When can you expect scholarship offers?
There is no greater confusion in the recruiting process than the question of athletic scholarship offers. As a parent or player you feel helpless. You have no idea what is going on. You have never been through this process. Is the coach seriously interested in recruiting you? Are you a valuable enough recruit to receive a scholarship? And you have no idea how to find the answers.
I am guessing you feel anxiety about scholarship offers. Once again, we asked the college coaches themselves for answers and guidance. As always you will see similarities among coaches, but you will also see there is no one “right” answer. Everything in college recruiting is situational and depends on real people – a real coach and a real athlete – trying to make the best possible decisions in an intense atmosphere.
If you thought it was confusing before, look at the variety of answers college coaches about when scholarships are offered. Notice how many coaches say each coach and situation are different; but what we are looking for are any specifics they lay out in their answers.
When can you expect Division 1 scholarship offers?
First, take a look at the typical Division 1 timeline. Division 1 coaches apply pronounced pressure to commit early. Early commitments must be verbal, because the actual written commitment comes on signing day of the senior year.
Common things you will notice from Division 1 schools:
- Coaches and schools are definitely not all the same. They vary in both how and when they typically make scholarship offers.
- Verbal commitments happen before the senior year. If you are a senior and Division 1 coaches have not made you scholarship offers, it is probably time to focus on the other divisions where you should be able to find opportunities.
“Different schools will offer scholarships in different ways. We like to do it directly and it comes from the head coach. Usually it will be in the spring or summer after their junior year. But some schools may have assistants offer scholarships. Also due to NCAA rules prohibiting contact during events, it will often be done through a coach. But scholarship offers are different from different schools. Some just do it as a way to say they are really interested in recruiting you. Others may want you to commit immediately.”
“All Division 1 sports have different times when they offer. Basketball is getting earlier, sometimes early junior year or even summer of sophomore year. For late bloomers, it isn’t uncommon to be in your senior year. Don’t get discouraged if you are a late bloomer!”
“Scholarships can be offered anytime verbally. That is called a verbal offer and if a player says yes, that is a verbal commitment. Usually, offers are made during a player’s junior year or junior summer.”
“That is going to depend on the university and the coach for sure. I have heard of programs offering to 8th graders. And have seen programs offer to players in the spring of their senior year. Typically, we see offers made during the second half of the sophomore year and all of the junior year.”
“I will offer a scholarship either on the phone or in person. Every recruit is different in the timing. If it is a recruit that I know would be a good fit I will offer this individual as early as September. With that said, I do like to get through all of my official visits and then offer a scholarship. After I wrap up my visits then I will look at who will be the best fit for the program.”
If you are ready for scholarship offers, take your campus visits!
You should schedule all of your campus visits within one month of each other. Coaches often make their final decisions about you on your official visit. Most coaches, if they are seriously interested, will offer you a scholarship on the official visit or within a week. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are in the coach’s office. This is the time to ask how interested they are in you and when you will know if they will be offering a scholarship. Otherwise you will be watching your phone for a call that may never come.
“We like to offer either on the visit or shortly thereafter (a week or less). Once we offer we want to know where we stand – Top 2 choices, Top 3 choices, etc. We don’t mind waiting for a decision but we’d like to know the timeline.”
“Every program is a bit different from the number of scholarships to when they offer them. Many times scholarships are not offered until the week of the Official Visit or when the coaches have decided to add you to their recruiting class. So this usually happens in the fall of the athlete’s senior year prior to applying and most schools prefer their scholarship athletes to apply in the early application process.”
Scholarship offers are not final until you sign the National Letter of Intent.
The verbal offer and acceptance is only the first step. You are not signed, have not secured your place on the team and have not secured your scholarship until you sign your National Letter of Intent (NLI) during your senior year. When a coach offers you a Letter of Intent you should plan to respond within a week. If you delay in your response, the offer may not remain valid. If you don’t think you can respond within one week, talk to the coach and let him/her know exactly what the issue is and clarify whether or not they will give you any additional time.
“The first thing we do is to try to fill specific event needs (distance, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws). We can offer a scholarship in November of their senior year or in the spring (usually April). If we make an offer of a National Letter of Intent, the NCAA rule is 7 days from the date of the letter. If they do not respond the offer is no longer viable.”
“Written scholarships in Division 1 schools can only be offered starting on the National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing day. A written letter can be sent to the recruit beginning August 1 detailing what the scholarship offer will be when it is sent out on NLI signing day. Student Athletes are typically at the mercy of the school in determining the time frame they have to respond to the offer. This time frame ranges widely.”
“Most often times scholarships are offered during a campus visit or before a visit over the phone.”
When can you expect Division 2 and NAIA scholarship offers?
As you move into different levels of play the answers change. Division 2 and NAIA commitments often lag behind the Division 1 timeline. Athletes who never look at Division 1 will secure their roster spots early. There is a trickle down effect in which athletes not offered a Division 1 scholarship begin taking their other options more seriously and making commitments. These athletes may not finalize their decision until fall of the senior year. You will see from these coaches answers that recruiting becomes much more situational.
“This depends on each school and so this is a tough question to answer! I know that if I see a player that I truly want and know they can succeed with me both at school and as a player, I will offer them a scholarship right away! I know that I have a timeline in how long I want them to make a decision, and we let our PSA’s know right from the beginning as early as one of the few first calls, when we are expecting them to make a decision. It usually is a few months in advance, so the PSA knows they can make an informed decision when they need to decide what school to attend and where they feel the most comfortable at.”
“There is no set time for us to make offers, it all is situational. I usually set a timeline for the player based on the size of the offer. Less time for larger offers, probably a week or two.”
The NAIA has fewer rules and therefore individual circumstances can vary even more widely than in the NCAA. In the NAIA, offers can be offered and signed anytime during the year. However, one thing seems to be common, the offer has a time limit and that limit is fairly short.
“Scholarships in the NAIA are offered year round. Most offers are verbal from the coach and then put in paper form via email. Each offer has a different time frame. With no signing date in NAIA it allows for this. Having coached in NJCAA and NCAA levels, and having signing periods we were strict on timeline. However we will not leave the offer out for a long periods of time.”
Signing during the spring of the senior year is rare at the Division 1 level, but happens a bit more often at the Division 2 and NAIA levels. The later you get into your senior year, the less scholarship money coaches have left and is often gone. However, recruiting is fluid and there are occasions money opens up for a coach if another athlete backs out late.
“We usually finalize our recruiting during the early signing period, but each year may be different. There will be different recruiting needs each year. Things also can change during the year and some scholarship money could become available late. I don’t plan on ever putting pressure on someone to sign. I believe that just like student athletes want to be wanted, we also want student athletes who want to be here. There are some amazing athletes out there, buTt there is so much more to building a team than just picking the best players. Nothing can replace great synergy that a team can have when a group of people are there for each other. Spring signings for the sport of basketball are not very likely to happen at the Division 1 level. They are somewhat likely at the Division 2 level.“
The truth about how to get scholarship offers:
The blunt truth is no coach will offer you a scholarship if you don’t have the talent to help their program. The hidden truth is no matter how talented you are, no coach will offer you a scholarship if they have not developed a relationship with you. Scholarship offers are relationship based.
There are a lot of talented athletes coming out of high school. What separates the talented athletes who receive athletic scholarships from those who don’t? Luck is not the primary factor. Make a recruiting plan and follow it step by step to get noticed by college coaches. Develop relationships with those coaches and you will have the ability to turn your talent into a college roster spot and quite possibly an athletic scholarship.
Here is another great article about scholarships: Little Known Secrets About Athletic Scholarships
If you’re tired of wasting thousands of dollars on the recruiting process…
If you’re terrified that you’re going to ruin any chances your teenager has of being recruited by a great program…
If you want to do everything you can to give your high school athlete the best chance at a sports career that will fuel their self-identity for years to come…
Then the How to Get Recruited Guide will give you a step-by-step plan to turn your child’s sports talent into offers. There’s a lot to learn about the recruiting process. How to Get Recruited condenses mountains of advice, and converts it to simple action steps that will get college coaches calling.
How to Get Recruited: A Step-By-Step Plan to Become a College Athlete
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