FAQ – Student-Athlete

FAQ

COLLEGE EXPOSURE PROCESS

Common Questions You May Have

For any and all question's that are not listed below please contact us at Info@PlayInCollege.info

Keep in mind, the one element that is most likely missing in your Athletic Scholarship search is simply ensuring that as many college coaches as possible know who you are and they know you want to PlayInCollege.

What is the difference between Exposure and Recruiting?

Exposure is simply ensuring that your intentions are known to as many people as possible.
Recruiting is complex and pertains to specific roles for specific purposes.

Ask yourself this question: Do you want a specific coach looking for a specific skill-set or would you prefer a bunch of coaches who are interested in your particular skill-set?

Our Motto is simple... We Let The Coaches Decide!

We do not tell any aspiring Student-Athlete that he/she can belong to a certain conference, team, or region.

What is the NCAA?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association oversees the rules and regulations of many college athletic departments. The NCAA is broken up into three Divisions, depending on sport: Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3. Football and Basketball also have a Division 1A. Each division has specific rules that the athletic departments, coaches and athletes need to abide by in order to stay eligible.

What is the difference between the NCAA divisions?

The main difference between the different NCAA divisions is their ability to give athletic scholarships to student-athletes. Division 1, 1-A and 2 can give athletic scholarships. Division 3 schools can not give athletic scholarships, but the school can give academic scholarships and other types of financial aide.

What is the NAIA?

The NAIA stands for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The NAIA oversees the college sports programs for over 300 college athletic departments. The typical NAIA school competes at the level of an average NCAA Division 2 program. Normally an NAIA school is smaller than an NCAA school, but in many cases they can offer more scholarships per sport.

What is the NCJAA?

The NJCAA is the National Junior College Athletic Association. Junior college is an excellent way to get both a quality education and play college sports at an affordable price. NJCAA member schools in Division 1 and 2 can offer athletic scholarships. NJCAA Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships. Some student-athletes find it beneficial to study and play at a Junior College before transferring to a 4 year university–it gives them two more years to mature academically and athletically.

What is the NCCAA?

The NCCAA is the National Christian College Athletic Association. Many NCCAA colleges are also NCAA or NAIA members. The NCCAA is divided into Division 1 and 2 schools. Only NCCAA Division 1 schools can offer athletic scholarships.

What is the NCAA Clearinghouse?

The NCAA department that used to be called the clearinghouse is now known as the eligibility center. The eligibility center is the organization that determines if you are academically eligible to play college athletics. In high school there are a certain number of core courses required, minimum GPA, and ACT/SAT scores you need in order to qualify. You only need to register with the eligibility center if you plan on playing at the NCAA Division 1, 2, 3, or Undecided levels. Our suggestion is to register under DIV 1. To register go to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

What are my chances of playing college sports?

Very few Student-Athletes receive Athletic Scholarships to PlayInCollege.  A little less than 3% of students live the dream of being a College Athlete and even fewer students make it to the Professional Level.

However, there are various options to increase your odds: NCAA Division 1, 2 & 3 programs as well as NAIA and Junior College Programs all offer College Athletics. Your chances are significantly increased with exposure.

What is a NCAA National Letter of Intent (NLI)?

An NLI or national letter of intent is the written commitment that you give a school during your senior year stating that you will attend that school the following year and accept their offer for athletic financial aide (athletic scholarship). You only have to sign an NLI if you are receiving some sort of athletic scholarship from the school. There are only certain dates when you can sign your NLI and this is different for each sport. Once you have signed an NLI you are committed to that school for an entire year and can no longer be recruited by any other schools.

How good am I and where can I compete?

Our Exposure Specialists do not rate or determine your over-all skill-set.  We simply communicate on your behalf and Let The Coaches Decide.  We receive honest feedback from all levels and initiate the communication between you and the college coach that wants to present you with an offer.

What should I look for in a college or university?

Look for the best fit for you. A great question to ask yourself is, “Would I consider attending this school even if I’m not going to play sports?”

Does the college have the academic majors and social features that are suited to you? What are the graduation rates for student-athletes and in what sports? Do you want to live at home, close to home, or be as far away from home as possible?

What size school do you want to attend? Are you willing to go to a college affiliated with a religious denomination that is not your own?

How do I know if I will play?

During the process ask the coach if you are being recruited for a starting position or to add depth to the team. Ask about the student-athlete that currently holds that position, how do you stack up against them, and what year they are in school. Coaches often have a good idea of what positions are set for the following year. Always keep in mind that your primary goal is a quality college education.

When am I allowed to contact college coaches?

According to eligibility rules you are allowed to contact college coaches at any time. It is against the rules for a coach to contact you at certain times but if you initiate the conversation or contact they can reply. Make sure that when you make contact you have something noteworthy to tell them or have well thought-out questions to ask–you don’t want to be known as the recruit who wastes their time.

Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar 

What is an unofficial visit?

An unofficial visit is a visit that you take to a college campus at your own expense. Unofficial visits can be taken at anytime and as many times as you would like. While on an unofficial visit the athletic department is allowed to give you up to 3 tickets to a sporting event, but no other perks or gifts.

What is an official visit?

An official visit is a visit that you make to a college paid for by the team or athletic department. The school is able to pay for transportation, lodging, meals and reasonable entertainment for the recruit while they are on their visit. The visit may be up to 48 hours long. Official visits can only be taken in an athlete’s senior year and each recruit can make up to five visits.

When should I start the exposure process?

The perfect time to start your exposure process really depends on the sport. A good rule of thumb is to start your freshman year.

During your Freshman year, you will want to meet with your high school counselor and come up with an academic game plan. Make sure you are meeting all the needs of the NCAA and NAIA in addition to the specific colleges that interest you. Look for summer camps that will help you develop as a student-athlete and gain you some valuable exposure to coaches as well.

During your Sophomore year, research programs you are interested in and contact coaches. The summer after your sophomore year you should consider attending the camps held by those teams.

Your Junior year is the most important in the recruiting process. This is the year coaches will be looking at your statistics and the admissions department will be looking at your academic achievements. Make sure you have already established a relationship with coaches so that when your senior year starts they already know who you are and you are interested in their program.

By the time you start your senior year you should have narrowed down your list of possible schools to five or six. If you have not already established a relationship with the coach you should do it now.

How important are grades and test scores?

Getting good grades and having good test scores is just as important as having good statistics in your sport. A coach can only recruit you if you are academically eligible to compete at that specific school. Not only do you have to qualify for the academic requirements of the NCAA or NAIA but you will want to make sure you know what the academic requirements are for the school you are interested in attending. For instance, if you have a 2.0 GPA and 22 ACT you will not qualify for Ivy League schools, but you could qualify for some Div 1 schools. However, if you have a 5.0 GPA and pefect ACT/SAT score you will qualify for every school.

Don’t believe the myth that a coach can get you into the school if he wants you bad enough. A coach still has to answer to the University, NCAA, or NAIA about the GPA and graduation rates of their athletes. Most coaches won’t gamble on a student-athlete who hasn’t demonstrated he can handle the academic responsibilities of the school.

Remember it’s called Student-Athlete. You need to perform in both!

Does my athletic scholarship cover my entire time in school?

An athletic scholarship is a contract that must be signed and agreed upon every year by both the coach and the athlete. This means your scholarship is year-to-year. Every year you will have to earn a renewal of your scholarship by proving yourself as an asset to the team on the field and in the classroom.

Will I still need to pay for school if I have a scholarship?

Now is the time to start your research on college finances. You certainly want the best deal for yourself and the least amount of debt possible when you graduate. Text books alone can cost more than $1,000 a year. Many athletic programs will not offer you a full-ride scholarship but rather a partial athletic scholarship, which means you will have to come up with the additional funding.

Are you prepared to pay for college even if you have an athletic scholarship?

An athletic scholarship is a great way to get a quality education while competing in the sport you love, but just because you are good at your sport doesn’t mean that the cost of college will go away. A majority of athletic scholarships are partial scholarships.

What kinds of schools can offer athletic scholarships?

NCAA Division I & II schools, NAIA schools, and some Junior Colleges are all eligible to give athletic scholarships. NCAA Division III schools are able to give other types of scholarships and financial aid.

Can you still play college sports without getting an athletic scholarship?

Absolutely. Scholarship athletes are student-athletes who are invited to be on a team. However, there are more spots on the team than allowed scholarships. Students who try out and make a collegiate athletic team are called walk-ons.

If you are looking to walk-on to a team make sure you contact the coach to find out if there are available spots, when try-outs are, and what they are looking for in their athletes.

Can my High School or Club Coach help me get recruited?

You should always involve your coaches in your exposure process. College coaches value the recommendation of other coaches, but don’t rely on others to do your process for you. You alone should be heading up your exposure process. If your coaches want to get involved you should ask them for letters of recommendation or if they are willing to be listed as references on your resume.

Recruiting help is always appreciated, but you should always take the lead in your own process.

How important is timing when I’m trying to get recruited?

Timing is everything. Coaches recruit based on what they need to complete their team. If you play a position or do an event that the team is currently strong in chances are they will not need to recruit you. When looking at programs you will want to research their current roster to see what their depth chart is relative to your talents.

How early can I give a verbal agreement?

You can give a verbal agreement at any time in the exposure process. This verbal agreement is telling a coach that you intend on joining their program. You should keep in mind that a verbal agreement is not binding if there is a coaching change or if you have a career ending injury a school does not have to offer a scholarship. Even though a verbal agreement is not binding student athletes that break verbal agreements are not looked favorably upon. Once the signing date for your sport approaches you will sign a NLI with the school that will make the scholarship agreement binding and official.

Should I sign early with a college?

Signing early means that you are signing a National Letter of Intent (or NLI) with a school in November of your senior year. This does not mean that you are giving the school a verbal commitment.

Signing your NLI during the early signing period is a great way to take the pressure off the recruiting process if you are sure that this is the offer that is best for you. Remember that once you sign an NLI you are committed to that school and you can no longer be recruited by other programs.

If you break your NLI you do not have to go to that school, however, you can not accept a scholarship or play for any other program the following year. Recruiting is a very exciting time, but make sure you are doing your research and making wise decisions.

Where can I find the NCAA rules and regulations?

Recruiting rules change every year. Check with the NCAA and the NAIA to make sure you have the most accurate information. You should also be able to review the rules in the compliance department of the school's athletic department that you are interested in. Make sure you review all the rules while you are in the recruiting process. Do not make yourself ineligible because you did not know the rules.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law that states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This law means that there needs to be equality in men’s and women’s athletic programs. Schools must maintain a male/female ratio for athletic teams based on the student enrollment for that school.

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