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Timeline for College Athletic Scholarships

by Tom Fakehany
 
   Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth to, but you can never do to much to help them obtain a college athletic scholarship.  The key to succeeding is exposure. You must let college coaches know that you are out there, but you must not jeopardize the thousands of dollars of scholarship money by violating the current NCAA rules.

I have read and studied  Jim and Marcy Herb's book entitled, "In Search of the Athletic Scholarship."    This booklet is really a manual for the student athlete and their parents. It is a "parent and student/athletic Do It Yourself" book, written by the parents of a high school volleyball player, and what they learned in the process of sucessfully searching for a college athletic scholarship.  The elements within their book apply to all high school sports and is rewritten yearly to apply the latest NCAA regulations.

  The book covers such topics as, How to get started, Preparing your Athletic Resume, How and When to make the first contact, Your first face to face meeting, Maintaining Academic Eligibility, The NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearing House, Campus Visits, How to prepare your video tape and much more. If your looking at playing sports in college, with or with our a scholarship this book is required reading for both the student and the parent. I've corresponded with Jim, over the Internet for several years, and I've asked for permission for readers of this article to send him an electronic message about his book, or about the process of searching for the Athletic Scholarship.

 Send Jim and Marcy Herb your address and you'll get a copy of the Athletic Recruiting Timeline and Athletic Scholarship Information.  For scholarship articles by Jim Herb, such as "How To Write An Athletic Resume," visit his volleyball locker off the home page.

Electronic Post Card directly to Jim and Marcy Herb

Time Line

Freshman Year

* Get settled in high school. Concentrate on a solid high school Curriculum.
* Talk to your coaches or Athletic Director about local volleyball club teams.
* Setup a workout schedule allowing comfortable time for academics and sports.
If you think you are interested in attending a college for a sport, send an introduction letter in your freshman year. Send an update at the end of the season, along with your club schedule. Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse (it's never too early, but it can be too late). Prepare your athletic resume.

Sophomore Year

* Continue striving for academic success. Research NCAA academic requirements.
* Make sure that you are "on target" for all core requirements.
* Stay active in Club Volleyball and High School Volleyball.
* Visit your High School career center or counselors office and start investigating colleges and their admission requirements.
* During the summer between the Sophomore and Junior years, prepare your athletic resume.
* Prepare to send out your initial contact letters with resumes. Include high school and club volleyball playing schedules, if available. If schedules are not available, mail a follow-up letter and schedule as soon as they become available, but still send out initial letters.
Update academics with Clearinghouse. Monitor the academic requirements of the universities you want to attend. Send an update letter to the schools you are interested in, send club schedule in the winter. Refineand update your resume. Prepare an skills videotape (10-15 minutes in length with 6-7 minutes of basic skills and the rest of game footage). During the fall season, go to the college matches (if they are local)and talk to some of the players, the coaches, etc...or during the summer before your junior year, make unofficial visits to the colleges.

Junior Year

* Send out athletic resumes now, if you have not already done so.
* Register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
* Request that ACT/SAT test scores be sent to the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
* Keep up with your studies and once again review the NCAA requirements to make sure they have not changed.
* Keep investigating other colleges and send out additional resumes.
* Prepare video tape to be sent when requested.
* Send out update as your season closes. Include your new stats and any special recognition's you may have earned.
* Visit some of the campuses that you are interested in, if you can.
* Try to watch some local college games in you sport, especially if one of the schools you are interested in is playing close by.
* In July, after completion on your Junior year, phone contact with college coaches is permissible. Begin heavy contact with the schools you are interested in, even makinga few phone calls (but remember that coaches cannot call you back until July 1 after you complete your junior year). Update your academic informationwith the Clearinghouse. If your top choices of colleges have not panned out send info to your second and third choices. Send out your club schedule ASAP. If coaches want to make home visits, they will do thisafter Nationals/Davis are finished. Make more unofficial visits to schools that interest you.

Senior Year

* Do not let up on academics
* Review your core requirements with your high school counselor.
* Send out your senior team schedule as soon as possible for high school and club volleyball.
* Keep college coaches posted on any changes or updates to your team schedules.
* Send out last of resumes, if new interest in other schools.
* Find out Letter of Intent dates for Volleyball from NCAA.
* Take advantage of, no more than 5, college paid visits, if offered.
* Ask a lot of questions and weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of the schools you are interested in.
* Study hard and play hard, but remember you are a student athlete and the student comes first.  If you are being seriously recruited by a school, they will invite you to make an official visit (where travel, room and board is paid during one of their home weekends. Continue phone contact with schools.Some schools ask their top recruits to verbally commit to attending during the spring or summer before their senior year. Most school like to be finished recruiting by the end of the volleyball season. The thing to remember is that a committment is not binding until a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and Offer of Financial Aid is signed by the recruit. The first official signing day for VB is typically in early February and extends into August. Recruits may change their mind about a school after they've made a verbal committment, but not after signing the NLI. If they do not attend the school they sign with or transfer before one year is completed, they will lose at least a year of eligibility. Players must also understand that being brought to campus on an official visit does not constitute an offer of a scholarship. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR SENIOR YEAR TO MAKE FIRST CONTACT OR REGISTER FOR THE CLEARINGHOUSE.

There are so many minor details for students to know about the recruiting process that thousands will never know. Recruiting classes are typically 200-300 players per year.  Most recruiting is finished by April each year.  Many coaches attending USA Volleyball tournaments in April and later are looking at Juniors and Sophomores, as well as standout Freshman. Coaches still looking at Seniors in the spring may have had some lack of continuity in their  recruiting (maybe a coach left) or had a player transfer out of
school in the spring or may be an NAIA school or lower level NCAA program or some other circumstance.There are lots of questions I'm sure that you have regarding the recruiting process.

 A outstanding place to discuss the recruiting process is on the Youth, Junior USA Volleyball, AAU Volleyball NAGWS Volleyball and Federation Volleyball email list. You can subscribe to it FREE at http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/jov

** Alex M. Postpischil,  Assistant Coach - University of Maryland, Former Assistant Coach - Creighton University provided help in the writing of this article.