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Communication with Coaches

If you want to succeed as a student athlete, you need to establish a strong relationship with coaches. Your high school coach is someone you can turn to for guidance and support, but it is vital to know what college athletics coaches are looking for so you can market yourself as a great candidate for a scholarship.

Communication with Coaches | ABC Athletic Recruiting

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been around since the turn of the century and is an enormous organization, representing 450,000 athletes among three divisions. NCAA oversees 89 scholarships hosted by teams in 23 different sports. Every year, NCAA gives out over $1.5 billion in scholarships to talented young athletes.

Each NCAA division is different and has different requirements for applicants. Only Divisions I and II offer scholarships based on athletics, but Division III offers funding based on both merit and financial need. Here is a breakdown of each division:


Division I offers full and partial scholarships and is the most competitive of the three. Athletes at this level are the highest ranked among all college athletes. Approximately 340 schools and 70,000 students are ranked in Division I. Division I schools are only allowed to send recruiting information starting the summer of a student’s junior year. Note - if you are a men’s basketball recruit in Division I, you are allowed to send text messages to coaches (a luxury no other sports currently have.)


Division II features almost 315 schools that represent around 107,000 students. Competition at this level is considered intermediate and while it is not common for Division II schools to give out full scholarships, they often give out partial scholarships for student athletes who have proven their talents both on and off the field. Like Division I schools, Division II schools cannot send out recruitment materials before the summer of junior year.


Division III makes up 40% of the athletes in the NCAA. Over 440 colleges are ranked in this division, and 175,000 students are represented. While no athletic scholarships are offered at this level, playing in the division gives the student athletes exposure and can lead to recruitment from major leagues in the future. Division III schools can send out recruitment materials at any point during an athlete’s high school career.

While Division I and II schools can’t send recruiting information before a specific time, they can send questionnaires, brochures for various camps and admissions information from the college at any point during a student athlete’s high school years. It is strongly encouraged that students reach out to coaches once they figure out what schools they would be interested in playing for following their high school graduation.

Juniors who play basketball or football can start receiving calls from coaches during this year, but most of the other sports do not allow coaches to reach out to students until senior year. Coaches are limited to a certain number of calls, but students can contact the coaches as much as they would like.

In order to stand out, be sure that you send letters in both electronic and printed format. The best letters and the ones that will stand out are those with personal touches. Mentioning aspects you admire about the particular school or giving kudos to a coach who recently won a game or championship can give you big brownie points and are much more memorable than a dull, generic email that a coach will likely forget or perhaps ignore.

When sending a letter, include your contact information, signature and a link to your recruiting profile with ABC Athletic Recruiting. This profile should include an academic and athletics resume and list of accomplishments, as well as game stats and clips from game highlights.



Keep note of these communications guidelines so you know when to expect to hear from coaches:

  • Division I coaches begin sending recruitment information and/or calling prospective recruits starting September 1 of a student’s junior year for most sports, and starting June 15 after sophomore year for men’s basketball and hockey. Most sports allow off-campus contact the summer following junior year, but these rules vary in football and men’s and women’s basketball. Official visits for men’s basketball can start as early as January 1 of junior year and most other sports require coaches to wait until senior year before making official visits (a maximum of five are allowed)

  • By June 15 of your junior year, Division II coaches can begin calling you, contacting you off-campus, and mailing you recruitment information. Athletes in their senior year can receive an unlimited number of official visits from coaches in this division

  • Coaches representing schools in Division III, as well as schools belonging to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics can call and mail material at any point during a student’s high school career. After junior year, coaches can initiate off-campus contact and upon senior year, one official visit is allowed

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