10 MUST-ASK QUESTIONS DURING THE RECRUITING PROCESS AND DURING OFFICIAL/UNOFFICIAL VISITS
#1: What are grad rates of your sport nationally, and how do they compare to the schools that you are looking at? Does that university and your specific team graduate their players? What percentage of that teams’ players have graduated in the last 5-10 years?
#2: What are the grad rates for the coaches that you are thinking about playing for? Have they made graduating their players a priority over their career? What percentage of that coaches’ players (even if they were at another school) have graduated in the last 5-10 years?
#3: Will distance be a factor—do you want to stay within a certain distance from home or do you specifically want to go far away to school?
#4: At some point, ALL players get frustrated with an adversity they face in their athletic career and the first target of that frustration is often living in a city that they don’t like. You will need a balance! Do you like what the town has to offer off-campus—outdoor activities, beaches, arts, concerts, shopping, other sports teams, etc?
#5: Are all of the other teams at that school successful within the conference and in post-season play? Is the Athletic Director and leadership happy being competitive or are they able to provide all teams the resources to win? Do all of the teams win on a consistent level?
#6: How many players AT YOUR POSITION do they plan to sign in your graduating class? How many players at your position have already committed, how many slots are left?
#7: What is the average class size? Check the official admissions information from each university for official stats, not just what the coaches are telling you!
#8: If considering several offers, does the athletic department have the resources (booster money/corporate sponsors) to hire great coaches and provide several competitive advantages in terms of resources and operating budget? Is the team “doing more with less” and expecting championships on a shoestring budget or are they providing the competitive resources needed to win consistently?
#9: What is the head coach’s personality? Players often mimic their coaches, are they great people? Do they only care about winning or do they truly put their players first in terms of lessons that they are teaching them and standards they are setting? Are they womanizers, cheaters, excuse makers, mentally/physically abusive, etc? When you are spending time with the current players ask them how the head coach treats them once they are enrolled— surprisingly, they will usually tell you the truth, good or bad.
#10: What is their plan for you? No starting job is ever guaranteed, even if they may promise it during the recruiting process. Ask them for their plan and also evaluate the roster for yourself.
MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK…
– What percentage of classes have fewer than 30 students? Fewer than 50 students? What are the class sizes within your intended major?
– Do they offer a major that you are interested in?
– Can you sit in on a class during your visit, particularly in your desired major?
– What are the freshman year credit requirements? What will be your freshman year required classes?
– What is the coach’s or department’s class attendance policy?
– Do you plan on taking summer school classes and what is the department’s policy on summer school?
– Do athletes have required study hall hours? What is the team’s policy on required study hall?
– What is a sample daily schedule like during the season and in the off-season?
– Are tutors available? What technology resources are available to student- athletes?
– Does the athletic department or school help with networking or job fairs?
– Has the team or department had any academic scandals within recent years?
– If applicable, are there special accommodations for students with learning disabilities? If so, what do they include?
– Check out what the other players select as majors—do they put student- athletes in “easy” programs? Are several players majoring in “General Studies” or similar programs or are they in tougher majors?
– If you plan on going to grad school, law school or medical school —are you in a program that will help you accomplish your future goals and get into the programs that you are interested in?
– Is the academic program a national leader? Is that something that is important to you or are you more interested in “hands on” opportunities with internships?
– If you are interested in internships, are you in the right city where you may be able to network and find the se positions? Does the school place students in great internships?
– Do major companies recruit students from that university?
THE TOWN/UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY
– Schools are usually either in small towns and have a “college town” feel or are in big cities—are you comfortable? Some big-city people get bored easily in small towns or those from small towns are overwhelmed in big cities—do you like the community you will be living in?
– Are you interested in living in a new place outside of your comfort zone for a few years? Move to big city, move out of big city, major climate change, closer to other family/friends—will you be moving to a city that you’ve always dreamed of living in?
– There is a good chance that your coach won’t be there throughout your entire career (it’s the nature of the business)—will you still be happy in that town without the coach you are going to play for?
– If you have a spouse and/or children—how will that play into your decision? Is distance a factor? Will they be moving with you? Can you talk to players at the schools that you are interested that are also married or are parents and see how they are able to manage the transition? Do they offer family housing?
– What do the other athletes think of the Athletic Director and their interactions with them? Does the Athletic Department have great leadership?
– Is the department improving and always bringing in more resources and improvements? Facilities, technology, new athletic training treatments?
– Are the players respected in the community as positive role models? Do they have a history with legal issues?
– Is the Athletic Department profiting? What is their operating budget and how does it compare to the other schools that you are looking at?
– If the department sponsors several teams, are they stretching the budget really thin or does your team have the resources to succeed and compete within the conference or nationally?
– Is the team on the rise? Is there a strong foundation of quality players already in the system that you can learn from and win with? Are they starting from scratch or are there great pieces already in place?
– Will you have time to develop or will you be thrown into the fire as a freshman and expected to deliver or carry the team?
– What is the record of success of the program in last 5-10 years? If the coaching staff is new, what is their track record of success at previous school s?
– Are there any great leaders or mentors that you can learn from?
– Does the team have the opportunity to be a major upset team, does that excite you? Do they play with exceptional heart and like the underdog role?
– If you are a major football or basketball Division I prospect, does the team charter flights for most of their road games so that you will miss less class time? Do they bring tutors or academic counselors on the road?
– Are there certain traditions that you would like to be a part of at a particular school?
– Are their games televised so that your friends and family can watch you often?
– Is there a path for your team to play for a championship or major post- season opportunity?
– Do you want to be a part of a major regional or national rivalry?
– What does the conference offer in terms of academic prestige, competition, tradition, exposure?
– Is there good attendance at games? Is school spirit important to you?
– Is the stadium close to campus? Is it a place you’ve dreamed of playing?
– Are the teams disciplined on the field or do they make stupid mistakes? Are they undisciplined off-the field with arrests, suspensions or scandals?
– Are the players accountable to each other and competitive? Do they have a positive attitude, work ethic and desire to get better?
– Can you help recruit a ‘super class’ of other recruits who can come in and make a difference, especially at an underdog team?
– What are the dining halls like? Do they have nutritionists who will help you with nutrition, vitamins, supplements, etc?
– Are you willing to sacrifice playing time at a smaller school to be able to join a high-major team? Or vice versa?
– How is your relationship with your position coach, coordinator or assistant coaches? They will be your primary teachers in many cases, do you get along and believe in their philosophy? Are they coaches you would love to play for?
– Will you be challenged at that school to become the best player that you can become?
– What is the plan for your development?
– Can you test yourself versus the best competition possible, will you get better?
– How are they as COACHES and teachers? Are their players fundamentally sound? How have their players improved over the years, what results can they show you? Watch film with coaches and see what suggestions they have on how you can improve?
– What strength and conditioning improvements would they like to see you make? What is the ideal weight and speed they would like you at, and what weightroom goals would they like to see you at? How have their players improved in terms of strength, speed and conditioning? Do they get pushed around during games?
– How do you fit in to their system and style of play? Is your position underutilized in their system?
WHAT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER
– Are they the biggest, shiniest facilities? (They won’t directly help you win, just maybe help recruiting more players.)
– If you go there, will you have a better chance of getting drafted? (Scouts will go anywhere to find the best players, and the cross the country looking for talent. Playing for particular coaches may help you become more fundamentally sound, develop a championship mentality but more of the impact of your coach, not your logo!)
– Can they help you win a national award like the Heisman, Doak, the Naismith, etc? (No school can help you win!)