Now that the excitement and media attention devoted to National Letter of Intent “Signing Day” for football recruits is starting to wear off, college coaches are going back to work by recruiting walk-ons to their teams to fill roster spots for kickers, punters, long snappers, and other positions to provide depth on their teams.

We frequently see announcements on social media that an athlete has accepted a “preferred walk-on” offer from a coaching staff – not just for football, but for many different sports.  There’s a lot of confusion about and we get many calls regarding what preferred walk-on status means for a student-athlete.

What exactly is a preferred walk-on?

That term actually means nothing more than whatever that coaching staff intends it to mean. At one university, a preferred walk-on may be guaranteed a spot on the team roster. At another university, it may only mean that they don’t have to go through an open tryout to join the team as a practice player.

What is more important for a preferred walk-on in certain sports and situations is whether the student-athlete was “recruited” to their university as defined by the NCAA.

This can be an important factor for a student-athlete transferring from a non-scholarship athletic program (such as from an Ivy League team or Division III) to a Division I program.

For NCAA Division I basketball or football athletes receiving an academic scholarship from their university, it can also impact whether the athlete has an opportunity to play for their team in their first year at that university.

Do you Have Questions?

If you have questions about the preferred walk-on status, or the definition of a “recruited athlete” and how it affects your athlete, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online or contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.