This shouldn’t be a surprising statement to anyone involved in sports and trying to get recruited. After all, every sport starts off with the most basic of numbers, wins and losses, or first, second, and third place. Potential college players and their families have probably spent a significant amount of time and money the last few years trying to improve their personal numbers to increase their odds (more numbers) of getting an athletic scholarship. But you need to pay attention to more than your personal numbers if you’re serious about getting recruited to play in college.
The following are four sets of numbers you need to be aware of if you really want to get recruited for an athletic scholarship.
1. Odds of Playing in College
Not all colleges support teams in all sports. According to the NCAA, there are 301 D1 colleges with baseball teams but only 207 with men’s soccer teams. However, at the D3 level, men’s soccer outnumbers baseball with 412 teams compared to 386 for baseball. Knowing the number of teams available at each level is essential to start the athletic recruiting process.
Getting recruited means you also need to consider the competition for spots on the teams with programs. Chances are that there’s a big difference between the number of people who you think are as good as you and those that actually exist. Just because you haven’t seen the players, doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. Just start counting the number of high schools in each state. Then compare it to the number of college programs and you can start to get some idea of what you’re up against.
2. Athletic Scholarship Statistics
Each sport is allowed a different number and types of scholarships. They are not proportional to the size of the team rosters. In other words, they are NOT distributed equally among all of the sports. Furthermore, most colleges do not fully fund all of their allowable scholarships. This means that getting recruited to play at the college level is not the same thing as getting an athletic scholarship. The majority of college athletes do not have an athletic scholarship.
3. Academic Numbers Make a Difference in Getting Recruited
GPA and test scores count (although there are exceptions under pandemic conditions). If players want to get recruited for an athletic scholarship, they need to meet the minimum requirements established by the NCAA or NAIA. And remember, these are minimums, conferences and schools often have more stringent requirements.
Another thing to keep in mind is the competition. If a coach has a choice between two players of similar talent, he’s going to take the one with better academic qualifications. After all, it makes it easier to get the player through admissions and he won’t worry about him staying academically eligible while at college. Academics isn’t just about eligibility, it’s about making it as easy as possible for the coach to recruit you.
4. Personal Statistics
Players who match their athletic statistics to the appropriate college level are much more likely to get recruited for an athletic scholarship. You can get a general idea of how your statistics measure up at websites like NCSA. This shouldn’t be considered the final word but it will let you know what expectations you might be dealing with.
Also, before you spend time targeting a coach, take a few minutes to review the team roster’s statistics. If your numbers fall outside the range of those of existing team members, you might better spend your time focusing on another school. Then there’s the obvious, check to see if there is even a likely opening at your position. You can be the greatest first baseman in the world but if the coach is looking for a short stop, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
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