The term ‘recruit’ gets thrown out there a lot, and everyone seems to have a slightly different definition for it. We continue to come across players that aren’t sure if they are considered a recruit. In these situations, the coach has shown a level of interest, but at what point is a player officially a college baseball recruit and what does that mean?
The NCAA considers a player to be recruited if any of the following things occur:
- 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.
Understanding if you are being recruited can help you gauge a coach’s level of commitment to you. 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, so cutting a player on scholarship is something we typically don’t see. Coaches have a higher level of investment in players that they are financially committed to. Players can lose their scholarship money after the first year for a variety of reasons, but 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, 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 pattern of recruited players getting cut could also result in a bad reputation for a program. 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.
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 throughout their college and professional careers. Having said this, more often than not, walk on’s get cut, and their hopes of playing college athletics end there. We’re certainly not discouraging players from trying out for a college baseball team. It’s actually a commendable thing to do. Just go into it knowing that the coach has a higher level of commitment to some other players that have been recruited and are receiving scholarship money.
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.