Recruiting Process for NCAA College Football
College football owns the most followed recruiting system in all of college sports. The recruitment process involves both scouting prospective players to determine their talent and enticing these players to attend a school. In order to scout players, colleges send representatives to watch players in person. Teams also can acquire film on nearly any player they desire. Lastly local colleges can host workout days where players can come preform certain baseline tests like the forty-yard dash. When colleges determine which players they want, coaches have a number of ways to contact prospects. Traditionally phone calls were the most common way to communicate with players. Letters are also an acceptable way to give players basic information. Text messages are quickly becoming the most common form of prospect to coach communication. After a player becomes interested in a team that player can make an official campus visit to explore various aspects of the campus itself. When an athlete feels that he has made a decision that player can verbally commit to the school, however this commitment is not binding in any way. The document that will bind a school and an athlete is called a National Letter of Intent. Signatures on this letter guarantees both one full year of a scholarship and insure the player will no longer be recruited by any schools. Most football players sign their National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day in February.
Recruiting Rules and Limits for College Football
There are many regulations that dictate what schools are allowed to do when they recruit high school players. Rules vary from when, how often, and by what method players can be contacted. There are also rules that dictate how many scholarships can be awarded by a team. Football teams in division I FBS are allowed to give eighty-five scholarships to its players, but no more than twenty-five a year. Teams in the FCS division, previously known as Division II can give sixty-three total scholarships, however they can split these and give less important players partial scholarships. Teams in lower divisions cannot give players any kind of compensation to play football at their school. However teams in all divisions can recruit players to play for their team. There are many rules that keep these teams from overwhelming players with attention or gaining an unfair advantage over other teams. For example, student athletes cannot be formally recruited until they are juniors in high school. Other examples include limits on the number of text messages that can be sent or time spend talking on the phone.
College Football Recruiting Violations
When a team breaks these recruiting rules the NCAA uses its authority to punish the perpetrators. After a violation is discovered the NCAA will place the team on probation where every move will be scrutinized. In addition the team can lose scholarships and money. In addition individuals responsible for the violation can be punished. An example of a famous violation occurred in 2005 when the Alabama Crimson Tide booster paid a college coach $150,000 to convince his player to come to Alabama. When the violation was discovered the school was put on five-year probation while some people thought they got off easy.
College Football Recruiting Ranking
There are various ranking systems to evaluate both potential recruits and recruiting classes after players have signed. Recruits are usually scored on a five star system with five stars indicating an exceptional player. The top teams generally get three star recruits or better while lower ranked teams battle for the rest of the players. Recently SPARQ, a metric system that attempts to measure a player’s athleticism, has grown in popularity. Some schools disregard all of these indicators and simply recruit based on their own scouting information. After players have signed different media outlet provide their opinions of which schools recruited the best players by ranking the teams. Organizations like Rivals and ESPN are some of the most notable outlets to rank recruiting classes and predict the talent level of future teams.