College Baseball Recruit Defined

College Baseball Recruit Defined and Explained

People frequently use the term ‘recruit’ with varying definitions. We continue to encounter players who are unsure if they qualify as recruits. In these situations, the coach has shown a level of interest. At what point is a player officially a college baseball recruit and what does that mean?

According to the NCAA, a player is technically being ‘recruited’ if any of the following occurs:

  • A college coach calls you more than once.
  • A coach contacts you off campus.
  • A college coach pays your expenses to visit the campus.
  • For Division I and Division II programs, you are issued a National Letter of Intent or a written offer of financial aid.

Gauging a coach’s level of commitment to you can be achieved by understanding if you are being recruited. To assess this, it’s best to separate players into three different categories; recruited players on scholarship, recruited players not on scholarship, and walk on players.

Players on Scholarship

When a coach offers a player a scholarship, it is good for only one year. A scholarship is the closest thing to a guaranteed spot on the roster. If the player does not make the team, which is pretty rare, he would still receive the scholarship for the full academic year. Coaches have a limited amount of scholarship money to spread across thirty to forty players. Cutting a player on scholarship is something we typically don’t see. Players who coaches are financially committed to receive a higher level of investment from them. Players can lose their scholarship money after the first year for a variety of reasons. If you are currently on an athletic scholarship, you shouldn’t be concerned about your spot on the team.

College Baseball Recruit not on Scholarship

Generally speaking, coaches also have a high level of commitment to their recruited players. This still holds true even if they are not on scholarship. These are the players that the coach has shown clear interest in, and in some cases persuaded them to play for their program. While recruited players don’t always pan out long term, it’s pretty rare that a recruited player would not make the team their freshman year. Additionally, a program could develop a bad reputation if it develops a pattern of cutting recruited players. If the word gets out that recruited players frequently don’t have a roster spot, prospective college baseball players might tend to avoid that program. This would make recruiting much more challenging. There are programs that have a bad reputation, so you need to be aware of this throughout your college baseball search.

Walk On’s

Lastly, coaches don’t have any level of commitment to walk on players. These are players that are simply taking a shot that they can demonstrate their talent throughout the tryout process. Some of the best underdog stories come from walk on players who made the team and have success. Having said this, coaches often cut walk-ons, ending their hopes of playing college athletics. We’re certainly not discouraging players from trying out for a college baseball team. It’s actually a commendable thing to do. Just know that the coach has recruited other players and is giving them scholarship money, indicating a higher level of commitment towards them.

To wrap things up, knowing if you are a college baseball recruit is pretty important. It can help you better understand a coach’s level of commitment to you, which will enable you to set realistic expectations as you start your college baseball journey. For a player on scholarship, it’s fair to assume that there is a roster spot waiting for you. If you fall in the other two categories, it can become a little more uncertain. The best advice that we can give is to keep an open line of communication with the coaching staff to understand their level of commitment to you.

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