- Feb 15, 2017
My DD is a candidate for the class of 2022. What does being a recruited athlete for USCGA look like?
I struggled with whether I should comment on this question for a couple of reasons. First, I am not claiming expertise in this process and much of this process can seem like the blind leading the blind. Second, every athlete's situation will be different so their experience will differ. Parents and recruits tend to play their cards pretty close to the chest all the way through the process (the specific details of the offers and how the offers are made are rarely even shared among teammates). Club coaches (and HS coaches for some sports) can be a good resource - but I think the landscape of athletic recruiting changes pretty fast and some coaches have a stale advice.
To begin with - you will definitely know if your DD/DS is an athletic recruit. A general rule of thumb here - if they have not spoken to the coach (either on the phone or in-person) I would say you should not consider your DD/DS a recruit. Emails and recruit questionnaires are easy and coaches get them by the hundreds. They are a good start. Getting invited to camps and/or campus visits are measures of progress beyond the step of emails, but even that step is merely the launching point of being recruited.
Beyond the above rule of thumb the process varies (even for the same recruit between schools). The toughest thing about being a recruit (for the whole family) is that you will only get to go through the process one time (with each kid). Our family has a bit of a leg up for our DD, because her brother went through the process (for a different sport) only a few years ago and we learned some valuable lessons along the way.
I can speak of the experience our DD has had regarding being a recruited athlete for CGA (DS was also a recruited athlete at CGA a few years back for a different sport - which was slightly different than DD experience). Our DD initiated the contact early in her Sophomore year of HS by filling out the recruit questionnaire online and following up with an email to the coach with a link to her highlight film. Coach emailed back and asked what her game/showcase schedule would be. DD emailed schedule and coach came to see DD play in person. Coach followed-up with an email and invite to call. DD called and spoke to the coach - most of the phone call was sharing info about the unique experience of life at CGA and most likely was used by coach to gauge interest level and understanding DD's goals. DD visited campus and met with coach in person over the summer between Sophomore and Junior year in HS. Coach had some players email DD about the opportunities at CGA and answer any questions she had. DD once again visited campus early in Junior year of HS (during Parent's weekend to visit DS) and was invited to attend/watch a practice and talk to current team members. Coach again came to see DD play at a showcase and they have continued to stay in contact with each other. Road map from here will include DD attending AIM, staying in contact with coach, completing application for Class of 2022 and continuing to challenge herself in HS (the same as any other candidate).
The main difference between CGA and the other schools attempting to recruit her is the fact that CGA will not "make an offer." A CGA "offer" will come in the form of letting the recruit know that CGA is highly interested and the coach sees them as making the team better and being able to compete for a playing position right away - that is about as far as they can really go (DS received confirmation from coach once he submitted an application that the coach included a preference in his admission file, but this is not a guarantee - we have not yet reached that point in the process for DD). DD has received several offers from other schools which typically include things such as athletic money/in-state rates/specific dorms/promise of a competitive major/etc. CGA does none of those things.
The recruiting process for a service academy is also a bit of a burden on the athlete - while most of her club team has already committed, she has not (which is unusual for a player finishing their Junior year of HS). DD does not want to commit to play for another coach knowing that if an appointment offer happens she would most likely de-commit and attend CGA - so that has put her in a self-induced position of disadvantage regarding offers. We know that coaches from other schools are not going to "hold a spot" or wait for her to make a decision forever (D3 schools have a bit more leeway in this regard). It also puts CGA in a weaker position when competing for similar recruits against other academically selective schools. The whole process requires recruits to make decisions at a much younger age than their peers who are not seeking to play college athletics. To sum it up - from our experience with both kids - you will definitely know if you are being recruited by CGA, but you should not expect a formal offer during the process.
Cidgrad... Great Post
I agree with 99.99 % of you post.
I will add my .01%.. My DS started the process by filling out an on line questionnaire. Then during the summer between his Soph and Jr year we visited campus and met with the coaches. We are from the mid-west so my DS was hitting the East-coast summer camp circuit Ivys, and USMA and we let the coaches know we would be in the neighborhood and wanted to stop and meet with them. ( We also sent film form his Soph season) My DS was really impressed, not just with the academy but with the Head Coach and his staff. We arrived late Friday afternoon on a beautiful June day and the entire staff was still there to meet with us. That Sunday one of the ast. coaches attended a camp that we told them he would be attending and after he spoke with my DS. My DS felt right away that this was where he was wanted and where he wanted to go.
This was just the 1st step. The admissions info started to come in after that, as well as email communications from the coaches. They encouraged him to attend AIM (which he did not attend due to scheduling conflicts with other camps). Through his entire Jr year they kept in touch and through the summer b4 his senior year. They kept him informed on timelines and what he should be doing. He also kept sending them recent film.
At the same time my DS attended other school's camps and by the end of summer he was getting some offers from a few Ivys. patriot league schools and both the USNA and USMA told him he was in the mix. My son kept the coaches at CGA in the loop. Then in late August, I believe the night b4 his first game of his Sr year, he received a call from the coach saying he was granted an LOA (letter of assurance) this was a not a guarantee but it stated he would be given admittance if he met all of the qualifications. He expressed to the coach that he would accept an appointment to CGA if he was given one. We attended a practice and game in the fall, he also participated in an overnight visit after getting a conditional appointment.
Then after crossing my fingers for the longest time, jumping through a few hoops - medical waivers and meeting the height/weight measurements - My DS received his full Appointment about two months ago and he gratefully accepted.
Hope this helps
Our DD was late to the "game", but luckily her academic stats were above average for her class and she fit a need for the team. She was invited to visit for an overnight "cadet for a day" and knew at that time the CGA was exactly where she wanted to be for college. As far as applying, doing so EA is pretty typical for the recruited athletes we have spoken with that have other offers so you don't have to wait as long for a decision.
Our daughter was very upfront with the other coaches recruiting her that she was interested in the academy and would wait to make a decision until she knew if she was accepted at CGA or not. Only one coach rescinded their offer-- In my opinion, most knew that any kid (especially a female athlete) that was applying to a service academy was probably the kind of player they wanted on their team and worth the wait!
Actually you don't have to register with the NCAA clearinghouse for D3. The rules are very different between the D1 & D3- I have a son playing D1 sport currently and daughter was recruited by other divisions before deciding on CGA. Talk to your college counselor or AD at your high school- they should have experience with the rules and can offer you guidance!My son is a recruited athlete at USNA. Although they are D1 and USCGA is D3, I'm sure NCAA rules still apply. You may want to check out the website and also have your daughter registered with NCAA so she can be recruited. Good luck!
USCGA has a great thing with EA! It's great for academy admissions and those applying.CidGrad is very accurate. DD was recruited/offered by traditional D1,D2,D3 schools but wants to pursue Academy nominations and serve. She had to reach out to USNA, USMA and Coast Guard as they did not reach out to her even though she had interest from athletic programs with higher profiles. Met with all the coaches, attended camps at USNA and USMA her Freshmen/sophomore years. Went through 2 years of recruiting with USNA and USMA and was told she would not be one of their blue chipped athletes but they were confident she would be welcome on the team as a walk on. Everyone but the blue chips are essentially walk ons. Coaches apparently can tag a select few of incoming recruits as their top priorities (usually 2-4 per class for DD's sport) Keep in mind both USNA, USAF, and USMA are D1 and these coaches have a little more pull I believe then USCGA which is D3 but ultimately there are no Athletic Scholarships at Academies and outside of the blue chip athletes at USNA, USMA and USAF there is very little leg up in the admissions process. Even the Blue Chips have to be superb students with EC's and leadership roles. This is why the Academies do not announce their recruiting classes till May when all the candidates are accepted and cleared through DoDmerb. Even though you will see recruits sign LOI's in February this is largely a ceremonial event and no guarantee of admissions. Some athletes receive LOA's but you still are not guaranteed a spot! Coast Guard is D3 and does not require registration with the NCAA Clearinghouse as was stated but USNA, USMA and USAF do require it. DD is leaning towards USCGA as the Humanitarian aspect appeals to her a great deal.
Now to speak to the issue of balancing recruitment from traditional schools and Academy admission the waters muddy as most athletic programs are done recruiting for their incoming class by the end of the recruits Junior year. This puts the recruit who wishes to gain admittance to an Academy at a disadvantage because most traditional schools will want an acceptance of the athletic scholarship long before your DD/DS will be granted an appointment. I believe there are three ways to play this and it is up to the individual to choose which way they feel comfortable with. Option #1- DD was completely up front with all the schools recruiting her and told them her desire to serve. Offers were made early in her Junior year through early spring of her Junior year and given a timeline of acceptance by late spring at the latest. Recently, on of DD's visits to one of her top 3 traditional school the coach told her that if she committed to his program he would release her from her commitment if she was granted a service academy appointment with no hard feelings. This was an incredibly rare and generous gesture as if DD is lucky enough to be granted an appointment this coach will be scrambling to find an athlete to fill his need for that recruiting class and many athletes have already made their decisions at this point. She accepted the scholarship with a contingency of not being granted an appointment which of course we will not know until winter or Spring of her upcoming senior year. Option#2 is to not be upfront with the coaches at traditional schools about your DD/DS desire to attend an Academy and to accept the scholarship and back out if you gain an appointment without the coach having any prior knowledge (this poses an ethical issue for most). Option #3 is to roll the dice and see if you DD/DS gets an appointment and hope that if that does not materialize there will still be opportunities for them to pick up Athletic money at a D1/D2 program very late in the game. Not unheard of but not that common either and most definitely will limit their choices. I did some research and since none of the Academies offer Athletic Scholarships and none of them participate in the LOI program an athlete's eligibility cannot be affected by backing out of an LOI and attending a Service Academy. This was confirmed in a phone call I placed with the NCAA but I would encourage athletes/parents to do their own research on this fact. This of course has been my interpretation of DD's path and others may have a different perspective. DD will apply to USNA, USMA and plans to apply USCGA early action so she will know where she is headed by Christmas if possible.