Today is the third of a six-part series designed to help student-athletes and their parents know what to expect at the various stages of the recruiting process. I briefly explained these stages in the post, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level Of Interest; I will be going into greater detail at each step to help you maximize every opportunity to market yourself.
In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process. The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.
Today I am going to discuss the level regarding the “Official Visit” and what to expect during your time on an NCAA campus.
When an NCAA school offers you an “Official Visit”, this indicates a very high level of interest. An “Official Visit” is one where the college or university is paying for you (and your parents) to travel and visit their campus. Colleges normally will have you (and your parents) spend the night, feed you, pay travel expenses, give you tickets to games, etc. All this is legal (to a point) and what most colleges will do regarding Official Visits.
A typical itinerary for an Official Visit is highly choreographed and will probably look something like this:
- 8:00 AM – Arrive on Campus, met by Recruiting Coach
- 8:30 AM – Greeting and introduction of Staff by Head Coach
- 9:00 AM – Tour of Campus – Led by Football Hostess
- 10:15 AM – Tour of Athletic Facilities – Led by Coach
- 11:30 AM – Lunch at Student Union with Coaching Staff
- 1:00 PM – Meeting with Professor in you area of Academic Interest
- 2:00 PM – Meeting and Presentation by Strength Coach
- 3:30 PM – Change clothes for Testing
- 4:00 PM – Physical Testing (225 lb bench rep test, Vertical Leap, 40 yard dash, Pro Agility Shuttle, possibly position specific drills -Division I football cannot test or tryout )
- 5:30 PM – Change for Dinner
- 6:00 PM – Transported to Dinner with Coaching Staff at a local restaurant.
- 7:00 PM – Back to Football Complex – introduction of player hosts
- 7:30 PM – Attend Basketball Game on Campus
- 10:00 PM – Free Time with player hosts
- 7:30 AM – Breakfast at Student Union
- 8:30 AM – Meet with position Coach
- 9:00 AM – Meet with Coordinator
- 9:30 AM – Meet with Head Coach
- 10:00 AM – Depart Campus
Keep these two things in mind.
- The official visit is highly choreographed by the university and the coaching staff to put their institution and football program in the best possible light.
- You are being evaluated the whole time you are on campus. You not only will be evaluated on your physical testing results, but also on how you handle yourself during the entire visit. The head coach will get feedback from every coach you meet with, and also from the professor you met with, the football hostesses that gave your campus tour, and your player host. They will want to know how you conducted yourself, the type of questions you asked, and your responses to questions. They will want to know if you are the type of student-athlete that will fit in and be successful academically in school and in their football program.
During the visit there will be times that you are with your parents, times that you are alone, and times when you will be with other players. This is done intentionally. The coaching staff will want to see how you will act without parental guidance in these situations. Your parents will not be there to watch over and answer questions for you while you are in school. Typically, you will not be staying in the same hotel or campus room as your parents. A hotel room will be provided for your parents, and you will be rooming with another prospective student athlete.
The Official Visit is also a great opportunity for you to continue evaluating their university and football program. It is an excellent time to find out what the coaching staff and football program is REALLY like. You will have time to spend with current student-athletes without coaches around. During the recruiting process, it is easy for a coach to “sell” themselves and their football program. They will tell you the good stuff.
Make sure to have questions ready for your academic advisor.
- What types of jobs are available in my major field?
- What is the placement rate for jobs in my field after graduation?
- What kind of extra help is available in I need it?
- What is the graduation rate of student-athletes at this university?
Make sure to have questions ready for the coaching staff.
- How many players are currently at my position group?
- How do I compare athletically to the current players in my position group?
- How many people are you currently recruiting in my position group?
- How many JC athletes do you recruit and sign each year?
- What is your philosophy regarding redshirting?
- Do you have required study time for athletes?
Make sure to have questions ready for the current players.
- How is the head coach?
- What kind of coach is my position coach?
- How do they treat the players?
- Are they interested in me academically?
- What will a typical day look like in season?
- What is the off-season program like?
- How do they treat injured players?
- How is the food on campus?
The Official Visit is one of the last, and most important pieces of the recruiting process. Things are getting very serious regarding the school’s interest in you as a prospective student-athlete. Normally colleges will not spend the time, money, or energy bringing a prospect on campus for an Official Visit if they are not planning to invest some scholarship aid in that athlete. Make sure you maximize this time you spend on campus, both in marketing yourself, and evaluating the interested school.
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org