How to approach an exit meeting with your coach

With the end of the season approaching, and having already arrived for some teams, a hot topic among all players and parents will be exit meetings with the coaching staff.

This is the time where each player will meet with the coaching staff (in my experience, the head coach, but may differ for other teams) to summarize the year as well as give an overall outlook at the individual’s future with the program moving forward.

For some players, the exit meetings may be nothing but a mere formality, a simple goodbye to the coach and see you next fall.  But for others, the exit meeting may be a major factor in what a young player, and his/her family wants to do for the upcoming school year.

In approaching these meetings, there are many different questions that may be asked depending on the situation that a particular student-athlete is in (freshman vs. junior, pitcher vs. position player, and starter vs. bench player).

However, I believe that one simple rule that each athlete should live by is to make sure that at the conclusion of each meeting, there are no unknowns left on the table.

Speaking as an athlete who did not get all questions clarified, and paid for it later, I believe this is the overall priority with each exit meeting.  As a former student-athlete, I know that all of us have many questions about what our future holds at a particular university.

Do I still have a chance to contribute?

Is there any chance I could be cut at fall semester?

Will my scholarship be renewed?

At the end of the day, there are many uncertainties that each player has.  And to an extent, there are even some uncertainties within the coaching staff that may keep them from answering those questions to a player or parent’s satisfaction.

But bottom line, each athlete wants to receive an honest and thorough evaluation to give him/herself the best opportunity at success.  By getting as many questions answered as possible, the student-athlete puts him/herself in a better position to make an educated decision about their future.

About Ryan Allen

NCAA Division I Pitcher - University of Missouri - 2006-2009

NCAA Division II Pitcher - University of Central Missouri - 2010

M.Ed. - Educational & Counseling Psychology - University of Missouri - 2013

BS - Business Administration - University of Missouri - 2011

Academic Adviser - University of Missouri Athletic Department - 2014-present

Internship - Academic Adviser - University of Missouri Football 2013-2014

Internship - NACDA - National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics - 2013

Graduate Assistant - Recruiting & Education - University of Missouri Compliance Department - 2011-2013.

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60 Responses to How to approach an exit meeting with your coach

  • Julia

    Is it unacceptable, or frowned upon, for a parent to either attend an exit meeting or schedule a meeting with the coach? My student has had a disappointing Freshman year and we can find no reason why things have gone the way they have this first year. I would like to know what is going on and if the coach believes my student should transfer in order to get some playing time. However, I don’t want to do anything to make the situation worse.

    • Julia,

      Do not get involved with talking to or meeting with the coach unless things get so bad that you see absolutely no other option. Coaches don’t like it, and by staying out of it, you’re helping your student grow as an individual who has to make his/her own decisions (with your support, of course) – whether that is to quit their sport, or ask for permission to talk to another school about a transfer, or to appeal the loss of a scholarship.

      It can be very frustrating to be in the position your in, but let your student handle it, and it will pay dividends later in life.


  • Pete

    My son recently had his exit meeting with his coach. My son was a freshman this past year and tore his ACL at the start of the fall season so he will be getting a Medical Red Shirt for this past season. He had surgery in October and just received a full release from his teams doctor and was looking forward to playing again starting this summer. In the exit meeting his coach told him that he does not want him to play this summer. He just wants him to continue training. his coach told him if he plays baseball this summer he will lose his scholarship. My comment to my son was that I would not think it unreasonable for the coach to say if you get hurt again and cannot play next year you will loose your scholarship. I asked my son if that was what he said and he told me no I asked my coach that and he specifically said if you want to keep your scholarship you cannot play this summer. I am just curious what you think about this? I am not sure if the coach is doing this because he wants to make sure my son is healthy for next year or if he has other reasons. The College team had a really rough year and many players will be leaving and transferring from what I have heard. My son had thought about the possibility of transferring but without being able to play this past season and without getting to get some exposure after his injury this summer he will have no chance of garnering any interest. I am just not sure how to advise my son and was wondering what you thought about the coach doing this.

    • Pete,

      It is certainly possible that your son’s coach doesn’t want him playing this summer because he is concerned about him leaving. However, in my opinion, he wants to make sure your son is healthy for next year. In many cases, summer team coaches and athletic trainers (if they even have a qualified trainer) aren’t going to be as concerned about your son’s health as his college coaches and the athletic training staff that works with his team.

      He has all Fall to get ready for next spring. He doesn’t need to be in any hurry. That’s my personal opinion, and his coach may be thinking the same thing.

      Good luck to your son!


      • Pete

        Thanks for the reply. We are going forward with having my son spending the summer easing into doing speed and agility training 3 days a week and doing baseball drills on the off days for the next 2 months. Although he has been given his release from the doctor for full activity we do not feel he is fully back to where he should be and there really is no reason to take the chance of having him playing and getting injured. So in the end not playing for whatever reason is probably the best decision.
        Thanks again!

    • Devin

      It is approaching the end of my freshmen year at my college and I want to know how to tell my track coach I am planning to transfer to a college back closer to home to run track. My current college is extremely boring and has no track(practice on football field sucks). I am positive I will receive a track scholarship at this school back home because of my stats and grades but what is the appropriate way to have this meeting with my coach without telling him “your school sucks”. Allot of people transfer out this school im at but I’m looking for the most mature and positive way I am positive im leaving after this semester and going to another school next semester.

      • Devin,

        You are taking the correct approach because, depending upon the level of school that you are at, telling the coach just how you feel could result in him making your transfer much more difficult. I would simply tell him that you are looking for a school that is a better “fit” for you, and you can describe it in whatever way seems appropriate. Such as, “I want to be closer to home”, or “I want to be at a larger school with a better campus atmosphere”, or “Most of the students go home on the weekends, and I’m looking for a school where I don’t feel like I’m one of the few students who can’t go home.”


  • lilly ruiz

    I am currently a junior attending an NAIA school at the moment and came into the season not being eligible to play so I’m red shirting this season. I transferred here in the spring and I just don’t feel comfortable being here anymore. I also have an issue with the coach on how he runs things at practice. I want to get some advice from you on how I should approach my coach about this. Also would I be able to transfer to an NCAA school or what would be my eligibility like.


  • Heidi

    my son wants to go play NccaD1 but was scholarshipped and is redshirting at a NAIa how does he transfer and what is his options.

    • Hi Heidi,

      If your son’s sport is baseball, basketball, or football, he would have to sit out from competition his first year at an NCAA Div. I school since he was recruited to the NAIA school. In addition, Div. I coaches can’t talk with him about a possible transfer until they have written permission from his current school. For more detailed information on the transfer rules, contact me directly at


  • Stacey Haynes

    My son is a freshman at a D3 school playing football. He is unhappy with the program for numerous reasons. He gave up an opportunity to go to a D1 school because he was promised immediate playing time and he received quite a bit of academic money. Unfortunately, he now regrets his decision. Can he transfer to a D1 program in January? He is interested in tranferring to a D1 program in the Pioneer League which is non-scholorship. It’s a new football program and their first season will not start until August 2013. I know he will need a release but will he have to sit out a year?

    • Hi Stacey,

      Your son can transfer to a Div. I program in January, but if he was recruited to the Div. III school, which it sounds like he was, he will have to sit out during his first year at the Div. I program. If you’d like more details on the transfer rules, contact me directly at


  • JR

    Hello Rick!

    My daughter is a starting freshman for a Top 10 NAIA softball program. Though her grades are good, she is unhappy and determined to transfer to a school closer to home. We need clarification as to her options. Do the rules vary depending on whether she transfers to another NAIA versus NCAA DII versus NCAA DIII? Is a “sit out” or waiting period a possibility in any or all of those scenarios? We are of course concerned if she expresses her desire for release to her current coach prior to the season’s end, she may find herself firmly benched thereby squashing any interest from other coaches/schools. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi JR,

      If your daughter has good grades and is earning sufficient credit hours, it’s possible for her to be eligible next year at another school anywhere. There are some slight differences between NAIA, Div. II, and Div. III. If you desire further guidance and details, contact me directly at


  • Justin

    Hey Rick,

    Looking to transfer from a D1 to another D1 school for baseball. How do I go about getting my release at the end of the season? And once I have the release, how do I go about looking to join a new program?


    • Hi Justin,

      You may be interested in purchasing our downloadable transcript titled “What You Should Know About Transfers” which can be found in the Store of our website. It will provide alot of info about the transfer process.


  • Faby

    Hi Rick,
    My son was a recruited baseball player for a D2 school, he also was a international student. He had a great freshman year, played and contributed. During his sophomore year, the head coach and assistant had a falling out. Assistant coach left the program in the spring, he’s the one that recruited my son. During his sophomore year my son received no plying time. Actually all the players recruited by the assistant were not played at all. My son has asked for permissions to talk from his AD and was granted for one of the schools. The head coach now is acting like a child, treating him badly , my son is still giving 100 % in practice . My son is looking to transfer closer to home .
    I want to know if there is somewhere that Student athletes can voice their concern on coaches that just are disrespectfully, rude downright degrading athletes? My son did sign a NLI for his freshman year and renewed his scholarship second year . Does he still need a release? And can he be a walk on transfer. He is academecly eligible to transfer?
    Sorry last question eligibility for baseball is 4 or 5 years?

    Thank you Rick, I had the pleasure of meeting you at the perfect game in Iowa a few years back.
    Take care
    Baseball mom⚾

    • Hi Faby,

      I do remember meeting you at the Cedar Rapids Perfect Game event – you came down from Canada for the showcase! You’ve been a subscriber to our newsletter for a couple of years now.

      Your son basically has a five-year period during which he can use four years of eligibility. He will need a “permission to contact” form, letter, or e-mail from his current school before other coaches can talk with him about a transfer. He’ll also need to the school to agree to the “One-
      Time Transfer Exception.”

      Regarding where athletes can voice their concern, he may want to talk with the Faculty Athletics Representative at his school. Contact me directly if you have additional questions.


  • Susan

    Can you recommend any questions to ask coaches during the exit meeting. This is for D1 softball finishing freshman year. Unhappy with what coaches promised during fall and early season and what actually occurred as far as playing time, positions played. This is true for several players so I don’t want to appear whiney or extremely disgruntled (sometimes I am tho) and don’t want to sound like a recording of the other players. I am sure there are triggers I don’t want to pull. Any help is much appreciated since I am a freshman. Thanks so much

    • Susan,

      I would consider asking the following questions:

      1) What role do you see me playing on the team next year?
      2) How many players who are currently at my position are returning next year? (although you can probably get this answer by looking at the roster).
      3) How many recruits or transfers do you have coming in at my position? Are you still looking for players for that position?
      4) What skills do I need to work on this year to improve my chance of playing next year?


  • Brad

    My son is a 2013 high school graduate. He was recruited by several D1 schools. He was offered scholarship to play baseball at several D1 schools. He accepted offer at one school and committed and signed on early signing date. The coach called my son on June 12th and told him he had several pitchers who had good year and it would be difficult for him to find a spot for my son on the team. My question is , is he hoping my son gives up his scholarship and if so does my son have to get a release to talk to another school. Is it common for coaches to drop this type of news on student at this late a date.

    • Brad,

      I empathize with your son and your family – this news stinks!! First off, yes, the coach is hoping that your son goes elsewhere and chooses not to enroll there. This type of situation happens more often than it should, in my opinion, because coaches over-recruit. If one or two of their guys that they expected to get drafted and leave don’t get drafted, then they are caught in a bad situation and need to cut somebody or let somebody go.

      If your son is eligible for admission to the school and for NCAA eligibility, the school would be required to give him his scholarship if he decides to go ahead and enroll. However, it is rarely advisable to go somewhere that you’re not wanted, so I would suggest going to the website for the National Letter of Intent ( and reviewing the rules and procedures for requesting a release.

      I would also let his HS and/or travel ball coach know, if you haven’t done so already, and let them start contacting other coaches to see what schools might have interest.

      Good luck!


  • Brad

    Thanks, that was our thoughts. The bad thing was his school choice was heavily based on his academic major.

  • Brad

    An update, my son talked again to the coach regarding this and asked him about a release and he said he would, but he began to talk about my son going to a juco one year and then coming back. If my son is not released, and if he were to go back in year two, would the scholarship be gone? My son sent a request for release on June 22 and to date it is still showing as pending. Do you know what time frame it takes to process.

    • Brad,

      I believe that the school has 30 days to respond to the release request. You may want to contact me directly for a consultation to discuss your son’s options.


  • Jeanne

    Hi Rick. My son just completed a very successful freshman season as a starting pitcher at a D3 school. He recently applied and was accepted to the school of his dreams (which he would attend regardless of playing baseball), a D1 university. We know he would have to redshirt his first year, but we were wondering what the best process is of approaching a coach about being a walk-on. When does the tryout process begin? Should he send an email, and if so, what should it contain? He does not need a scholarship, and again, he’s already been admitted into the school. Any words of advice are much appreciated.

    • Jeanne,

      He must have already started attending classes at the Div. I school before he can participate in a tryout (if the coach offers a tryout). He should go by the coaches’ office on the first day or so of class and talk to the coach in person.


  • fadol

    If i played a year of division one football and my entire coaching staff got fired and i transferred to another division one can i play right away because of that? please can you reply back asap

    • Fadol,

      This would only be possible if:

      1. You aren’t on scholarship at, and weren’t recruited to, your current Div. I school,
      2. Your current school releases you to transfer elsewhere, and
      3. You meet the academic requirements to qualify for the One-Time Transfer Exception.


  • Rache

    Hello, I am a freshman NCAA Div. 1 track and field athlete. I committed early in the beginning of my senior year and feel as if I made my choice too early as I did not get to visit other schools. I love my college coach, but I do not like my school at all. I continually tell myself to stay the rest of this school year, so I can at least get my PR’s up, but every day I feel as though I am pressuring myself to be here. I know I can push myself to the end of the year, but I also realize it’s a constant struggle. I was offered such a generous scholarship, I am terrified to go to the end of the year meeting and tell my Coach that I did/ am not enjoying myself and would like my release papers. I respect the coaching staff, but am not happy with the school or the environment, plus I would like to be a little closer to family and friends. I feel as though I will be making the right decision, but what shall I be facing with my coaches and would I be able to transfer to another NCAA Div.1 school even if I participate in contest events this year?

    • Rache,

      You will need to request the permission of your coach in order to contact other schools about a possible transfer. It would be possible to be eligible next year at another school, if you are released by your current school, and meet the academic requirements for a transfer.


  • DC

    My son enrolled and received a walk-on opportunity, after meeting the coach on campus, in a D1 program far away from home. He is not receiving any scholarship or financial aid. Actually made the roster and got a solid amount of playing time as a Freshman. In conversations with the coach at the end of the season, he mentioned there may be some scholarship aid coming his way based on his play. That didn’t happen and this fall there were additional transfer players brought in and given scholarship money at his position. It’s obvious this fall that his chances of playing are minimal if he even makes the roster.

    Although my son is very appreciative for the opportunity, he wants the opportunity to compete and get an education closer to home.

    Would it be possible to transfer to a JUCO at the end of this semester without losing eligibility? Can he play in the spring?

    Thank you

    • DC,

      From an academic eligibility standpoint, it will definitely be possible for him to be eligible in the Spring at a JUCO, as long as he has earned at least 12 credit hours in each semester with at least a 2.00 GPA.

      Because my primary expertise is with NCAA rules, rather than JUCO rules, I am unsure how he would be affected if he plays in any scrimmage or exhibition games for the Div. I program this Fall. For that reason, if they do play any games this Fall against outside competition, it would be safest if he does not play in those games.


  • DC

    Thank you Rick,

    He won’t have any issues with academics, but I am worried because they do have two games scheduled in a few weeks that will count against the spring schedule. Not sure how he gets out of those without causing issues with the coach.

    Is JUCO his only option without having to sit out for a year at a new 4 yr school? He was given the opportunity to walk on, but no guarantees and made the team. Does he now have to get clearance from the coach to talk with other 4 year schools D1, D2, NAIA) I don’t feel he was a recruited player, but not that still applies because he played.

    Thank you for the time and feedback. Only have a couple of weeks to help my son make a tough decision.

    • DC,

      He can transfer to NCAA Div. II or NAIA and have the chance to be eligible next year. That is also possible at another Div. I school if he was not “recruited” to his current school. See our blog titled “NCAA Rules: Definition of a Recruited Athlete.”

      Regardless of his scholarship or recruited status, he will need to request “permission to contact” other four-year colleges before coaches at those schools can talk with him about a transfer.


  • Ty

    Mr. Allen,

    Great website. I am currently enrolled in my soph year at a DIII school, majoring in Athletic Training. I was on the roster last year, and did get some innings. We recently finished fall workouts after which each player receives an evaluation from our head coach. We did not have an exit interview at the end of last season.

    Our assistant coach tells me that i have the best hands on the team (I’m a catcher, btw) and that I’m the best receiver in the conference. He also thinks my swing is mechanically sound.

    Because of my major, I missed alot of fall workouts due to my clinical rotation. This is now an issue. My head coach told me that i can definelety help the team, and he can see me getting alot of innings, but because I missed alot of the fall, he actually suggested that i change my major. I am at a loss and do not know what do to do.

    I came here because i was told i could pursue my major and also play a varsity sport. I don’t want to make waves, but coach’s suggestion doesn’t seem right. any advice?


    • Ty,

      All NCAA schools are supposed to have a faculty member designated as the “Faculty Athletics Representative” (FAR) and one of their roles is to try to help resolve this type of situation. I can’t say for sure that a resolution is possible, as that will largely be up to the coach, but I suggest you contact your FAR and see if he or she can suggest some type of compromise.


  • Doug

    Rick: a very helpful site and service. We have a question that the rules don’t seem to answer directly. Can a D1 coach choose not to renew an athletic scholarship for the player for the year following the year of an injury where the player is medically determined to be disabled for the sport? Does it make any difference if the student had some prior history in HS with the medical issue, that was disclosed in detail to the coaches prior to signing the NLI, and later during the college season, the player suffered an additional but similar injury during the course of practice in season? Thanks for your assistance.

    • Doug,

      A coach can choose not to renew a scholarship for the following year for almost any reason they choose – injury or otherwise. The Div. I rules state that if this happens, the school must make an appeal opportunity available to the athlete, but the coach can make the decision not to renew the scholarship.


  • talon

    I wanted to ask you, what is the transfer rules (for football) going from Division 1 A to Division 1 AA? If you go down, will you have to sit out a year in order to be eligible? Also if you graduate and have 1 year of eligibility left can you transfer to any school that you would like and be eligible immediately?

    • Talon,

      It’s possible to go from an FBS school to an FCS school and not sit out a year, if you have two years of eligibility remaining and meet the academic eligibility requirements. If you graduate and have one year remaining to play, you can transfer and play immediately, but the school you leave must agree to the transfer.


  • Jerry

    My daughter is a “preferred walk on” at a D1 school in the east playing softball this year. She has three people at her primary position ahead of her so will most likely not see any playing time this season. She understands this but is also considering a transfer for a number of reasons. The main one is that the school she really wanted to go to didn’t have a softball program but is starting one this fall. She would love to go there and have the opportunity to play. She is also unsure of her future with her current team. The school she is considering transferring to is currently recruiting players. The question is whether she should talk to her coach now (there is still most of the season left) or wait until the end of the season. She doesn’t want to miss out on the period of time that the other school is recruiting but also doesn’t know if bringing it up when there is still so much of her current season left is a good idea. Also, would she even be eligible to play next season at the other school?

    • Jerry,

      Your daughter will need to weigh her desire to make contact soon with the school that she’s interested in, versus the possibility that her current coach may cut her from the team for not being fully committed to her current team in the midst of their season. Hopefully, the coach would not take such action since there are three athletes in front of her, but I’ve seen it happen.

      It would be possible for her to be eligible next year at the other school.


  • Justin


    I am currently at a Division 1 program for track and field, and am receiving a scholarship but not very much as well as not very much financial aid from the government. I am also not happy with the school that I attend and am looking to transfer to another Division 1 in state school where I have been offered a walk on spot. I signed with a coach that was at one point in her career #2 in the nation in a specific event. Over the summer, I received an email that was spur of the moment letting us all know that she would no longer be coaching. I respect my event-specific coach as it his first year coaching, but am not sure what to expect when I tell them that I plan on transferring. Also, when would be the best time to tell them this…
    Thank you! – Justin

    • Justin,

      I suggest you tell them this at or near the end of the season, unless you are prepared for the possibility that they may cut you from the team for not being fully committed to your current school in the midst of your season.


  • Donna

    Hi Rick,
    Question? My daughter plays for a D1 school. She transferred from anoter D1 school in the fall, where she was told in her exit interview that there was no future for her on the team, and she would not get play time desptie a solid performance. She was realeased without issue (she was not on scholarship, but a walk on). Now she is at her new school, with play time issues again. Here is what I need to know – as we look at the stats, there are players ahead of her with batting averages of less than 100. What does my daughter say to the coach? She had a great fall (3 hits/3 walks), but now in the spring he seems reluctent to play her, but always goes to his older “standbys” even though they are strikin out and making errors. What is your advice? Thank you!!

    • Donna,

      I suggest that she confidently, but respectfully, approach the coach and state that she believes she can help the team win if given a chance to contribute. Depending upon how the coach responds, she may then want to ask what she needs to work on in order to get more playing time. Also, she needs to stay mentally strong and make the best that she can of this situation, because if she transfers again to another Div. I or even a Div. II program, she’ll be ineligible during her first year at the next school.


  • TJ


    My son received a baseball scholarship at a d2 school but red-shirted his true freshman season. His coaches tell him he will have a major role on the team the next few years but my son isnt having fun at all. He wants to transfer to a school closer to home and not play baseball. When should he inform his coaches about his plans? Does he need to ask for a release? What about if he decides to play in a year or 2?


    • TJ,

      Your son will need “permission to contact” from his current school before coaches at other NCAA schools can discuss a possible transfer with him, if he is considering playing at another NCAA school. If your son informs the coaches about his plans prior to the end of the season, they could choose to kick him off the team for not being fully committed to their program. So, probably better to wait until the season is over.

      If you would like to discuss his situation, I’ll be glad to do so. I frequently consult with athletes and/or parents on the eligibility rules, and the steps in the transfer process. All consultations are completely confidential.

      If a consultation is of interest, contact me directly at and we’ll schedule a time to talk.


  • Bill

    I attend a D2 school for wrestling and I am on scholarship. I do not really like it here and I want to transfer to a D1 school close to home and continue wrestling. The season just ended. When my exit meeting comes up should I tell my coach that I plan to transfer and want permission to contact? Or do I asked to be released? I’m not clear on what to say.

    • Bill,

      My primary advice on what to say is that you shouldn’t cite reasons such as “poor coaching” or “you never gave me a chance to show what I can do” for why you want to transfer. For info on the steps in the transfer process, you may be interested in our “Informed Athlete’s Guide to Transfers” which can be purchased from the Store of our website. Here’s a link to the Transfer Guide:


  • Jean

    i accepted a scholarship offers from a div. school I played a little my freshman year, as expected. We had a strong senior year class and I rotated to get my feet we. There was no end of season meetings.My sophomore year was better,mI played more but continued to work hard in practice. Im a shooter and we had a great senior shooter and I was out in when she needed a break.
    Our coach was fired. Our new coach had me playing every game off the bench, which i preferred. Her first year was a little rocky, she had never coached before. I had no reason to think that the end of the year meeting would be anything but smooth. When I walked n was attacked, I was stunned,nbecause up until now the environment was supportive, as a team we respected her and she respected us. But to say I was bullied, pit in a corner and insulted as a player and person. She did not give me room to ask questions. When I tried she undermined the question as if it were unimportant. One of the freshman requested a transfere. I’m not. It will be my senior year. I was one of the good ones andmI was sliced and diced. Should I go back with questions because there is no clarity on my end. I’ve never been treated like this before.Im never late, I’m encouraging on the bench, and a team player. Never late,Malays early. What should at do.

    • Jean,

      Since it will be your senior year, I think it is a good idea to go back with questions. You might also want to make some notes on what you are told. While I understand that you may not even want to think about this possibility, if you’re not in her plans for next year, it’s better to find out now rather than in the middle of your senior season.


  • k

    Hi Rick,
    My son is a freshman baseball player at a D111 school. The school is not the right fit for him and he would like to transfer to a D11 or another D111 school. He is struggling to find a time to ask for permission to contact other programs. It looks like his current team could go to regionals and he is afraid if he waits to long he will not be able to catch on with another college. He probably will not dress out for his conference tournament or regionals.

    • K,

      Since your son probably won’t dress for the postseason, I suggest he asks for his “permission to contact” other schools before the team starts postseason play.


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