Athletes tackle arduous recruitment process
Committed athletes see advantages in college recruitment
February 22, 2017
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As seniors begin to make the difficult decision of where they will be spending their next four years, some are getting a head start.
Junior Sophia King has been developing her love for lacrosse since sixth grade, which led to her commitment to the Division I College of William and Mary.
King is one of the eight million students participating in a high school sport and one of the 480,000 students playing a NCAA sport in college, according to NCAA.
During February of King’s sophomore year, she closed the deal with William and Mary to be a part of their 2018 girls lacrosse team. According to King, the process was far from easy.
“Oh my god, I hated it, it was so stressful. I just wanted to commit so I could be done with the process,” King said. “I went to the camp and ended up really loving it and they contacted my coach,” King explained.
That was only the beginning of her four month interaction with William and Mary. After, Sophia had a phone call with the school, went to another camp, a campus visit, and then finally committed.
Senior Tommy Solberg’s recruitment to Denison University for cross country and track and field in December was much different.
“All I had to do was get in on my own and then I could run at the school for DIII, it was more relaxed than usual,” Solberg explained.
The rules of college recruiting are very complicated and according to Deborah Ofcky, Assistant Athletic Director at New Trier for 15 years, are always changing. Ofcky explained how New Trier coaches are allowed to advise students regarding the commitment process with a presentation about recruiting.
King’s club lacrosse coach, Claire Danta, was most dominant in closing the gap between King and college coaches. Division I schools can not have direct contact with players, but they can speak to the player’s coach.
Like King, junior Anthony Calarco committed to Northwestern his sophomore year for baseball. He said that head varsity baseball coach Mike Napolean was helpful in the process along with his club coach.
Ofcky said she has seen an increasing number of student athletes turning to club teams to make the recruiting process easier. However, since no club teams exist for running, Solberg sent her times to the Denison coach on her own.
King was not hesitant to share her concerns involving her early decision, “Do I really want to play all four years of lacrosse? But then I always go back and think, ‘it’s going to be so fun and I can’t really regret once I’m there.”
King has also openly recognized the benefits of her lacrosse talent “No, I don’t think I would be able to get into [William and Mary]. Honestly, it’s so much harder and it being such a small school, I don’t think I would have heard of it,” she admitted.
Calarco also believed he wouldn’t have been able to attend Northwestern without the help of baseball.
Ofcky has been heavily involved in sports since high school, playing and coaching for D1 schools, and she currently coaches girls golf and badminton.
She is adamant when describing the benefits of being part of a team has on students as well as herself.
And Ofcky’s experiences with athletics give her perspective, “I personally feel that an early commitment, especially if you’re a freshman or sophomore, isn’t healthy.”
“While it may take some stress off the process down the road, there’s so much personal growth between your sophomore year and senior year that it can backfire,” she said.
Ofcky added that a student’s academic preferences change throughout the years, which can affect which college might best fit the athlete.
After committing, King needed to keep her current grades and score relatively well on her ACT to continue her plan of officially signing to William and Mary her senior year. King, Solberg, and Calarco all showed confidence in their choices.
“I’m super excited and grateful for everything and everyone who’s helped me. The girls in my class are genuinely the best people ever and I know that I’ve made the right decision,” said King.