If you’re a high school recruit competing for an athletic scholarship offer, have you defined your college experience expectations? 

Do you want to compete at the highest level possible and try to win a championship for your team – whether that’s a conference, regional, or national championship?

Or, will you be completely happy if you’re enjoying college, making lifelong friendships, and possibly participating on a junior varsity college team to stay physically active and spend more time with some of your new friends?

Many colleges at both the NCAA and NAIA level use their athletic teams to boost their enrollment numbers. 

But, some programs take that even a step further by adding junior varsity teams to the athletic program.  Those coaches might recruit you to join their teams with the opportunity of being promoted to the varsity level at some point in your college career, but they may primarily be looking to just boost college enrollment.

Don’t get me wrong – if you will be happy being on the JV team and not having as many commitments on your time as you would have with practice and travel commitments of a varsity program, then that’s great.

The point I want to make is to be sure you ask – especially at smaller colleges – if they have both a varsity and junior varsity team in your sport, and where the coach sees you fitting into the program.  As the article that I’ve linked below describes, the coach may be more interested in your participation to boost college enrollment rather than for the talent that you can provide to help their team win.
http://blog.naia.org/index.php/2017/11/06/goshen-college-boosting-recruitment-with-junior-varsity-athletics/

If you’re a high school recruit and have questions, click here to learn how to schedule a confidential consult or contact us directly at 913-766-1235.

I have been asked my opinion about the NCAA Division I Coaching Scandal regarding the news that four NCAA DI assistant college basketball coaches have been arrested on charges of corruption and bribery in allegedly using funds from shoe company contracts (directly or indirectly) to entice recruits to enroll at their universities.

This morning I sent out an email to our newsletter subscribers and after receiving alot of feedback, I’m posting it on our website as well.

I have many thoughts on this topic given my many years as a compliance director at two major NCAA universities, as well as a consultant to athletes and families through InformedAthlete.com: 

The Division I men’s basketball programs are just the tip of the iceberg, I believe.  This investigation could easily continue for another year if not more, and could stretch into other sports programs.

One reason I believe this will involve other sports is the increasing contracts that coaches are signing in many sports.  It’s very common for the coaches’ salary to come in part from their shoe or apparel deals.

If you’re a high-level recruit, you should be aware that when you are asked to answer the “amateurism” questions in the NCAA Eligibility Center, the NCAA may be looking at your answers as to any travel teams you played on, and the companies or businesses that sponsor those teams, with much more scrutiny.

It was just reported that NIKE’s EYBL summer basketball organization has been issued subpoenas for documents and employee records.

Any athletes (or families of athletes) who accepted enticements or benefits from coaches or shoe companies will almost certainly be ruled ineligible!  

It’s only human nature for a prospect to sign with the coaching staff (particularly the coach who was the “lead recruiter” for a prospect) whom they feel most comfortable with and have the best “connection” with.

College sports – especially at the major Division I level – is a BIG business.  Except, when it’s your son or daughter who is a collegiate student-athlete, its personal! 

Those coaches are influenced by entities ranging from the major shoe companies to the local businesses that sponsor the coach’s weekly radio show or provide them with the use of a “courtesy car.” They do not always have the best interests of the athlete as their primary focus.

You need to research the schools and the coaches just as much as they are researching you (your athletic ability, your academic standing, your social media activity, etc.)

It’s easy for a recruit to be swayed by the “arms race” in college athletic facilities and amenities, and sign with a university that has the newest facilities and the most game-day uniform options, but is that going to have any impact on the education you receive or the lifelong friends you can make at your college?

As an example, while our son certainly enjoyed the opportunity to compete in college baseball in one of the major conferences and play in front of some large college baseball crowds, the season that may have been the most “fun” for him was his senior year with a Division II program where they played with a common goal of reaching the post-season rather than what round they would be drafted.

My advice to student-athletes (and their parents):  Choose a college not just for the relationship you believe you will have with the coaching staff, but consider also whether you will still be happy at that university if you were to become hurt and no longer able to participate in your sport.

  • Can you be happy with the size of the campus and the number of students in a large freshman-level class?
  • Are there things to do in the community if many of the students go home on the weekends?
  • Will you be happy if you can’t go home very often, or if your family won’t be able to attend many of your games?

Almost 10 years ago, we started Informed Athlete because we saw so many high school and college athletes and families making bad decisions and struggling because of poor advice and incorrect information regarding NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA rules.

Through the years, our goal has remained the same:  
To help guide student-athletes and their parents as they navigate through challenges related to transfers, waivers & appeals, eligibility issues, and recruiting rules by providing accurate information and advice so that the student-athlete and their family can make an informed decision that is in their best interest!

If you have any questions or need advice, please call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com. 

A recruiting coach’s job is to sell their school in the best light possible.
YOUR job as a recruit or parent of a college recruit is to have as much accurate information as possible to make a decision that is based on what is the best fit for you!

Many athletes make their choice based on incomplete or inaccurate info received during the recruiting visit and then later come to regret their decision and want to transfer.
A transfer from one university to another can be extremely stressful and also very costly if a scholarship isn’t available at the next college, and if some academic credits won’t transfer to the next university.
In almost 10 years of working with college athletes and their families as well as many years prior to that as a Division I compliance director, we’ve learned that many transfers occur because an athlete or family didn’t know what to expect, which questions to ask, or what to look for when they were making campus visits.
Our Informed Athlete’s Comprehensive Guide to Campus Visitsincludes:

  • The rules regarding official and unofficial visits for athletic recruiting
  • Walks you “behind the scenes” and gives you a real-life example of what you can expect during a campus visit
  • Includes questions to ask and things to look for when making those campus visits so you can make a more informed decision.

Click here to get your copy via email
so you can make the most of your campus visits
and make an informed decision!  

We also offer Recruiting Advisory Consult Calls where you can ask questions regarding anything related to the recruiting process, including preparing for your official and/or unofficial campus visits and reviewing what you learned during the visit, discuss any scholarship or walk-on offers that were made, etc.

As always, anything you share is held in very strict confidence!  Informed Athlete’s is only concerned with what is in the athlete’s best interest!

Give our office a call at 913-766-1235 to schedule an appointment with Rick!

I recently talked to the dad of an athlete who had withdrawn from her university (where she had an athletic scholarship) because the coursework got to be too much for her and she was struggling in her classes.

He told me his daughter was diagnosed with an education-impacting disability (or learning disability) in high school and did well academically at that level with proper accommodations.  However, during the college recruiting process, they did not inform the coaches about her need for assistance.

This is very common because athletes and sometimes their parents think it makes them look weak and therefore, don’t want to share such information with a college coach.  You can imagine what their reasoning is:

  • Will the coach view me differently because of my disability?
  • Will they withdraw their scholarship offer?
  • Will they try to force me to transfer to another college after I’m already a member of their team?

It’s understandable that families wrestle with such questions. But if you’re in this situation or know of someone who is, here are a couple of things to consider.

  • When making a campus visit, be sure to stop in or, better yet, schedule time with the Academic and Student Support Services offices to ask about services offered for learning disabilities.
  • Be honest and up front with the coaching staff during the recruiting process.  While you might find out that, yes, they do appear to be showing reduced interest and might withdraw their scholarship offer, would it not be better to find out the character of the coaches and their true concern for your athlete during the recruiting process rather than after the athlete has started their college career at that college?

If you have questions regarding recruiting visits and how to approach a coach about potential accommodations for learning disabilities and other recruiting issues, call Informed Athlete at 913-766-1235 to schedule a consult.  All consultations are private and confidential.

As of October of 2017, prospects who have completed high school can now take an additional set of 5 official visits to NCAA Division I universities, even if they already took 5 official visits while they were in high school. 

There are restrictions for athletes currently enrolled in another 4-year college, and for junior college athletes if they were not a “Qualifier,” based on their high school record.

However, this is an opportunity for athletes who delayed their initial college enrollment or for junior college athletes who were academic “Qualifiers” coming out of high school to take additional official visits to NCAA Division I universities.

If you have any questions about the official visit rules, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Another resource that you might be interested in is our “Informed Athlete’s Comprehensive Guide to Campus Visits” to help make the most of your recruiting experience.

We’re sharing a story from an Informed Athlete client.  His story is not an uncommon one; in fact, you might be facing a similar situation.

His story illustrates how easy it is to make mistakes when you don’t know what questions to ask or what things to look for when talking with college coaches or visiting campus.

“Rick Allen and Informed Athlete is an invaluable resource to athletes and their parents for the D1 Baseball recruiting, transferring and signing process.

I only wish that we knew of Rick and his company when our son was in high school going through the recruiting process.  Our son turned down scholarship offers from several schools to play at his “dream school.” 

What we did not know was that D1 baseball only has 11.7 scholarships to give to 27 members of their 35 man baseball roster.  That meant that 8 players on the roster were not “on money.”

We were ignorant and did not know that this meant those players (along with any walk-ons), could be cut from the team after fall practice and not count against the 35 man roster. In other words, the 27 players on money counted against the roster in the Spring so they were very unlikely to get cut no matter what for that year.

Of course, our dream school did not tell us this.  Worse yet, since they had officially recruited my son,  he could not simply  transfer to another D1 school that wanted him without sitting out a year.

Rick Allen guided us through the transfer from his D1 school to a JUCO program and helped us navigate very difficult and confusing rules on how that transfer had to occur if my son was going to transfer back to a D1 program after a year in JUCO. 

Without his help and guidance, I am confident that my son’s career would be in serious jeopardy, if not over completely.  Instead, he is thriving at his new D1 program.

College athletics is BIG BUSINESS that makes BIG MONEY. Do not let your son get caught in a numbers game or be put on the shelf like a commodity until the players in front of him move on. 

Rick Allen can guide you step by step on every decision so you are armed with the knowledge to ask the right questions of your recruiting coach and program.

Do not risk your son’s career or trust that D1 programs have his best interest in mind.  It’s all about the money, so get informed today by the best in the business. 

Thank you Rick!!!!!   Finally, someone with knowledge that we could trust and rely upon for the advice we needed.”