Stop the Madness

Stop the Madness. Not March Madness, the Recruiting Madness.  The NCAA has the opportunity to do just that when the Division I Council meets in two weeks to make a decision on proposal 2016-26 which in short would prevent the epidemic of early recruiting in Lacrosse.

The decision could be a monumental decision not only for lacrosse but others sports as well if they decide they would like to go in the same direction.  Everyone involved, the coaches, the prospects, and the parents want to slow the process down and for lacrosse it may becoming a reality due to the efforts of the IWLCA and the IMLCA.   A collaboration among DI college coaches got the ball rolling back in 2009, and almost 8 years later their efforts have finally reached the pinnacle, the NCAA Legislative Committee to make a decision on the future of college recruiting that will effect so many future prospective student-athletes, for the better.   If the decision is passed it could be effective as early as August 1, 2017.

No. 2016-26 RECRUITING — OFF-CAMPUS CONTACTS, TELEPHONE CALLS AND UNOFFICIAL VISITS — SEPTEMBER 1 OF JUNIOR YEARLACROSSE Intent: In lacrosse, to specify that: (1) off-campus recruiting contacts shall not be made with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before September 1 at the beginning of his or her junior year in high school and that contacts that occur during a prospective student-athlete’s junior year may occur only at the prospective student-athlete’s educational institution or residence; (2) telephone calls may not be received from an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before September 1 at the beginning of his or her junior year in high school; and (3) an unofficial visit with athletics department involvement shall not occur with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before September 1 at the beginning of his.

13.1.3.2.2.1 Telephone Calls Initiated by Prospective Student-Athlete at His or Her Expense — Lacrosse. In lacrosse, institutional staff members may not receive telephone calls placed by a prospective student-athlete (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) at his or her expense before September 1 at the beginning of his or her junior year in high school.

In general,  what this means is there is no contact  (phone calls, coach to PSA or PSA to coach, unofficial visits,  or off campus contact) permitted between a college coaches and a prospective student-athlete prior to September 1 of junior year.   What this rule will not change is when a college coach can begin identifying and evaluating prospective student-athletes.  College coaches will still be able to line up along a 2020 or 2021 game but maybe they won’t feel so inclined to do so now that they cannot have any contact with a prospect until Junior Year.  It is more likely, the start of sophomore year is when you will see coaches begin to evaluate talent.  So, when junior year rolls around they have their top recruits to target.

In a New York Times article back in 2012 which discussed this epidemic of early recruiting, no coach put it better than the Drexel Head Lacrosse coach, Brian Voelker when he said, “Somebody’s got to save us from ourselves.”   These are similar sediments expressed by all college coaches, they all want to slow the process down but it is so competitive they couldn’t do it on their own they needed someone, “the NCAA” to tell them that they couldn’t do it anymore. And we are just weeks from that decision.

Early commitments have been on the rise, not only in lacrosse, but field hockey, women’s soccer, and volleyball.   There were a few early commitments that really started to garner attention of not only college coaches but the general intercollegiate athletics community. Spencer Parks, was the first sophomore to make a verbal commitment in December 2009 when he chose to continue his academic and athletic career at University of North Carolina.   In November 2012, Forry Smith became the first freshman to commit when he chose Johns Hopkins.  In 2014, Haely Berg, a soccer player from Texas accepted an offer to play at the University of Texas just weeks before starting high school.  In January 2016, Caitlyn Wurzburger became the first 8th grade lacrosse player to commit when she chose Syracuse . And lastly Brennan O’Neill became the first eighth-grade boy to commit in March 2016 when he chose Penn State.   And I am sure there have been others.

What were you doing when you were in 8th and 9th grade.  Probably, not making a decision that will effect the rest of your life?   And that is what we are asking these kids to do.  Many of them don’t have the mental fortitude or the experience to make such a major life decision.  The college search process and the college decision is one of the first steps into becoming a young adult.  And by pressuring these kids to make this decision we are making them skip their adolescents and go straight to adulthood.   And remember the decision was only a verbal commitment so it was non-binding, so either party coach or prospect could pull out at anytime. This decision should be made when they have a bit more experience under their belt,  when they have a little bit of freedom as a teenager.  They shouldn’t be making this decision when they can’t even drive a car or have a job,  its madness.

It’s time for the NCAA to Stop the Madness, and put an end to this.  This should be an easy decision for the NCAA, all of their adds talk about doing what is in the best interest of the student-athlete.  Well, here’s your chance.  There is so much more this decision will impact than just to end early recruiting.  Kids can get back to the fun of playing sports. There doesn’t have to be so much pressure on a 14 or 15 year old about recruiting or where they are going to go to school.    Youth sports participation has begun to decline especially around the age of 13 where it just become too serious for some kids and all fun is lost so they quit. According to a poll conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of youth athletes quit organized sports by age 13.

In addition to the decline of youth sports participation, we have also seen the steady decline in multi sport athletes.  And if you have seen any of the studies,  multi sport athletes are less likely to get injured than the one sport athletes, and playing multiple sports is better for overall development as an athlete.

Lastly, this could take some financial pressure off the parents to continue to pay for year round competition and college exposure events.   It only makes sense to align all recruiting activities (email, phone calls, and unofficial visits) to one date.  It could bring back the enjoyment of youth sports and deliver a better overall athletic experience for all involved.

The ball is in your court NCAA!  Do the right thing!

Do you need a little more direction or guidance in your recruiting process than pick up one of the following GFS College Recruiting Education Resources to help jump start your college search process. 

college-recruiting-playbook-coverThe College Recruiting Playbook ($24.99) is a student-athletes guide to finding the right college to fit their academic, athletic, and personal needs.  Finding the right college for your student-athlete doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with College Recruiting Playbook, you can navigate the five phases of the recruiting process with surprising ease.

1. Planning and Preparation

2.  Communication

3.  Gaining Exposure

4.  Decision Making

5.  Beyond the Decision

This step-by-step guide walks parents and students through everything they need to know and do in order to find the best college athletically, academically, and personally.

 Discover the answers to these questions and much more

  •           What does it take to play at the next level?
  •           What are the academic requirements to play in college?
  •           What are the differences between DI, DII, DIII, and NAIA?
  •           What do college coaches look for in prospective student-athletes?
  •           What are the Three Key Elements of Gaining Exposure ?
  •           What is a verbal commitment?  What is a National Letter of Intent?
  •           What are the 50 questions every prospective student-athlete should answer?
  •           And much more

Written especially for high school athletes, this guide is also an essential read for parents, teachers, and coaches. By utilizing the included organizer and looking at the process from more than an athlete’s point of view, you can form the best strategy for your young athlete’s near and distant future.

Start planning today for your teen’s bright tomorrow!

VISIT THE GFS STORE FOR ALL OF YOUR COLLEGE RECRUITING EDUCATION NEEDS