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The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

College Sports: What are the benefits of recruitment?

The path to college through sports is a very different path. Since most people don’t play college sports, those who do go through a different application process. What are the advantages of being a collegiate athlete as far as the decision-making process goes? Are there any negatives to this process? What are the differences between Divisions I, II and III? To find out, The Pitch interviewed several current seniors who plan on playing sports next year at college.

Ben Meyers, soccer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, DIII: So I wasn’t heavily recruited DI, but I had offers from six DIII schools and talked to about 10 others. The advantages were that I really started the whole college search process almost two years before everyone else and had already done a bunch of official visits going into my senior year.

The biggest advantage was that the recruiting process really gives you a feel for each of the schools. On your visits you get to experience the academic, social and athletic aspects of the school first hand, so in a sense I feel like I really got to know the schools I was looking at better than most people do. It also opened up new doors. You learn about schools you may have never even heard of if they hadn’t contacted you. Another great thing was that I only had to apply to one school because I committed in October, so I only did two essays and I was almost assured admission because of my grades and soccer gave me a little boost as well.

The negative aspects are that you put in a ton of work that most people don’t see in order to attract the attention of coaches and there’s a constant pressure to get seen by coaches. Also, unlike most sports, high school soccer doesn’t really affect recruiting at all: it’s all done through club. But all the work is worth it once you get that first offer. Overall, I really enjoyed the process and through it I found the school that was absolutely perfect for me in St. Mary’s. The DIII experience is a lot less intense than a DI, but I liked that it was a little more relaxed.

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Gabe Vasconcelos, soccer, Emory University, DIII: If you like the sport you’re playing, and you’re good at it, it makes the entire college process much easier. I didn’t have to worry about deciding between schools [and] once I committed to Emory, my decision was already made.

Matt Konapelsky, basketball, Gettysburg College, DIII: I wasn’t highly recruited. Looking to play DIII sports, you somewhat have to recruit yourself to the school you want to go to . Sending tape, calling the coach, etc. You get emails and letters from some schools but so do a lot of other people. But the advantages are you get to play a sport you love after high school. I will be trying to walk on the Gettysburg basketball team in the fall, but I still [have] to talk to the coach and what not.

Melanie Ackerman, basketball, Swarthmore College, DIII: I would say that because the recruiting process generally begins long before junior year, you start considering colleges before other students and I think that because you have longer to look, you feel more confident in your decision. There are also different things to consider [that] other students [don’t have to,] like how you might get along with the team and coach, so while you may love the school and would want to go there if you were a regular student, you may decide not to because of the team’s chemistry. On the other hand, you may decide to go to a college that you would have otherwise not chosen if you weren’t recruited.

Rachel Rosenberg, field hockey, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, DIII: I was only looking to play at DIII schools, which makes the recruiting process much less stressful but still somewhat inconvenient. First of all, in order to be recruited, you have to play club, which of course is costly when it comes to field hockey because it’s not the most popular sport out there. In addition to that, you have to pay for a recruiting video to be made, and go to tournaments located all over the place from Florida to Arizona in order to be seen by coaches. Also, you have to reach out to countless coaches via email and let them know where you’ll be playing and that you’re interested in their school. Recruiting does, however, have [its] advantages. Technically, the fact that the St. Mary’s coach recruited me didn’t help me get [into] the school (since it’s DIII), but the coach was able to put in a good word for me with admissions. I also will get to move in a little earlier than the rest of the students, which hopefully will help me get a head start on adjusting to college life. It also helped me pick a school because the coaches would set me up with a girl on the team for an overnight, which was a huge advantage in getting a feel for what my likes and dislikes were about the college. And of course the most obvious positive [is that] I get to continue to play the sport I love.

Jeremy Ebobisse, soccer, Duke University, DI: I’d say the positives of recruiting are that you…don’t have to worry about applying to many schools, you know that you have a social group that you’ll be coming into as soon as you get into the university, and you can begin to focus on your long-term future as opposed to focusing too much on college decisions like other seniors. That being said, being recruited distracts you from your junior year which is deemed the hardest year. Once committed, students also tend to feel a huge burden that has been alleviated, often leading them to slack off. Being recruited can require a lot of absences in school which adds pressure on the student. Although the process is centered around protecting the athlete, there are too many barriers to communication. By the time athletes are juniors, they need to be able to communicate freely by phone to facilitate recruiting and expedite the process.

While college sports and the recruiting process are not for everyone, athletes still interested in continuing to play after high school can always play by trying out for DIII teams after accepting regular admission, or playing club or intramural. The recruiting process…helps lots of students make sure they [commit] to play and [commit] to a school, but it is not the only way to get in to a good school or to be an athlete.

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About the Contributor
Sabrina Greene
Sabrina Greene, Online Sports Editor & Social Media Consultant
Senior Sabrina Greene is writing for The Pitch for the first time this year. She is the Social Media and Marketing coordinator as well as an Online Sports Editor. She hopes to widen The Pitch’s social media presence and provide a female perspective on sports. Sabrina is also the Editor-in-Chief of Spectator Magazine and plays Varsity lacrosse. She plans to study English/Communications in college, where she hopes to play lacrosse and travel abroad.
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