Welcome to Interview #84
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NAIA Women’s Basketball Coach of Ohio Christian University, Jamey Batten.
Jamey Batten has been the head women’s basketball coach at Ohio Christian University (OCU) since 2014. OCU is really Batten’s home. With the exception of a four year head women’s coaching position at Cincinnati Christian University, Batten has been a player, coach and athletic director at OCU since 1997.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen? If an athlete personally contacts you by phone or email, what will you do next?
If they are an athlete on my radar then I will immediately respond to them. If it is someone new then we need to evaluate them as a player. I want to watch them play in person or watch their game film. I think the biggest thing in the recruiting process is the campus visit. If I am interested in a player then my top goal after the evaluation process is to get them on campus.
Why do you think athletes should consider an NAIA college? What are the benefits of an NAIA school specifically?
I think the NAIA has great opportunities for student-athletes. The basketball and coaching is high quality and you just have to find the right program and school to meet your needs. In our program we play NCAA D1 competition every year too so if you want to compete on a big stage we provide those opportunities too.
Ohio Christian is also a member of the NCCAA? Can you explain what that is and why your university is in two associations?
The NCCAA is a national association made up of faith-based institutions and offers regional and national tournament play in the postseason. It gives our team an additional opportunity to play in regional and national tournaments if we come up short of reaching the NAIA nationals. The NCCAA is a mixed bag of NAIA schools and NCAA schools so it’s kind of exciting to see a bracket that you wouldn’t see elsewhere.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your rosters?
As an NAIA division II school we have a budgetary cap but each individual institution may also have their own cap. As a coach, we have to manage the resources that our school gives us to build a competitive roster. We do not have unlimited resources.
If a student athlete has an academic scholarship it makes it a lot easier for us to give them a more aggressive financial aid package. If they also get any need based aid like Pell grant, then we can really come up with a very competitive offer.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
I think parents play a key role. No one cares about the student-athlete as much as the parents do. I think the parents should focus more about overall fit for a program and a school than anything else.
Once the student attends school I think it is good for parents to give their child a little space to grow and develop. Try not to over-advocate and get involved in every situation they face as a freshman.
How do you use social media when recruiting? What is your advice to recruits about their use of social media?
Social Media is a daily part of life nowadays. I would encourage athletes to not “hurt their stock price” by being vulgar of overly dramatic on social media. As coaches, we want athletes that are low maintenance and internally motivated.
I have stopped recruiting an athlete before because of things I saw on social media. Coaching is challenging enough. We want to avoid any players that are high-maintenance, drama magnets.
What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the college recruiting process?
I think the biggest mistake is not checking out a school that is interested in you. It can never hurt to have another offer so visit as many schools and talk to as many coaches as you can. The worst case scenario is you end up with a little more leverage to get a better offer somewhere else.
Ohio Christian University is a Christian school. Will all religious schools be similar? What are differences that recruits should think about when choosing a religious school?
I really like OCU because we are a growing institution. We have gone from 400 students to 4,000 students so exciting things are happening. The growth is happening because our campus culture is very high on individual investment in students and that is a byproduct of being in a Christian University.
Our campus faculty and staff actively mentor students and our athletes will graduate with several “mountain movers” in their corner. We do this while allowing room for individuality and imagination. We do not want all of our students to all come out the exact same. That would just be boring.
What should players expect from a Christian college athletic experience?
They should expect to be open to developing the spiritual side of things and seeing beyond just themselves. Praying with your team before a game or doing a service project together is a common thing on our campus. Some teams have gone overseas for mission projects and international playing opportunities. We see it as something that enhances the student athlete experience.
Can you share a story or two about athletes who have gone through your program that have been impacted by their time in the basketball program?
Kaylee had signed with OCU two months before I took over the program and ended up choosing to go to a college closer to home. After a semester there, she realized that she missed what she would have had at OCU. At Christmas break, she decided to transfer to Ohio Christian. Since then she has become a team leader and has thrived academically. Going to another school first just made her appreciate the campus environment that we offer.
In her junior year, Kaylee sustained an injury that would prevent her from ever playing competitively again. We decided to make her a student assistant coach for her senior year so she can get coaching experience prior to graduating as her dream is to be a coach someday.
Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
We teach the three T’s. Everything we do in our program revolves around our core values of developing
I could talk at length about any of these areas. We really feel like if we are accomplishing these three things then we will be successful and our athletes will go on and be successful in life.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or basketball athletes in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
Find the best fit for you.
Don’t get caught up in the level as much as the quality of the program and the school. There are good and bad programs at every level.
Do at least 5 campus visits by Thanksgiving of your senior year. If a coach really likes you, they will offer you.
Enjoy the process.
Jamey Batten has been the head women’s basketball coach at Ohio Christian University (OCU) since 2014. OCU is really Coach Batten’s home. He was an OCU assistant men’s coach from 2012 until he took over the women. He was the men’s head coach and athletic director from 2003-2007. Before coaching, he was a student athlete at OCU from 1997-2001. Coach Batten has only been away from OCU for four years when he was the head women’s coach at neighboring Cincinnati Christian University.
For Coach Batten’s full Bio go to: Ohio Christian University Women’s Basketball.
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