Earlier this quarter, three senior athletes signed a sheet of paper and committed to the next four years of their lives. Miah Araba, Laura Sparling, and Natasha Turner aren’t the first to commit to a college for sports, and they won’t be the last.
Every year, student athletes have many things to consider when choosing a college. They need to evaluate a school’s environment and academic programs to ensure they will be comfortable and challenged, just like any other student. They also need to figure out what school will fit their sport and the level of ambition they’ll be bringing for the next four years of college.
In Carrboro’s senior class, there are many student athletes continuing their sport past high school. The JagWire spoke to several athletes who gave us their perspective on what it takes to be recruited to participate in college level sports.
Although a student athlete may not sign until senior year, the committing process starts early. For Araba, Sparling, and Turner, it started around sophomore year. Most students verbally commit to a school around this time, and won’t sign until a year or two later.
These students aren’t only focusing on a prospective college’s athletic program, however. “I wanted to make sure that I was going to a school that was [also] academically rigorous, and if I couldn’t get recruited to a school that was like that I would go to a school for education and not soccer,” said Araba.
While the idea of college security may seem ideal, it has its drawbacks too, with the pressure of deciding on colleges two years early, as well as not having the excitement of being accepted to a variety of schools.
“The recruiting process itself is stressful because you don’t know what’s going to happen; if schools are going to like you or not,” said Sparling.
For Grace Maggiore and Christine Alcox, their commitment for volleyball was similar but still complex. Both Maggiore and Alcox were exposed to college coaches through their club teams. According to Alcox, “Since we play club, we get a lot of exposure that way, (…) if you want to play in college, it’s best to play club, because no one watches high school games anymore.”
Another way the two reached out to colleges was through email. Both Maggiore and Alcox started sending out emails to colleges around sophomore year. While the coaches can’t talk to students directly until junior or senior year, there are ways around that rule. College coaches can use club coaches as a messenger between themselves and the players. Also, coaches can reply over email, but not in person until much later in the process.
“You can call [the coaches], but they can’t call you,” said Maggiore, summing it up.
The last step of recruitment is the actual commitment and application. For Quinton Adams, committing for track, there was an almost three-week process that included sending in videos of himself running, monitoring his diet and weighing himself daily, in addition to the Common Application and his personal information. Depending on the college and the sport, the commitment process could be very low-stress and simple as it was for Taylor Day, or difficult like it was for Adams.
One thing that both Quinton Adams and Taylor Day, who is committing for wrestling, did to further their recruitment was to go to college camps. These college camps allowed Adams and Day to be exposed to different campuses and coaches while furthering their training.
Finally, there are scholarships. Being recruited by a college means they’re willing to offer you some sort of scholarship in exchange for your commitment to their college.
“You could [get] academic, half, or full [scholarships],” said Adams, who is currently in the process of obtaining a half scholarship, which means that the university will fund two years of his college education.
For student-athletes considering recruitment, the most important step is to not be afraid to reach out to various colleges and coaches. It’s also important to get started early, and work your hardest during the process.