What Is The Recruiting Timeline For College Baseball In 2021?
If you want to play college baseball, here is your guide to getting recruited by the school of your dreams.
If you want to make a career out of the sport you love, we have a few tips to help you get started. If you are serious about being recruited by a Division I or Division II college baseball team, your time in high school baseball is crucial. It lays out the foundation you need to handle the full-time job that is being a collegiate student-athlete.
There are several factors to consider when searching and deciding on the college you want to play for. Here is a list of what you should think about when starting your search.Recruitment Components
- Baseball Program
- Financial Aid/Scholarships Offered
- Personal Interest
- Student Organizations
Before starting with an annual breakdown of responsibilities, let’s cover some need-to-know items so you are fully prepared for the baseball recruitment world.
Contact: if a coach engages in conversation with a student-athlete or their family away from the college campus
Evaluation: also commonly known as “scouting.” Coaches will send recruiters to observe you while you play or train to start forming an interest in you.
Verbal commitment: this is when a student-athlete verbally agrees to play do the college of their choosing before signing a formal national Letter of Intent. Because this is only a verbal agreement, it is not binding for either party.
National Letter of Intent: this letter is a formal binding document the student-athlete signs to state that they agree to participate in Division I or Division II college baseball program for one academic year. This letter also makes the student-athlete eligible to receive a scholarship from the program.
Quiet period: during this time, the coaches may not have face-to-face contact with the student-athlete or their families off-campus. They also cannot physically visit the high school or watch them play or train. However, the student-athlete and coach can still write to each other and communicate via phone calls.
Dead period: during this time, the coaches may not have face-to-face contact with the student-athlete or their families on or off-campus. They also cannot physically visit the high school or watch them play or train. It is also not permissible to make official or unofficial campus visits during this time. However, the student-athlete and coach can still write to each other and communicate via phone calls.
There are three Divisions in the NCAA and two external organizations. So, before you even start thinking about what school you want to attend, you need to know what each organization has to offer.
NCAA Division I
Division I (DI) schools have a 14 sport minimum requirement with at least two sports for men and two sports for women. The teams must play during the fall, winter, and spring seasons against a specified number of teams within the same Division. A significant thing to consider with DI schools is that they can offer 11.7 academic scholarships to eligible student-athletes. This scholarship amount means that the funds can be divided evenly between 12 student-athletes participating in that DI baseball program.
NCAA Division II
Division II (DII) schools have to offer a minimum of 10 sports. In addition, these schools must have at least four sports for men and four sports for women. DII schools tend to play teams within their area and division. They offer nine scholarships that can be divided amongst nine students in the DII baseball program.
NCAA Division III
Division III (DIII) schools weigh academics much heavier than athleticism. These schools also do not offer any scholarships to participate in their programs.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has 250 member colleges. This organization is mainly found in smaller colleges. They also offer their baseball student-athletes 12 scholarships that can be divided amongst more than 12 student-athletes.
The National Junior College Athletic Association is similar to the NCAA in its Divisional Structure. They also have a DI, DII, and DIII within their organization with their respective scholarship offerings.
- DI: Eligible for a full athletic scholarship with up to a $250 stipend to cover any course required materials and/or transportation costs.
- DII: Eligible for scholarship limited to tuition, books, fees, and up to $250 in course required materials.
- DIII: Not Eligible for any athletic scholarships.
So now that you know what we're talking about let's dive into the specifics.
- Work on improving your skills.
- List about 100 schools with good academic and athletic programs.
- We recommend that students research at least three prospective colleges a week.
- Create a realistic list of schools that would recruit you based on your skill level.
- Create a skills video to submit to recruiters.
- Consider what Division you want to play for; Division I is limited to 11 scholarships, while Division II is limited to 9 scholarships per school, and academics weigh heavily on consideration.
- Write your introduction letters to the programs and coaches of your choosing.
- Start planning unofficial college visits to learn more about the campuses and what they have to offer outside the baseball program.
- The off-season is time to continue to build your skills and relationships with the schools you are interested in.
- Remember that Division I and Division II rules state that coaches cannot personally respond to your contacts until your Junior Year of high school.
- Update skills video to include the progress from the previous year.
- Continue your school research and narrow the list down to the top 50 colleges you’d like to attend.
- Continue reaching out to the programs and coaches of your choosing after narrowing your list down.
- Go on more unofficial campus visits.
- Start attending baseball camps and workshops that will help you network and develop your skills.
- Remain in constant contact with coaches, but remember to not overwhelm yourself or them with so many attempts to reach them.
- Continue to improve your skills and develop a niche.
- Update your skills video and have it professionally assessed.
- Coaches can start contacting you, so remember to respond to each one of them.
- Directly ask for feedback from the coaches regarding your current potential recruitment status.
- Continue to do your weekly school research.
- Narrow down your list even more by using the realistic responses from coaches and your research.
- You can start getting offers now, but make sure to evaluate what is being offered and identify what a need vs. a want for your collegiate career is.
- Continue to schedule your unofficial visits.
- Continue to network by going to baseball camps and showcases.
- The “potential colleges” list is the shortest it can get. We say no more than 15 schools on the list are appropriate by now.
- Apply for financial aid.
- Apply to the schools of your choosing.
- Make the official visits to each campus you decided to apply to.
- Continue the constant communication with the coaches.
- Sign a National Letter of Intent or commit to the school and program you decided on.
- Get your schedule for the upcoming school year and season.
- School Admissions
- Final High School Transcript Submission
- Proof of High School Graduation
- NCAA Eligibility Center Registration
- NCAA Amateurism Certificate
- Tread lightly on social media. As a student-athlete, you are under constant watch. We do not want a momentary lapse of judgment to cause you to lose the opportunity of a lifetime.
- Your physical appearance can affect your recruitment chances with some programs. So make sure to keep up with your workouts.
- Your points per game matter. Keep an accurate record of your stats to provide to anyone who asks or needs it.
- Think about college baseball vs. professional baseball. Sometimes professional teams (Triple-A and under) offer students the chance to play right out of high school, but they don’t always offer the best deals. Sometimes these students don’t get their chance at the major leagues because they’re stuck in a team below that.
We know the 2020-2021 Recruiting season is practically over, but we think this breakdown by contact period will give you a good idea of what to expect next year.
August 1, 2020 - July 31, 2021
We know this is a lot of information, but you are not alone. Here are a few more tips in case you need a reminder of what to do.
- Do not shut down the possibilities. Make sure you explore all your options before settling on a school because of name or money. Think about what school is the right academic fit, as well as an athletic fit.
- Recruitment is challenging, but don’t be discouraged. Many schools are looking for great players, but great players are looking for the right school. Unfortunately, some of these potential recruits don’t make it to signing day. But this means that a spot can open up just for you.
- Virtual and online recruitment is not a bad thing. Covid-19 has impacted the way all business is conducted, even recruitment. Don’t be discouraged by the limitations of our current high-risk environment.
- Remember to also ask about current players. Will they be returning for an extra year? Does their time with the team affect your scholarship amount? What do they have in mind for the future recruits?