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Bicker's Soap Box: US Lacrosse Statement on Recruiting

US Lacrosse logoUS Lacrosse has released a statement pushing for a change in the college lacrosse recruiting process. US Lacrosse is concerned that college recruiting, the way it is currently structured, does not allow for players to have a well rounded high school experience. The last sentence drives home the purpose for the statement. It reads, “US Lacrosse also encourages men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse coaches to exert their considerable influence to lead reform of the NCAA recruiting calendar, limit the age at which student-athletes begin the recruiting process, and agree not to attend or participate in recruiting events that infringe on the academic calendar of student-athletes.”
Currently the recruiting process, for NCAA D-I programs, is geared toward securing a recruiting class by the time players are sophomores in high school. Top programs have to secure the players with the most potential early and they risk a lot making these commitments. I have heard that coaches expect 50% of their recruits will contribute to the team and the other 50% will fizzle out and pursue other opportunities. Coaches are asking 16-year-olds where they want to commit 4 years of their life and what they want to major in. But it’s more than that, as Notre Dame Women’s head coach, Christine Halfpenny says, “It’s not a four-year choice — it’s a 40-year choice.”
Here is what I hope will happen. College coaches heed the request from US Lacrosse and they stop going to recruiting camps for youth and freshman. These camps should be geared toward teaching the young kids about the recruiting process and how to start thinking about a college which will provide the best overall experience. There are too many things that can go wrong with offering players scholarship too early. Maybe a sophomore recruit gets an offer to play at Syracuse so he becomes complacent in his training. Maybe he doesn’t play as hard so he doesn’t get hurt. Maybe once he gets to Syracuse he decides he hates the cold winters and doesn’t get along with the team? Would he have known more about this if he was recruited as a junior or senior?
As far as coaches not attending recruiting events that infringe on the academic calendar of student athletes…. I have a hard time agreeing with this. Players from Utah need every chance possible to show their skill in front of any college coach. My advice is to research the event and attend the events with the best rapport. Do kids get college offers from this camp? Are coaches from the school I’m interested in going to attend? Coaches will still have to go to the big recruiting events: Top 205, Nike Blue Chip, Blue Chip 225,…etc. And if a player wants to be recruited he or she will have to attend these types of recruiting camps, especially players from Utah where exposure is tough to come by. My advice is to attend all the recruiting camps you get a chance to, but be very aware of your purpose.
Official Release from US Lacrosse:

BALTIMORE, Oct. 18, 2012 — The US Lacrosse Board of Directors today approved the following statement on the complex nature of the collegiate recruiting process for high school student-athletes. The statement was developed by the national volunteer and staff leadership of US Lacrosse, in consultation with members of the coaching community, and it reads as follows:
US Lacrosse shares the concern of many lacrosse players, parents and coaches that the college recruiting process is not structured or timed in the best interests of high school student-athletes. The current landscape of recruiting events and club programs — some of which operate throughout the calendar year — has encouraged an increasing number of young student-athletes to forego a well-rounded high school experience based on unrealistic expectations and misperceptions about playing college lacrosse.
Parents are being led to believe that college coaches focus on recruiting only those children who play year-round lacrosse and who attend multiple, expensive recruiting events throughout the year. While some recruiting programs and events offer positive experiences for student-athletes, others — particularly those that conflict with the school calendar or occur outside of the traditional lacrosse season — threaten the well-being of student-athletes with incidents of injury and burnout. This intense recruiting culture also has eroded the work-life balance of coaches and parents.
US Lacrosse will continue to work with high school programs, clubs, tournament directors, the Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) to provide the information, resources and leadership necessary to enable high school student-athletes and their parents to make the best decisions about their lacrosse experience.
US Lacrosse also encourages men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse coaches to exert their considerable influence to lead reform of the NCAA recruiting calendar, limit the age at which student-athletes begin the recruiting process, and agree not to attend or participate in recruiting events that infringe on the academic calendar of student-athletes.

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