Playing In College: Inside the Recruitment Process

Lucas Hammerman ’10
A& E Editor

Staples Varsity Football Coach Marce Petroccio said, “It is a great process. There is a place for everyone and I think the parents here as well as the kids do a great job in that process.”

This process is not as clear-cut as many would think, as both the college coaches and high school athletes have an equal role in the recruitment system.

Chris Wiederecht ’09 was recruited for swimming by a vast number of colleges such as: the University of Tennessee, Ohio State University, the United States Naval Academy, Columbia University, Yale University and the University of Wisconsin. He will attend the University of Wisconsin after graduating Staples High School.

“The colleges cannot call you or visit you until July first going into senior year,” said Wiederecht.

“If they like you enough they will invite you on a recruitment trip,” said Wiederecht.

A recruitment trip is an all expense paid trip, with rules. As established by The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the athlete is only allowed a maximum of five trips. The college pays for transportation, lodging, food and entertainment but the trip cannot exceed 48 hours.

However, the athletes are the ones who do more work. Varsity Girls Basketball Captain Eliza Howe ’09, who was recruited during her junior year and will be attending Hamilton College, has been attending a camp run by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) since third grade. This camp helped Howe get recruited. “There was lots of exposure on the AAU Team,” said Howe. “It’s basically a showcase for my teammates and I.”

For those athletes trying to be recruited, it is common for college coaches to come and observe players at these camps.

Such is the case for Jack Ambrose ’10, defense for Staples varsity lacrosse team, who has colleges such as Amherst, Yale, Dartmouth, UMass, Princeton and Harvard trying to recruit him. Ambrose started playing lacrosse in fifth grade and said that he got colleges’ attention at camps. “I got to play in front of all the coaches,” said Ambrose. Since freshman year Ambrose’s goal has been to be recruited.

The athlete is virtually always the one to make first contact with the colleges they want to go to because of the NCAA rules.

“I met with him [the Hamilton coach] first and then he started going to some of my games,” said Howe. Many recruits simply send an email or DVD of themselves playing to the coaches.

There is also pressure that is put on the recruits. “It is nerve-racking. I hear about all my friends from my summer camp committing,” commented Ambrose on the process. Committing means telling a college one will accept the recruitment offers.

Still grades matter, meaning that an athlete going through the recruitment process has to put just as much time into academics as he/she would athletics.

“The first thing that matters is grades. Because a college won’t look at you if you don’t have the grades,” said Ambrose.

In the end, though, there is a slight advantage to recruitment because a college coach influences the application office. “I couldn’t get into Wisconson without the swimming,” said Wiederecht.

Recruiting is not a process where a butler comes to you and serves you a choice of colleges on a silver platter. Rather, it is a long and exhausting as the games the athletes play themselves.

Staples High School there are many athletes, among these students there are those who are skilled and dedicated enough to go through the rigorous recruitment process.