College sports are the go-between for high school athletics and the professional leagues for many aspiring athletes. It is a necessary step for athletes who wish to continue playing at the professional level ,and for others it is another way to continue playing the sport they love. Despite the differing reasons for playing, every athlete must undergo the same recruiting process to play at the collegiate level.
What does this process look like? Even though the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sets standardized rules and procedures, every team has different needs that vary, impacting the recruiting process. Two important requirements athletes must meet are registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center and completing 16 NCAA-approved core-course credits in eight academic semesters or four consecutive academic years from the start of ninth grade, per the NCAA. Athletes must also maintain a GPA higher than 2.3 and have an SAT or ACT combined score that matches their GPA on the Division I sliding scale.
Many student-athletes are familiar with this process and what is required to be on a team.
Tyler Tickner, senior kinesiology major who plays for the cross country and track team, knows what it takes to initially even get noticed by schools.
“To improve my chances of competing in college, I reached out to many different college track and field coaches via email,” Tickner said. “Typically, they would send out a questionnaire where I would list my personal records, GPA and test scores and other accomplishments. What got me noticed by CBU was my performance in cross country. My senior year, I had run a race, taking a close second place to the nation’s top-ranked athlete; after this performance, Coach Tribble reached out to me about running at CBU.”
With many schools standing out and vying for top prospective athletes year after year, it can be challenging for athletes to fi nd a good fi t. Tickner shared what ultimately led to CBU sticking out and his process when looking at schools.
“I liked that CBU’s team was an up-and-coming program,” Tickner said. “I enjoyed the idea of being a part of something in the works. Prior to college, I was not familiar with CBU. However, four years later, we are a program that is competing against the nation’s top-ranked schools.”
Paige Haynes, senior liberal studies major and member of the cross country and track team, understands the challenges of trying to build an image to market to coaches while overcoming adversity.
“The main reason I chose CBU was because of Coach Tribble,” Haynes said. “I got injured a lot in high school, which made the recruiting process very diffcult for me. I ran my best season and then immediately got injured afterward, so I lost the attention of coaches and schools. Coach Tribble was the only coach that still believed in me and wasn’t discouraged by my injuries. That meant so much to me and showed me the type of coach and person that Coach Tribble was and that’s who I wanted to be coached by in college.”
Adam Tribble, head coach of the cross country and track team, was supportive of Haynes in her athletics, so the decision to come to CBU was an easy choice for Haynes, especially when paired with the team, the campus and the education.
Of course, many athletes only make final decisions after meeting with coaches and ensuring a good fi t. For Haynes, this process was similar to many prospective college athletes.
“I was able to go on official visits to schools where I would stay the night, meet with the team and coach and get to see all that the school has to offer,” Haynes said. “The main point of visits was to meet the team and coaches in person and see what it would be like to be on the team. I first met with Coach Tribble over the phone so we could talk about college, my season and goals. Then I met with him in person, where we were able to talk more about CBU and the program.”
Every athlete has a unique story and perspective on the recruitment process because it is different for everyone. These stories of adversity, tribulation and success are inspirational for any aspiring athletes looking to play at the next level.