College Baseball Recruiting, Part 2

Back in August, when I wrote the first section of this guide, I was sitting in Long Island at a baseball recruiting camp.  Now that my son has completed the process, I want to share the rest of our experience for others who, like myself, have an athletic kid but no idea how the college sports recruiting process works.

Some reminders.  First, this is baseball-specific -- other sports work differently, I presume.  Second, this is the experience of a kid with good baseball skills but not good enough to have been scouted by a Division I baseball power like Texas or Arizona State.  Third, my son was not looking for scholarship money.  He was looking to play baseball in college, and to parlay his baseball talent into admission in a top academic school.  We were looking at division III (DIII from now on) schools like Williams, Amherst, Haverford, Pomona and a few DI Ivies.  Finally, our experience is heavily colored by the fact that he plays for one of the smallest high schools in the state, so getting attention and recruiting advice was much harder than if he had played for a baseball powerhouse.

Here were some of the lessons from our first episode:

  • The DIII baseball recruiting process does not really even begin until the summer between Junior and Senior year.  My son landed a good spot without a single coach even knowing he existed as of June 1 before his Senior year of high school.  As late as January of his senior year he was still getting emails from coaches asking him if he might be interested in their school.
  • In baseball, coaches mostly ignore high school stats and records unless it is a school with which they are very familiar.  They use their eyes to pick talent - ie from video or watching kids play at recruiting camps  (more on the video and camps in our first episode)
  • As we will see in a minute, only about three things my son did in recruiting really mattered -- see the first episode for more detail on what we did
    • He proactively contacted coaches to tell them he was interested
    • He sent coaches a 5-10 minute video of himself pitching and hitting.  We made it from game film but I think most of the videos are just taken in a cage (you can see a bunch of these on YouTube, or email me and I will give you a link to ours)
    • He went to several camps, which fell into two categories:  School camps, at schools he was really interested in; and multi-school camps run by third parties.  Of the latter, I am convinced the Headfirst Honor Roll camps are the best if you are interested in DIII or DI "smart schools" (e.g. Ivies, Duke, UVA, Stanford).

OK, so we left off with my son at a two-day baseball camp.  My son sent out emails afterwards to the coaches that were at the camp and from schools in which he was interested.  Basically he said "nice to have met you, still really interested in your school; now that you have seen me, I'd like to know what you think."  He had a few good conversations with coaches at the camp, but after that we really did not hear much until after Labor Day.  In retrospect, this delay is probably because the coaches have lots of camps and they want to synthesize their prospect list after all the camps before talking in earnest with players.

We really did not know what to expect.  Would coaches call, and if they did, what were the next steps?  It was only later that we learned what outcome we should be hoping to hear:  Basically, each coach is given some spots by the admissions office (the average seems to be 5 for the baseball guys).  If your kid can make that list, then two good things happen:  a) it means the coach wants the kid on the team. And b) it generally means the kid will get a good shove to help him through the admissions process, not an inconsequential thing at a school like Princeton or Amherst.

Here is what happened next.  This was just our experience, but since it was repeated at five or six schools, almost identically, its a good bet this is a fairly standard process at colleges with high admission requirements:

  • The coach asks my son to send his transcript and SAT scores early to the Admissions office.
  • The Admissions office vets these, and gives the coach a reading -- for us, that reading was generally "if you put this kid on your short list, coach, he very likely will get in."
  • The coach then passed this message to my kid, saying there are no guarantees (etc. etc.) but all the kids with this same read from the admissions office who have been on his list have gotten in in the past.

BUT, there is a bit of a catch.  The coach will say that he can only put my kid on his list if we will commit to applying early decision.  Early decision (ED) means that one applies in November and hears in December (so well earlier than the April 1 regular admit date), but it is a binding commitment to attend if admitted.  This means that one can only apply to one school early decision.  Coaches aren't dumb.  They can't afford to waste the few recruiting spots they have on kids who aren't going to come.  So there is a quid pro quo - the coach will commit to the kid and help him through admissions, but the kid has to commit to the program.

But we only learned this later.  When coaches started calling, we weren't sure what to expect.   A couple called early to say that my son would not be on their list.  I have to give kudos to Coach Bradley from Princeton -- he called and told my son he wouldn't make the list.  It was not the news we wanted to hear, but he was up front and honest with us so we did not waste our time.  He was also the one who really explained all the stuff I wrote above, so we were more knowledgeable when other coaches called.

Soon, however, we were getting floods of interested contacts.  Many were from the coaches he had proactively contacted.  Some were from schools we never had heard of, and some were from very good schools but in parts of the country that weren't in his college search area (e.g. Kenyon, Grinnell, Carlton in the midwest).  Many of these coaches asked for him to come to campus (on our own dime, they were not paying) for a visit, including an overnight stay with someone on the team.  Eventually my son scheduled visits at Wesleyan, Bowdoin, Vassar, and Haverford.  He chose these in some cases for the school and in some cases because he really liked the coach.  All four of these offered him a spot on the short list for admissions if he was willing to go ED.

It was at this point that we hit the highlight of the whole process.  Like many parents, I just want to see my kid gain life skills.   My son will never be a good sales person.  He is really, really hesitant to cold call adults to ask them for something.  This process was good for him in that sense, because he began to see the fruits of having proactively cold-called these coaches earlier in the process.  But I still had to poke and prod him to do it.

However, with these other visits set up, my son was apparently thinking "these would all be good schools, but they are not in the top tier of my aspirations."  He was thinking about skipping ED, and trusting his grades and resume to the regular admissions process so he could still take a shot at his top choices (places like Princeton and Stanford).

He decided that the ideal choice for him would be Amherst - he loved the school, it was top-notch academically, had a great baseball tradition and an engaging coach.  That was the school he would be willing to go ED for.  He had met the Amherst coach on a school visit and at camp and Coach Hamm had been very nice.  But in the Fall,we had not heard anything from him.  (I have to insert a story here -- way back in March my son was on the Amherst campus and dropped by without an appointment at Coach Hamm's office.  At that point, Hamm did not know who my son was -- for all he knew he might have been the strikeout leader in T-ball.  But he spent a whole hour with Nic showing him around the facility and later at practice.)

This is where the breakthrough came.  Without my prodding or even involvement, my son contacted Coach Hamm one more time, to say he had not heard from Amherst but he was still really interested and he would be touring other nearby colleges in a week or so and would still love to meet with him.

We will never know exactly what happened.  Perhaps the coach was late in kicking off his recruiting.  Perhaps another kid on his list dropped out.  Perhaps he just wanted to sit back and see which kids were the hungriest.  Whatever the case, Coach Hamm wrote back immediately and said he would love to meet my son on campus  (he actually changed around a trip to be there).  The process described above played out (grades to the Admissions office, offer to be on the "list", ED application) and long story short, Nic will be at Amherst next year.

As I mentioned earlier, there was no money offered for baseball (nor could there be in leagues like the Ivies or the NESCAC which ban athletic scholarships).  Amherst has a great financial aid program, and there are great possibilities for scholarships, grants, and tuition discounts -- but these are offered to all admits, not just to athletes.

I hope this is helpful to some folks who are just starting this process -- I know it would have been a huge help to us to understand in advance.

Postscript:  One of the hardest things in the world is to get a good honest reading on your son's talent, particularly if he does not play for a top high school team.  People have told my son that he should not have gone DIII, he could be playing DI or he should be in front of pro scouts.  You have to take all this stuff with a grain of salt.  Sure, you don't want to cut off an opportunity, but on the flip side, sort of like the fox and the cheese, you don't want to lose a good thing chasing the illusion of something better (we know folks this happened to in other sports).

I don't know how to solve this, maybe people have experiences they can put in the comments.  For us, being from a small school, several summers playing club ball in a wood bat leagues with the big school kids finally convinced us our son could play at a high level (I say convinced us as parents, our son does not lack confidence so he always knew).

PS#2:  Fun Amherst facts

  • shotgunner

    I find it hard to believe any son of yours would be able to fit in at Pomona College. They are as far left as it gets.

  • Anonzmous

    Congrats to your son. He has my best wishes for an enjoyable and successful academic and athletic career at a fine school.

  • Ted Rado

    It is unfortunate that many young people put so much emphasis on college sports. University is supposed to be a place where one gets an education to prepare themselves for a career in business or industry. Any substantial diversion from that goal is a huge mistake.

    I started university in the summer of 1945. One of my fellow freshman engineering students was on the foorball team (he was 17 and I was 16). He played first string. At the end of the year he transfered to PE as he could not put in the practise time plus the study time for a difficult curriculum. The next fall, the WWII veterans came back and he was a bench warmer. In the end, he did not play much football, and he gave up engineering, which he really loved. What a pity.

    Only a tiny percentage of college athletes make it big in sports. The rest are stuck with snap course degrees (or are dropouts). I am sure there are those who feel otherwise, but I believe it is a blunder to be seriously involved in sports in college. The object is to study, not to play games.

  • CMJDad

    Ted, I must humbly disagree. Kids have to chase the dream. I didn't, and look back and wished I had. You are correct that only a small percentage make the bigs in sports, but one never really knows what the future holds.

  • GARY

    The first thing you learn are that the pro scouts are pro liars and college scouts are lying also. The best way to market your son are the camps where there will be multiple scouts and he will test himself against regional or national competitition.Perfect Game or Area Code are examples but there are others,CAUTION SOME OF THESE ARE BY INVITATION ONLY. The big question is whether you want to start at possibly a lower rated club or be the 19th pitcher at some SEC School.Don't discount JUCO. Home work on this decision is enormous take your time and ask questions. Good luck

    Experienced Dad from Fl

  • SR

    Best of luck and congratulations to Nic. I would be ecstatic if one of my children
    had gone to Amherst. There are probably many DI schools where Nic could scarcely get
    the educational cachet. Do you know if any D III players get a chance to participate
    in summer wood bat camps where the pro scouts really get to see them in
    competition that mirrors professional baseball, and a player at last gets the chance to
    measure up to the real competition.

  • Mark2

    @Ted Rado

    Common mistake you are making. College is a place where you go to enhance your skills and natural talents. If one happen to be talented in Sports, that person can go to college and learn to make the best of it.

    I understand you should also try to develop your talents in a way that can potentially help one earn money in the future, but that isn't necessarily only available through the engineering college.

    From Warren's post I know very little about his son's other college goals and aspirations. Or if he has plan how to use his education.

  • http://www.whiterockkitchens.com Mike

    I will add that the whole admission process is negotiable with all but the most select schools. Once the acceptance letters go out, the admissions staff begin working on "yield." The best position for your kid to be in: she wants to attend a school that is behind on its yield. You can wrangle a much nicer financial aid package out of those schools. Especially if her father calls the financial aid office and tells them that while he really wants her to attend the school, she seems more interested in a rival school.

    Remember, in most cases you will be negotiating with someone that is half your age.

    We are paying, for tuition, room and board, about half of what we paid for tuition to a Catholic high school. There are no loans involved.

    Good grades and high test scores help, of course.

  • http://www.whiterockkitchens.com Mike

    One more thing: You can make the phone call about the first of August at some schools and the money will really come your way.

  • bradley13

    I have to agree with Ted (and disagree with CMJDad/Mark2). College is supposed to be about education. Note that almost every kid graduating with an engineering degree will go on to a reasonable career as an engineer. Very few kids who play college sports go on to pro careers.

    Physical activities are important, but at too many colleges they interfere with (what should be) the primary goal of running an educational institution. As an example, recently a University in Florida decided to eliminate their computer science department, in order to save about $2 million. Purely coincidentally, they wanted to raise expenditures on their sports program by about $2 million.

  • DrTorch

    Did your son visit Amherst in the winter? SAD is something worth considering for college selection. Having to do it over again, I would never have attended a school around Chicago, and probably would have focused my attention on schools south of I-70, most certainly south of I-80.

  • DrTorch

    Oh, and it's not just his susceptibility to SAD, it's the rest of the campus too. It's no fun being around a bunch of depressed people.

  • Zach

    I disagree with the "college is just for an education" sentiment. There has to be a balance. For the non-revenue sports (football and basketball), I would bet that most hiring managers, given a choice between 2 graduates with relevant degrees, one with a 4.0 and one with a 3.5 but with a sport, would choose the 3.5 (particularly with references from the coach). 3.5 is still a respectable GPA, but that kid has shown that he can work on a team, set and achieve goals, be a leader, blah blah blah. Plus, he's got a network of contacts already through his teammates. I went to an engineering school, and they drilled into our heads "get involved, whether it's a sport or a professional organization or your Greek house, whatever". Managers see a 4.0 but with no interaction as someone they can just shove into a corner and shovel nonstop shit their way, and that's assuming they have a need for such a role.

  • Ted Rado

    Occasionally, a young person may be able to pursue both sports and a serious education. I knew a guy who was captain of the university football team and also a B student in engineering. I also know of guy who was first string on a major college football team who is now an office trainee in a small local trucking company. If someone wants to dilute their study effort to play sports, it is certainly their priveledge to do so. I believe it is a huge mistake.

    It would be interesting to see data on incomes for college athletes vs non-athletes 20 years later. One could then see what price is paid for playing sports in college.

  • Lawrence

    I had a similar experience with my son when he applied to a highly selective D1 school while offering to play a non-revenue sport without an atletic scholarship. He did get admitted and I'm sure that his good-but-not great athletic skills must have played some role in his admission because his grades and SAT scores were not in the top tier of students admitted.

    However, besides ED I would add another likely incentive that any university - selective or not - would carefully consider these days: be a full pay student and not ask for financial aid.
    This was the case for my son and I feel that it must have been a positive in the admission process.

    In any event, he did well enough in school and now makes a six figure salary based on his computer skills that he picked up starting at age twelve and not from anything he learned in four years at Highly Selective University. Go figure.

  • Mark2

    @Bradly13,

    It is really funny how crazy people get when sports are involved. What about all the really dopey degrees you can get in college with little potential? Not complaining about those huh?

    How is learning about the fine points of a sport not education? You have to learn practice and study for Baseball, and football like anything else. kinesthesiology is also important. College is about helping you achieve your best in an area you have interest in.

    So let me ask you something and think about the parallel You wouldn't a kid to cut out singing as part of a University music program would you? Why not? It is almost the same as sports.

  • rg

    Process sounds pretty much the same as 30 years ago from the small school perspective. However, if you are can't miss D-I 'material' you will have college scouts sitting in the stands with radar guns, watching and videotaping you regardless of what year you are in HS. You will know they are there. Back in my day, they would take you aside and talk after games. Then the offers come and you decide who to visit. Not sure if that is legal contact now, though.

    When you go the D-I route, the team owns your life for four years. It is absolutely a business, and you are a full time grunt employee. Not that I didn't have success and enjoy the game and school, but I think if I had it to do over again, I would have gone D-III, and had the time to enjoy my college experience a little more. That's my advice for all those talented HS BB players out there that aren't at the level of looking at college as a stepping stone to the pro's.

    Word of warning -I don't know about Amherst, but all of the athletic dorms that I was personally familiar with were hotbeds of illegal activity and decadence. I don't think anything has changed.

    Anyway - Good Luck to your son! It's awesome that his family is so involved and providing pro-active assistance and guidance.

    p.s. Although there are officially no 'athletic scholarships' at D-III level, trust me on this - the competitive schools absolutely give athletic scholarships. They just premise them on something on the kid's resume and call them something else.

    pps. Still remember driving back from Spring Break - aka daily doubleheaders in FLA for two weeks - in a smelly passenger van convoy full of sleeping sweaty guys going through West Virginia trying to study my chemistry and physics books with a flashlight. What 'fun'!?!?!

  • rg

    "Zach: I disagree with the “college is just for an education” sentiment. There has to be a balance. For the non-revenue sports (football and basketball), I would bet that most hiring managers, given a choice between 2 graduates with relevant degrees, one with a 4.0 and one with a 3.5 but with a sport, would choose the 3.5 (particularly with references from the coach). 3.5 is still a respectable GPA, but that kid has shown that he can work on a team, set and achieve goals, be a leader, blah blah blah. Plus, he’s got a network of contacts already through his teammates. I went to an engineering school, and they drilled into our heads “get involved, whether it’s a sport or a professional organization or your Greek house, whatever”. Managers see a 4.0 but with no interaction as someone they can just shove into a corner and shovel nonstop shit their way, and that’s assuming they have a need for such a role."

    I know for a fact that Enterprise Rent A Car's hiring criteria heavily weights team sports involvement, much more than GPA. Granted, they are hiring biz majors for sales and service and ultimately mgmt positions, not technical degrees. But they are also one of the most successful private businesses in the world. They must be on to something.

  • rg

    "bradley13: I have to agree with Ted (and disagree with CMJDad/Mark2). College is supposed to be about education. Note that almost every kid graduating with an engineering degree will go on to a reasonable career as an engineer. Very few kids who play college sports go on to pro careers. Physical activities are important, but at too many colleges they interfere with (what should be) the primary goal of running an educational institution. As an example, recently a University in Florida decided to eliminate their computer science department, in order to save about $2 million. Purely coincidentally, they wanted to raise expenditures on their sports program by about $2 million."

    This is a lie. The sports program budget and funding at UF is privately managed and totally separate from the academic funding. The sports program at UF is self sufficient and actually operates in the black and donates millions to the academic side, unlike most universities. UF floated the CS dept cut idea because they were being pissy about state university funding cuts out of Tallahassee. They have a 30MM endowment they could have tapped, but chose to float a political balloon over $2MM in state funding cuts. Then backed off when they were called out on it. Just letting you know the actual facts.

  • Brian

    The biggest regret I had in college was not running for the school's cross country team. College today has three major benefits: 1) Signaling to employers that you are smart (for getting in or having good grades), 2) Networking opportunities, and 3) Growing up and bettering oneself (I put academics in this category).

    2 is becoming more and more important as the value of a college degree has declined as prices have gone up. Aside from the added networking possibilities have from being in a sports program, playing a sport shows discipline and commitment. I'd much rather hire someone willing to put in the time for a sport rather than hiring a person with an inflated GPA in a "fill in the blank" studies major.

    Participating on the school's CC team should have been a no-brainer, even though there was zero chance I would ever become a "professional runner" - it would have allowed me to be involved in the sports program, would have forced me to keep up my running shape (which I did anyway) and would have provided a life-long network opportunity with my fellow runners/competitors. Plus it would have bettered me by continuing to compete in the public eye. Terrible advice to encourage young people to give up that opportunity. I wish I would have taken advantage of it.

  • Brian

    Two more quick comments:

    I was an engineering major at a US News top 20 university and graduated magna in the Clinton years. I keep up with a lot of classmates via Facebook and other social networks. I'm guessing at least half of my classmates no longer work as engineers, or ever did. Many (like me), attended medical or law school directly after undergrad, many got their MBAs and some chose never to work in the field.

    Also, I note one of the anti-sports comment came from someone who is much older. The U.S., its economy and expectations for young people have changed drastically since the 40's. We have the toughest labor market most American alive have seen and no end in sight. It is increasingly more important for young people to distinguish themselves. Sports provides that opportunity.

  • John

    I started to respond that Ted was hopelessly naive, but then I noticed two things, first there have been three generations of college students since he was there, so I can't say anything about how it was then. Second he said "supposed." I suppose it is supposed by someone, somewhere, still that college is about education.

    I'm no big fan of college athletics for a number of reasons, but college just simply doesn't work the way some people think it does. I guess there are visions of ivy covered walls, tree lined sidewalks through quiet campuses, earnest students learning useful and profound things from wise professors, and thousands of employers lining up to hire the newly educated graduates.

    While there may be elements of some of that remaining here or there, it is more like desperate over-worked and indebted young people working 12 hour days then rushing to a blighted urban campus where they pay exorbitant rates for parking. They try desperately to stay awake through droning lectures by indifferent graduate assistants who took the class the year before, are as bored by it as the students, and, in the best cases, only know slightly more about the subject. The busy-work assigned to them keeps them too busy to make any use of the run-down facilities and without time to actually read up on any subject in depth. Graduation is a time of ambivalence, since at last time is free for intellectual pursuits, and tuition bills are no longer arriving every quarter... but on the other hand, the student loans come due and the burger job salary only goes so far....

    A college education has got to be the biggest scam since social security, but for many people, maybe most, it is a sacred cow.

  • John

    @rg: but all of the athletic dorms that I was personally familiar with were hotbeds of illegal activity and decadence.

    I concur. I was attacked and robbed one night on campus about 20 years ago. The campus police took me over to the police station to look at mugshots... and handed me a copy of the athletic program year book with all the names obscured in magic marker. The cop said, "Start with the basketball players, if you don't find it there, go to football. Don't waste your time on baseball." fwiw...

  • Ted Rado

    There are some indisputable facts re a college education:
    1) The more difficult curricula take more study but result in a degree that leads to a better-paying job.
    2) Taking courses which do not train one for an in-demand profession is a luxury few can afford.
    3) Engaging in organized sports is very time consuming and tiring. There is no way this can be done without diminishing one's academic performance.
    4) Unless you have a rich father, you better study something for which there is a commercial demand.

    Occasionally, one finds a person who is so good at what they do that they can make an excellent career out of a snap course curriculum. This is a rare exception.

    While joining a fratenity, drinking beer, going to the football game, and chasing girls is great fun (we all did it), the purpose of college must not be lost sight of.

    I have known fathers who take delight in their son's athletic accomplishments. He is their extended ego. I do not think such fathers are helping their son do the right thing. Basking in his reflected glory is done at a huge cost to him. If he is smart enough and energetic enough for both sports and serious study, fine and good. Few can do this.

    All this reminds me of a quote of my father's, who was a math professor at a major university: "The main concerns of the universuty administration are parking for the faculty, winning football for the alumni, and sex for the students".

  • rg

    Sorry. feel I must respond to the panty waist dweeb entitled holier than thou crowd.........

    And then, there are those of us that would have NEVER had a career in science if we hadn't whore'd ourselves out on our athletic talent because our parents could have NEVER paid for college, but we busted our asses on multiple fronts, and somehow ended up with the athletic experience AND also......gasp.....science degrees that were paid for with our blood, sweat, and tears for four years.

    I feel so ashamed. I should have just stoked up the pipe, spent daddy's money, and studied, instead of actually busting my ass 16 hours per day (not counting the dish-washing on the weekends for the date money) and more than paying PAYING my own damn way while achieving the same degree the silver spoon commenter achieved in his/her spare time. I felt like using harsher words and acronyms, but refrained.....

  • John

    @rg

    Yep, I agree completely. Now stir in no gold-plated athletic scholarship, a few random beatings at the hands of college athletes, and a degree bought with literal blood, sweat, toil, and tears which turns out to be of zero economic value. It leaves one barely able to refrain from using such words.

  • Mark2

    @rg, I read that blog about the FL State CS program closure and it was the biggest piece I have ever read. There was no discussion why the program should remain open, there was no discussion why the university was trying to close it. There was scant mention that Florida was trying to create a brand new Engineering Univerity, so the state was actually INCREASING funds for CS programs.

    The whole argument was, Look the CS program cost $2 million and they are spending $2 million on sports when they already have a 100 million budget. Well that argument is fallacious to. Turns out that the sport department was only getting a 2.2% raise, which is lower than inflation, seems like they are cutting back too. 2: That sports department is self funding, so yes they spend 100 million, but most of that comes back in ticket sales, TV revenue, royalties, etc. Basically the athletes are paying their own way.

    Maybe if the students want to keep the CS department even though Florida would like to move it to a new PolyTech school they could have the students write cell phone apps or something similar to generate funds for the program.

    I think the complaint was nothing more than envy by a bunch of Engineering Nerds. (Note, I am a CS major myself. - I certainly would rather go to a Polytech dedicated to Engineering sciences, than go to a school which is taking half *ssed measures to keep a second rate program going)

  • Mark2

    @rd again. Seems like teh whole U of F CS department closing is a hoax

    University response is that they are cutting CS research so profs can be more focussed on teaching students. And that is where the 1.4 million in savings is coming from. I think this is what the University should be doing. It is about time a University focused on the Student as a client.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danbigman/2012/04/23/university-of-florida-responds-to-post-about-plans-for-computer-science-department/

  • Ted Rado

    I am sure that many "nerds" envy the jocks who get all the girls. In looking back on my college days and subsequent career in engineering, there is no way I would rather have played sports and got a snap course degree than study engineering.

    As to athletic scholarships, if someone really wants a college education, they can do it. My ex was from a poor family. She worked and saved for two years before going to college. She worked part time during the school year and full time in the summer, and got a degree in chemistry. If a 100 lb girl can do it, a 220 lb man can do it also, especially in this day where student loans are available.

    If you want to chase your dreams rather than study serious subjects, what in the world are you doing at the university? Perhaps we should call universities JV's for the NFL or NBA, with serious study optional.

  • Mark2

    @Ted, OK why don't we close down Sociology, Psychology, History, Most of the Art department, most of the music and drama departments. I could go on. Because for the most part these aren't serious degrees that will get you anything out of college either. Why are you all just picking on sports?

    Like I asked before, if Warrens son got in because of his singing ability, would you tell him not to waste his time in the Music college? It is the same thing, you practice, you work with your body to develop new physical skills, you go to competitions ...

  • Brian

    "If you want to chase your dreams rather than study serious subjects, what in the world are you doing at the university? "

    Networking. At my last law firm (before I took a job overseas in-house) which was a regional firm of about 300 lawyers, the recruiting committee made it a point to hire summer associates (i.e. the entry level at practically all firms) who played a sport in undergrad. It was nearly as important as being on the law school's law review or having military experience. In my group alone we had a former baseball player (SMU), swimmer (UVA) and golfer (Vanderbilt). Obviously they had to go to a law school where we recruited, but I'm telling you (and any young person reading this) that extra-curriculars are important with a lot of employers - at some point having good grades from a good school doesn't distinguish one enough. This isn't 1945 anymore and you're doing a disservice to young people by discouraging them from being a more rounded person.

  • RG II

    This has been a truly invaluable guide. Son is in the same sport; is a smart kid with the grades and scores; loves the game and wants to play in college. Thank you.

  • Ted Rado

    Mark2:

    The subjects you enumerated are cerainly worthwhile areas of study. My point is that if you do things that do not lead to a remunerative job you do so at your own peril. If you feel that you would rather have, for example, a history degree, and find the study of history fulfilling, good for you. The same applies to sports. However, young prople should be made to understand the probable consequences of their choice.

    I am sure there are organizations where being an ex football player (or whatever sport) is a plus. I have personally never seen this. Many years ago, the chief electrical engineer in the firm where I was working had played foorball at university. Only his skills as an engineer were considered. Nobody, including himself, ever commented on his football days in the context of his job performance. If you work for a company where being an ex-ballplayer is more important than your professional performace, run for the exit!

    One can dance all around the subject, but the purpose of going to college is to get an education. Anything that interferes with this is a bad idea. The need to subsequently earn a living must be kept in mind as well. I certainly do not advocate that everyone should be an engineer or scientist. Many have no interest or aptitude for math and science. They need to study something else that leads to a viable career, such as teaching, nursing, accounting, etc. In any case, the consequences of the decision to study subjects for which there is no commercial demand, or divert their efforts to sports, must be accepted.

    By the way, my interests include classical music and military history (I have an extensive library of both). Also, I was a backpacker for forty years. I hiked over 3000 miles (on rugged mountain trails) after retirement in addition to all the hiking I did earlier. One can indulge his non-money-earning interests after college. The fact that one did not study history or music in college does not preclude pusuing such interests later. I also studied Spanish and German in night classes in recent years. Thus, one's interest in various subjects or sports is not limited to university.

  • Brian

    I give Ted Rado credit for being consistent, if not consistently wrong. Does it not even begin to dawn upon him that one of the reasons his "ex-football player co-worker" was hired in the first place was due to his extracurriculars? No one talked about some of my ex-Marine coworkers work in the Marines as it didn't pertain to mergers and acquisitions, but it certainly made a difference in them getting the job in the first place.

  • rg

    lol. a bit of irony and confession here...

    Did I mention I was a seriously talented musician on top of throwing 90+ MPH??? back in the day...

    son 1. Electrical Engineer degree. And one hell of a keyboardist...google Kurzwheil....

    daughter 2. Music Teach Major...Accomplished teacher. and Jazz Sax like you couldn't believe! and can sing and keyboard!

    son 3. Bio-Chemist Major/Pre-Med.....Unbelievable jazz Trumpet player and singer!!!!!! trying to talk him out of the Doctor thing ------aka Obamacare........

    Love it!!! And they all SUCKED at baseball!! lol.

    Glad I was good at baseball and "SCIENCE" to facilitate all this!!! HAHA!!!!!!!

    GOD!!! ONE more year of college payments then...............

  • Ted Rado

    My friend the electrical engineer ex football player had to live down his football past. He was jokingly called the BDFP (big dumb foorball player). He WAS an excellent engineer, which is why he held the job he had. If someone feels I am wrong and thinks diluting their study efforts with lots of sports time is a good thing, he is welcome to do so. The notion that a football past opens the door to serious career possibilties is questionable. I am sure it happens but I have not seen it.

    Jason White, who won the Heisman trophy at OU and has a sociology degree, advertises for a small local heat and air company and lends his name to a tee shirt sales outlet. Great career. I am sure his dreams are being fulfilled. Meanwhile, he is all but forgotten.

  • Ted Rado

    Brian:

    What does the courtesy shown an ex-marine in the job market have to do with playing football? One served his country, the other played games.

  • Mark2

    @Ted One thing you don't seem to be considering. Kids like Warren's son are trying to get into better schools than they normally could by showing special talent.

    If the boy wants to get his engineering degree, and use Baseball as his key into a better school, more power to him. I don't think there is a hulk stigma to baseball, and a nice thing about baseball is much of the season is during the summer vacation period (esp if you go to a semester school)

  • Ted Rado

    Mark2:

    Getting into a better school is fine. I have no problem with that. Once there, what do you study? You imply that he can study engineering (or some other demanding course) and play sports. My experience has been that very few are smart enough and energetic enough to do both. For example, football players have to be at practise at 3 PM and finish at 6. Then they shower, go home and study. A non-athlete has this time for study and rest. Almost everyone I knew who was in varsity athletics ran into this problem.

    You mention that baseball is a summer sport and doesn't interfere as much with classes. Doesn't it interfere with a summer job, where you can earn some money and gain work experience?

    This debate will never get resolved. There are those who feel that being a college jock is important. Some feel it is a waste of time for serious students. My experience is that almost all the college athletes are there to play sports, and taking a few snap courses is a necessary evil. Over half drop out when their eligibility is over and don't graduate. Yes, there are exceptions. Les Horvath, who wom the Heisman in 1942 (I believe) went on to be a dentist.

    There was a piece in the paper about the park squaters in New York. Many were snap course grads who couldn't find a job. Whose fault is that? College is a place to challenge yourself intellectually, not to get a degree in the easiest possible way and/or play games. Others can have a different view, as many have expressed here.

  • rg

    I feel sorry for the ted person....

    just. doesn't. get it.

    jealousy runs deep i guess

  • showme

    Great Information going through this process now, painful. Nice to know what I've been trying to do has been done before.

  • Been Thru It

    Stumbled upon your blog. I wanted to let other readers know that the process with my son was exactly the same. Be persistent by email. Go to showcases that your top schools are attending. I also believe the top showcases include Head First and Top 96. I am in New England. Go to the clinics hosted by your top schools. Go to these clinics the fall after your SOPHOMORE year if you can! During the summer after your Junior year play for a Prospect team willing to play in scouted tournaments in the areas where you wish to attend college... granted this is much easier if you plan to play close to home... in our case New England and New York. FYI.. My son's Legion Team was not a good resource for recruiting. It is great for extra baseball but it will do nothing to advance the recruiting process. Your son WILL get lucky and have a great game or tournament or showcase in front of a school on their list. Don;t be shy.. cash in on that good performance! As far as I can tell, no college coach called my son's coaching references. So I believe it when they tell me it's all about the video and live observance. Be prepared to apply Early Decision. Coaches like a "known quantity". The odds are against you that there will be a slot in the college of your choice come the regular admissions process. Know ahead of time that ED does jeopardize your ability to have leverage come the Financial Aid process. That is just reality. My son will be playing D3 in the Liberty League.

    I warn some parents that I see the landscape changing over the next few years. I hope not! Many organizations are pushing hard for a money grab. Trying to convince you that their product is the only way to achieve success. I see local Fall Prospect leagues who try to invite coaches to attend. In my opinion.. if you are looking to make a mark in the Fall, you are TOO LATE. I also see PBR advancing in the Northeast trying to compete with Top 96 but with a more full service approach. They are trying to create a regionally strong version of Perfect Game.

    Good luck!