Getting recruited by an NCAA Division I college baseball program is one of the more difficult things to do as a high school athlete, because there are so many players and just 11.7 scholarships per team. Catching the eye of a collegiate baseball team starts with your taking the initiative to contact coaches.
Compile a list of all the schools with baseball programs and academic programs that fit your needs. Don't limit yourself to NCAA Division I programs. There are a lot of good baseball programs in the lower NCAA divisions and in the NAIA ranks.
Have your parents or baseball coaches create a highlight video documenting both your high school and travel baseball career. This is going to be your main selling tool.
Compose a brief letter to each coach telling him how much you like the style of that particular college team and how much you'd like to be recruited. Include any awards and accolades you have won throughout your baseball career.
Attend both national and collegiate team camps to make sure coaches get to see you in action live. Also, make sure you play for a travel baseball squad that competes in all the major showcase tournaments both in your state and around the country.
Invite coaches to watch you play and ask to come to campus for a visit. Be sure to define whether the visit is official or unofficial. If a school is recruiting you, they might invite you for an official visit, but remember, you only get five of those if you're thinking of attending an NCAA sanctioned school.
Apply for NCAA eligibility with the NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse. You cannot play NCAA collegiate athletics without being cleared.
Await a scholarship offer. Don't accept the first one unless it's your dream school. Wait for several offers to come in and then weigh the pros and cons to determine which school is the best for you.
Tips & Warnings
- Many athletes and parents use a recruiting service to alleviate the hassle of sending out recruiting packets. However, these services can be expensive especially since you can usually finish all of your recruiting packets in a weekend.
- If you are offered a scholarship, you can commit to a school at any time, but you can change your mind until you sign your National Letter of Intent.
- While NCAA Division I schools have 11.7 scholarships available, NAIA schools have 12. Don't be shy about looking at lower division schools.
- If you play well enough, you might draw the attention of professional scouts, who could draft you out of high school. However, being drafted does not mean you can't play college ball. College might be a great way to prepare for a more prosperous professional career.
- Not all scholarships are full in baseball. Usually, a coach will divide his 11.7 scholarships up amongst the 25-plus players on his team to make sure almost everyone has some sort of financial help.
- Make sure you and your parents familiarize yourself with NCAA recruiting rules. There are limits as to how many times a school can contact you and when they can contact you. Knowing these rules can prevent any violation of NCAA rules, which could make you ineligible.
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