Getting a Leg Up on Your Student’s College Sports Recruitment

Dear College Made Simple reader,

Most of what we write about here at revolves around two things – money and academics.

After all when it comes to finding the best school at the best price for your student, these should be your primary concerns.

But there is of course another way to get money for your student’s college education:  Athletics. 

Your son or daughter doesn’t need to be the next Peyton Manning or Hope Solo to win themselves an athletic scholarship.  But very few families understand what’s involved in the college student-athlete recruitment process… from football to water polo.

So here are some fast facts you’ll want to know when colleges begin recruiting your student athlete.

– Scott

Getting a Leg Up on Your Student’s College Sports Recruitment

•           Only 2% of high school athletes will play college sports.  That encompasses NCAA Division 1, 2 & 3 programs as well as NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and Junior College Programs.  The number of athletes who receive an athletic grant is therefore even smaller.  So if your student is being offered a sports scholarship, consider yourself in rare air!

•           High school athletes who are being recruited by colleges can make two different kinds of visits to the school.  Official and unofficial.  Official visits are paid for by the school (transportation, meals, lodging and reasonable entertainment).  They can only be taken in the student’s senior year and each senior can only make five.  An unofficial visit is made at the student’s own expense, but they can be made at any time, as many times as the student wants.

•           Athletic scholarships are awarded on a year-by-year basis.  In order to earn their scholarship for the next year, the student must prove themselves both on the field and in the classroom.  Failure to do so means a possible loss of the award for the next year.

•           NCAA Division 1, 2, NAIA and some junior colleges are able to hand out athletic grants.  Division 3 schools are not able to give scholarships solely based on athletics but can give other awards and aid to athletes.

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•           Students can enter into a verbal agreement to attend a certain school at any point during their recruitment.  A verbal agreement is not binding and if circumstances change (say a coaching change, or an injury occurs) the school is not obligated to award you a scholarship, nor are you obligated to attend.  However, verbal agreements should not be taken lightly.

•           Signing an NLI (national letter of intent) with a school is however binding.   Your student can no longer be recruited by any other schools after this point.  If they break their written commitment they are also not permitted to accept a scholarship at any other school the following year.  So before putting it in writing – be certain!

In part 2 of this article I offer up some tips on how to handle the recruiting process and how to best prepare yourself and your student for all it brings with it.  Until then…

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, – The free educational resource of College Planning Network


Related Article:

The Top Ten Myths About College Athletic Scholarships

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.