Finding Your College Fit!

Advice for Students and Families

Navigating Your Future In Pandemic

April Update

We begin our update with a reminder of what has NOT changed. NCAA Division 1 is still in a Covid-19 “Dead Period.” Coaches are not allowed to recruit off campus and cannot interact with prospective students on their own campuses through May 31st. The President’s Council has committed to updating everyone by mid-April with plans for “re-opening” and with the increasing pace of vaccinations nationwide this looks increasingly like a reasonable target.

The general shape of admissions and recruiting right now. The pace of recruiting for 2021/2022 grads has a bit of a “hurry up and wait” quality to it. The most popular admissions decision at highly selective schools is “waitlist.” In athletics, you have the pandemic pile up of massive transfer requests, academic progress issues, eligibility and scholarship waivers tacked onto the lack of opportunities for evaluating prospects. It is going to be a hectic spring and summer, all in a new, post NACAC settlement world where colleges can actively recruit students who have committed and paid deposits. Student-athletes who are proactive and responsive to coaches are going to be able to navigate this environment, but it is going to be quite a ride.

NIL REFORM COULD REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR COLLEGE SEARCH! The NCAA is “on the clock” set by California to formulate a lawful way to regulate student-athlete’s Name/Image/Likeness rights. Currently, the NCAA bans student-athletes from accepting ANY “extra benefits” from ANY entities while they play in college sports, making NCAA student-athletes the only people in America who are banned from monetizing their personal social media feeds or celebrity. The NAIA responded to this movement by creating a framework as the law intended, and NAIA student-athletes are now able to monetize their social media profiles personal celebrity, here is one of the first examples of the new rules in action. The NCAA has tried to reframe this issue and lobby for federal intervention to preserve the status quo, but the effort is based on arguments that can charitably be described as dishonest. In the next 12 – 24 months, each NCAA division will formulate and implement regulations allowing student-athletes to monetize their NIL rights.

Let us explore where we are headed in terms of NIL rights. First, in terms of what NIL rules might look like and then how monetizing NIL rights could empower you in your college search!

College Athletic Advisor expects the NCAA to set up a regulatory framework to prevent corrupt boosters/coaches/fans from using NIL rights as cover for payoffs. The simplest solution is requiring schools to track and report each student NIL transactions into the NCAA’s RSRO app. This would allow transparency for NCAA compliance folks to track patterns that suggest abuse in real time, and any unreported payment/compensation discovered would be a clear violation. A percentage based “fee” could also be applied so that students who are earning NIL money would be paying back to the colleges some amount roughly equivalent to the increase in their NIL value that comes from representing NCAA member schools. That pot of money could be used as “revenue sharing” going back into programs or to students to support equity in some way. It is worth noting that some analysts feel female athletes are better positioned than their male peers to benefit from these opportunities.

Now how does this impact the recruiting process. The most obvious impact is “follow the money.” If student-athletes can monetize their NIL rights, recruiting students with high value NIL rights in the first place (i.e. large social media accounts) becomes more important… so maybe you will need to unlock your Instagram account and start adding followers (and follow @College_Athletic_Advisor of course). NIL reform will also make finding your best fit even MORE important and complex.

Right now, the ONLY compensation you can accept as a collegiate student-athlete is a scholarship, which means colleges compete on price, but whatever discount or subsidy a school offers (or the ultimate cost of attendance) is the only financial consideration for your search. With NIL reform, a tuition discount or total cost of college is no longer the only financial consideration in play. Being able to play right away, getting support from the athletic department in building your NIL value, etc. may outweigh athletic scholarships for key student-athletes. It can also make playing at a higher profile Division 3 school more attractive, since playing for a school like Washington University – St. Louis could raise your NIL profile more than competing at Southeast Missouri State in many sports!

Do you still go “Division 1 or bust” or do you “max out your ability to monetize your NIL payout in the moment?” We will still be advising aspiring college student-athletes to weigh all these factors in determining their best fit! Because your NIL rights come with YOU not the college, you may have an easier time prioritizing your preferences in terms of class size, program quality relative to the people they play, overall environment, alignment with your educational and life goals, etc. rather than worrying primarily about the size of a tuition discount.

As always, if you are looking for the individualized or institutional consulting help that puts you ahead in our new post-pandemic world, check out our services here! You can make an initial appointment through the link on our homepage! School administrators and counselors access our free resources, appointments and programs for school collaboration here.

For more information, contact Dave Morris, College Counselor & CEO, College Athletic Advisor, or phone: (719) 248-7994

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March Update

The NCAA extended the D1 “Dead Period” through May 31 but has committed to providing a clear “post-Covid” timeline by mid-April. In retrospect, it makes some sense to simply close out the spring semester and restart in person recruiting nationally beginning this summer. Ultimately, with in person visits and off campus contacts remaining a risk factor, it is not surprising the NCAA maintained the in person recruiting pause until the summer. Here is the latest from the Division 1 Presidents Council:

The recruiting landscape right now. Obviously, it’s late in the game for 2021 grads, but there are a LOT of opportunities in that class for student-athletes are willing to look past the “hot” schools of the moment and find their fit! There has been extensive media coverage of the highly selective schools that are the big pandemic “winners” with significant increases in applications. But there has been relatively little coverage of two important caveats: even within the limited universe of top academic/ athletic conferences (like the Patriot League, UAA, or NESCAC) there are institutions that are setting admissions records and others that have seen a applications remain flat or even decrease. The opportunity for a strategic college bound student-athlete to find a great fit and get a great educational value may NEVER have been better!

The other issue for many prospective student-athletes is the recruiting process at a lot of schools feels stagnant. With an unprecedented number of transfer students, additional eligibility for returners, and disruptions in last year’s freshman class after a covid-impacted college transition/ delayed season, there is a LOT of “hurry up and wait” to the recruiting process right now. The 3 P’s: Persistence, Positivity, and Patience are key to working through this. You can always decide to look elsewhere if you feel like you are being kept on the back burner, but coaches also appreciate grace and persistence in difficult times, especially when there are barriers to college coaches evaluating you AND for you to evaluate colleges with in person visits!

One area where many student-athletes can move their recruiting forward with strategic effort is in improving or creating an impactful highlight video. You can go back through our newsletter archives for discussions about how to share your video, but here are some quick pointers about creating the video itself:

  • make your video at the highest resolution possible
  • start with your best clips to grab attention
  • trim clips so coaches understand the context, but eliminate “dead time”
  • keep it to 2-3 minutes or less, if a coach likes your clips THEN show them more
  • if you want to introduce yourself or include resume graphics… put them at the END
  • don’t wait for new content if you can put a compelling video together NOW
  • keep the audio track G-rated (or lyric free)

If you are overwhelmed or feel like you would benefit from professional help, we do offer a video editing package as a stand-alone option or as an add on to our customizable plans.