Three years ago I wrote a post on “What Do College Softball Coaches Want?” and with the new year, I thought I would revisit the topic and see what, if anything, has changed. This time I looked at the recruiting questionnaires of the top 13 D1 softball programs. Why 13 instead of 12 as before? No meaningful reason, I copied one row too many and had already started looking up information by the time I realized it.
Well, has anything changed? I think the biggest change is the growing irrelevance of recruiting questionnaires to the softball recruiting process. Early recruiting has only become earlier and more wide-spread. The fact of the matter is that if players wait until their junior year to complete and submit these forms thinking they may have a chance to play for these schools, they’re wrong. By the time the coach is actually allowed to officially respond to the questionnaires, they will already be recruiting the class behind the current high school juniors, and often sophomores.
This is probably why two of the schools, Michigan and Florida State, don’t even bother with recruiting forms–at least none that I could find. However, in both cases it was very easy to find information on their upcoming camps which aren’t limited to juniors and above. Coincidence? I think not.
While the questionnaires may have limited value in terms of actually getting recruited, I think the information requested tells us something about college softball recruiting in general. For example, only 4 of the 11 forms even ask for information about the high school coach. The others are asking for ASA, summer, club, or travel ball coaches. And they often want as many details about the club as they do about the high school in general. I’m sure this surprises no one currently involved in softball recruiting.
The information most frequently requested includes the expected such as NCAA Eligibility ID, GPA, graduation year, test scores, jersey number, height, weight, and position.
Some of the other fields are a bit more interesting. More schools request information about the players’ parents alma maters or the names and ages of siblings than if they bat or throw right or left-handed. More evidence that recruiting isn’t just about putting up the numbers. And 7 of the schools want to know the name of the person who will have the most influence on which school you decide to attend. Can’t blame them since many players won’t even be old enough to drive when they commit.
Then there is the odd stuff. James Madison wants to know your high school mascot. University of Louisiana at Lafayette asks if you’ve ever eaten crawfish. I guess using it as bait doesn’t count.
Then there’s Alabama that only offers a PDF form. I wonder how many people actually complete the form since some of the fields are just silly–favorite color, CMT or MTV, favorite candy, and more. But maybe that’s why it’s still a PDF, no valuable computing space is being used to save this information.
Just remember, while there may be no point for softball players to complete the questionnaire until they’re actually being recruited, they need to make sure they include the relevant information on their own profiles. But they can probably skip listing their pets.