The Three Sins of College Recruiting
12 Aug 2018
by Brendan Ryan of Golf Placement Services

Chattanooga Times Free Press photo
Chattanooga Times Free Press photo

The main reason I started to contribute to forums like AmateurGolf.com, was my desire to provide junior golfers and their families access to information based on large population data and academically validated information. In this article, I want to introduce families to a few of the cardinal sins in the recruitment process including not knowing the numbers, “playing what if” and having big ears to hear everyone’s opinion.

Not Knowing the Numbers

The most common mistake of junior golfers and their families is to over value themselves and shoot for school significantly out of their reach. So how do you know where you stand? By understanding how your current rank is related to opportunities. To begin, go to Junior Golf Scoreboard (njgs.com) and click rankings and then search your name. You will find your overall ranking. Now divide the number by about 2 and it will give you an idea of your ranking in your class. Why is this number important? Because research shows that these numbers are strong predictors of where the junior will sign to play college golf. Here are some important statistics:

• Players ranked among the top 90 in their class will have a plethora of options, including a very good chance (if they want) to attend a Power 5 School and having lots of options

• Players ranked among the top 365 in their class with a scoring differential of 0 or better have a very good chance of playing Division One Golf and having multiple offers

• Players ranked in the top 600 in their class with a scoring differential of 1.5 or better have a chance to play Division 2 or mid major Division One golf, but are unlikely to get many offers

• Anyone else, should be actively engaged in the recruitment process and be considering all options, while looking to play tournaments only where they think they can lower their scoring differential and improve their ranking

While you might think emailing some reach schools is a worthwhile investment of time, my data suggests that many Power 5 schools are getting 25,000 plus emails per year, when looking for 1-3 players, with smaller schools still often getting 10,000+ inquires for 1-3 spots. Of these, a considerable number of candidates (70%+) are serious golfers, training full time who wish to pursue college golf and beyond.

Playing What if….

Knowing the numbers is important because too many junior golfers and their families spend most of the recruitment process playing “what if”. Example, “what if” next week I win the AJGA? “What if”, I make perfect on the SAT? While the “what if game” might be exciting, it is going to be emotional exhausting and take its toll on the junior golfer, impacting everything from their mood to their performance.

Instead of playing “what if” prospective student athletes and their families should take an active role in the recruitment process by knowing where they fit and visiting real options. As someone who as visited over 800 campuses in 45 states, I can tell you you’re likely to be surprised by how many schools have sound academic environments and good facilities with other competitive players.

Big Ears

I would strongly advise that junior golfers and their families not listen to anyone in the recruitment process. Why? Because in 15 years of working in the industry, I have never read 1 good article or spoken to anyone (other than a college coach) who has much of an idea of what’s really going on. Instead, people have assumptions based on small sample sizes without any context. Not only is that not helpful, it’s going to give you a headache.

Parents and juniors should also be wary of nefarious claims of organizations which will help provide benefit to their children. While there is nothing wrong with loving and supporting your child, the data shows that college golf is extremely fair, and the recruitment process will likely nudge your family to a school where your son and daughter will fit.

I hope that this article has helped provide valuable insight into the recruitment process. Should you have further questions or comments, I would invite you to reach out to me! Visit golfplacementservices.com.

>> More Articles by Brendan Ryan

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