What does it mean to be a “Preferred Walk-on”

I get lots of emails from parents stating that their son/daughter was offered a “preferred walk-on” spot and they frequently have been lead to believe it means more than it does.

So, what DOES it mean to be a preferred walk-on?

It means only what the coaching staff at that particular college intends it to mean.

  • At one college being a preferred walk-on may mean that you are treated just like any scholarship athlete, guaranteed a spot on the roster through the end of your season, and may even see playing time if you earn it.
  • At another college, however, it may only mean that you don’t have to go through an open tryout at the start of the school year to be a member of the practice squad.  You could be subject, however, to be cut from the team at any time.

In certain sports, especially Division I baseball which has an NCAA roster limit of 35 players during the spring season, preferred walk-ons are subject to be cut from the team prior to the start of the season.

If a Division I baseball team has more than 35 athletes on their Fall practice roster, any walk-on athlete, whether “preferred” or not, needs to be aware that they are at risk of not being retained on the 35-man roster.

If you’d like to discuss your offer of a preferred walk-on spot, or you are a current college walk-on and think that you may be cut from your team, contact me at 913-766-1235 or by sending an e-mail to rick@informedathlete.com to schedule a consultation to review your options.

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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