Nor can I help athletes not verified as a member of the PrepStar 360 team.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. I’m here so you don’t get overwhelmed, stressed, or out of sorts by the recruiting process. Every athlete under my care has unrestricted access to my assistance. I’m only a phone call, email, text, or Tweet away. ( @MichaelWoosley)
  • Let me know about interested college coaches or schools you like so I can help you get and stay on their recruiting radar.

2019’s are on deck

  • As coaches find what they need for 2018, they continue to look ahead for holes to fill with 2019 student athletes and beyond.
  • Be intentional about connecting with with coaches that view your profile.
  • Keep your profile up to date with stats, metrics, transcripts and GPA.
  • Start strategically planing camps/combines/showcases for the summer.
  • Coaches like to look ahead so students-athletes in the 2019’s and 2020’s class should also do all of the above.
Be committed,
Coach Mike
Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited. With over 20 years of experience as a coach and, as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Signing NLI after coaching change

What you need to know when signing the National Letter of Intent in the midst of Coaching Changes

Photo Credit:

Any savvy college sports fan has noticed the recent hiring and firing of many college coaches. The coaching carousel that follows perennial collegiate football programs probably gets the most media attention. Yet, firings and hirings are prevalent at every collegiate level and in every collegiate sport.

Every year I have a few athletes that suffer the effects of the coaching carousel so I want to make sure you are informed so you in case the you are faced with a committment to a college team without a coach you’ll know what your options are and most importantly, some questions to help prevent this situation.

To begin, once a student signs the NLI that student is bound to a one year committment to that college. Its important to note that in the eyes of the NCAA that committment is to the college, not to the coach. Unfortunately, this leaves out the human element; relationships. So a problem arises when the coaches that do the recruiting move on.  In many cases that coach is a very influential factor. So when he/she moves on athletes feel duped then want to decommit,  but cannot if the NLI has already been signed.

No doubt about it. NLI’s are water tight. The NCAA uses this language in the NLI document to assure the binding agreement is to the college.

“I understand I have signed this NLI with the institution and not for a particular sport or coach. If a coach leaves the institution or the sports program (e.g., not retained, resigns), I remain bound by the provisions of this NLI. I understand it is not uncommon for a coach to leave his or her coaching position.” (

It will be an arduous process to get out of a binding NLI for those who sign but then has a coach leave the program. However, in some cases the NCAA does allow students to be let out of their NLI. It’s a long process that first is reviewed  by the NLI Appeals Committee a on a case by case basis (

So, to help avoid this situation here are a few good questions to ask before committing.  Does he/she have a history of staying with programs long term? Also, when you interviewing with a prospective coach ask about how long he/she intends to stay at the school? Lastly, if you are skeptical, ask if its okay that you commit to the college but not sign the NLI?

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. After-all, the next 4 years of your life are potentially tied to this coach.