I closely monitor recruiting news and related issues as both a college sports and gaming fan and to maintain our intuitive knowledge leadership for the benefit of our student-athletes. Recent comments by transfers who were the subject of various articles on the factors they prioritized when making their college decisions are worth noting as they illuminate common missteps leading to negative outcomes in the recruiting process. The proliferation of transfers among student-athletes continues to grow at an alarming rate and these responses exposed key recruiting decision points that are relevant to student-athletes in all sports, both "traditional" and esports.
- One athlete consulted with one of his former college coaches - Great move as most don't rely on experts. A college coach can typically assimilate your level of play, academic capabilities, interests and the landscape of relevant college choices in order to identify a more informed list of personalized matching options.
- An athlete moved closer to home to support his mother and family following the death of his father - Clearly a valid reason for a change though it's still key to identify a school in the area that fits one's interests, capabilities and preferences on all key levels (athletic, academic, campus life, career preparation).
The Not So Good
- Not one athlete mentioned academics or career interests as a driving force in their decision other than the desire to play professionally - This approach is shortsighted in light of the miniscule percentage of players that attain a secure pro career in their sport or game.
- Most relied on advice from their family or an influencer as opposed to an expert in this process and landscape like a college coach (see above) - College recruiting is a complicated and constantly changing process which requires intuitive knowledge and expertise. If you're not regularly involved in it and constantly educating yourself, a huge knowledge gap exists leading to the substantial amount of uninformed decisions.
- Decisions are being made without even visiting the campus of the school selected or only taking one or two visits - This is analogous to buying a home or car without even inspecting it. Enough said.
- Choosing a school because a friend chose it is not a valid reason - What's best for your friends is typically not what'is best for you as you each have different priorities, preferences, goals and academic/career interests.
- Athletes decided to transfer because others on their team transferred - Again, while in some situations it may be a sign of dysfunction in the program, blindly following others out the door may not be in your best interests. Their reasons may not be valid, and as noted above, you each possess different priorities, preferences, goals and academic/career interests.
- Coach firings and the resulting fallout are generally predictable by those in the know - The affected student-athletes would have likely been aware of an impending coaching change had they consulted college coaching experts on the front end of their decision.
Be aware of these and other red flags when you're going through the college selection and recruiting process. Transferring colleges is very disruptive and often compromises academic progress towards a degree. Do your homework and tap into experts to make the best choice for you and ensure a great outcome!
About the Author:
George White is the Founder and CEO of BNOC and RecruitU which utilizes college level coaches to guide athletes in identifying and connecting with their ideal college matches in the recruiting process. George is a former college basketball coach, having coached at all levels and types of institutions.