This is a question that I have found perplexing to a lot of parents. Should I, as a parent, go up to a college coach at a recruiting tournament and talk to them? Especially if it is a college that my son or daughter is interested in attending? The unequivocal answer to that question is YES!
Per NCAA bylaw 13.1.4, in a nutshell, college coaches are not permitted to talk to student-athletes “until after the prospective student-athlete’s final contest is completed and he or she is released by the appropriate institutional authority and leaves the dressing and meeting facility.” (See the post Contact from Coaches at Tourneys.)
However, this bylaw does not prevent college coaches from speaking to the parents of the student-athletes. While the student-athletes are easy to pick out on the field (via their team names and jersey number), picking out the parents of a student-athlete is not easy. Most college coaches do wear the name of their college on shirt or hat, so we are fairly easy to pick out!
So I encourage parents to go up and talk to the college coaches that are recruiting your son or daughter. This helps both sides as we coaches can get insight into the student-athlete—do they want a big or small school, what other schools are they considering, where are they in their decision making process— and the parents get a face to face conversation with the coach to learn about anything they want to ask of the coach.
It is especially helpful when there are extenuating circumstances at work. Several years back I was recruiting a young lady for my team and as I was watching her play I thought she was not very good and did not want her for my team. Lo and behold, her parents came up to me and introduced themselves and thanked me for coming to watch their daughter. Then they also told me she had just had her wisdom teeth out the day before and she wasn’t sure if she would be able to play or not. That conversation changed my whole opinion of the player— it showed that despite having surgery, she was willing to come out and play and was committed!
At a recruiting tourney last weekend, I had a parent of a student-athlete come up to me and start the conversation with “I am sorry to interrupt because I know you are busy working, but I am the mother of…”. The fact that she felt the need to apologize right from the get go was a surprise for me. After I told her that she did not need to apologize, we had a great conversation.
While sitting in a folding chair at a soccer field and taking notes may not seem like a lot of work, there is a great deal of work that goes into recruiting. Watching players at events is only a part of it. However, one of the most important pieces to recruiting is the face to face conversations D3 coaches have with parents (and student-athletes).
The bottom line is this— dialogue between D3 college coaches and parents is crucial to a successful recruiting experience. Whether that dialogue takes place on the phone, in the coach’s office or at a recruiting tournament is not important. What is important is that it takes place and if you as a parent can initiate that dialogue, that can go a long way.
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.