Dear Coach Bryant,
My daughter is a high school senior who seems to be in a college commitment holding pattern. She has been communicating with a fencing coach at her first-pick school for at least a year, but has yet to receive an offer. She doesn’t know where she stands on that coach’s recruiting list.
She has spent so much time with this college coach that she says it would be “disloyal” to look elsewhere. But it’s October already! What do you recommend?
Baffled in Boston
You are right to be concerned. Senior student athletes are finalizing college decisions this month. Unfortunately, too many of them are waiting for coaches to make offers that may never come. Here’s what I tell my clients:
It’s not personal.
While students may wait to hear from a coach because they feel loyal to that person or program, such loyalty isn’t mutual. Good coaches don’t make recruiting decisions based on how long they’ve known and liked a recruit. Good coaches make decisions based on what’s best for their teams.
It’s a shuffle.
Coaches revise recruiting plans as students review and accept offers. That means rosters are constantly shuffling. A great player who didn’t get an offer from her first-choice team may walk into another college coach’s office on October 16 for the very first time. Within 24 hours that player could receive and accept an offer, knocking someone else off that coach’s list.
It’s about time.
While there’s still time for senior athletes to broaden their lists of potential schools (hopefully receiving that 24-hour offer), options are narrowing. By October it’s past time for high school seniors to extend their searches to colleges where they can get immediate attention.
It’s always the recruit’s job to advocate for him/herself. I often hear high school students say, “I’m afraid to tell the coach I’m looking elsewhere,” or “I’ve put in so much time with this coach!” Such hesitation could prevent that student from becoming the standout recruit for another team. October is reality check time; juniors should be assembling their next-year list of potential schools, while seniors in holding patterns must look elsewhere to secure their places on next year’s teams.