Phew! Football season has probably just ended or is winding down for you and your athlete. If so this is the perfect time to start scheduling some campus visits. Obviously this can get expensive so I suggest visiting places close to home first.
These would be considered “Unofficial” visits and you can take as many as you want and I suggest you start taking these Junior year. These are entirely at your expense. So pack up the cooler, load up the van and get on the road. Visit schools that you are
considering and you may or may not have “Offers” from. Also I suggest using an app like “Snapchat” or some other video app to make a sort of video diary of your visits. I suggest Snapchat because you can put together a “story” chronicling your day with a time stamp, location and save the entire story in one short video. This will come in handy when you sit down and recap your visit with your athlete. Usually your athlete will let the coach he has been in contact with know that he is coming. However due to a new rule change the coach CAN NOT be involved. He may however “bump in to” you while you’re on campus (this is all outlined in the contact rules).
OH CONTACT. I forgot to tell you about contact rules. So I mentioned in my first entry that a coach CAN NOT contact an athlete directly and will usually go through his coach. They will begin to contact him directly on Sept 1st of his Junior year. And be ready, it literally starts at midnight. His phone will light up like a Christmas tree. ( its super exciting to get to watch it through his eyes). Oh and your mailbox. Girrrrrrl bless your mailman. Get him a gift card. Your poor mailbox will be over flowing from now until signing day.
Back to your unofficial visit. Once he has let the football or academics liaison know he’s coming they will usually have someone meet you and show you around. You’ll tour the football facility, weight room, academics, dorms and the medical facility/training room (this is where they will get “treatment” before and after practice and games). You’ll meet current athletes and will run into them throughout the visit. Pay attention to their interactions with you, their coaches the liaison that’s showing you around (Spidey sense). Also get to know the strength coach. This is who the athlete will spend most of his time with (we will get more into this later). This is where you need to take pictures and videos and save them in some sort of order to go back to later. Depending on where you live you might be able to visit two campuses in a weekend. We saw three once. It was a whirlwind and it all starts to run together after a couple so make sure to document your visit.
*Speed tip: If you let a coach or school know you are heading to see another campus (and they really want you) they will try to stall you and hold you up. So divulge that info on a need to know basis to keep your trip on schedule.
Now official visits are similar to unofficial visits however you used to take these during senior year, due to a new rule change you can start taking them during Junior year. You only get 5 and the school you are visiting will invite you on an official visit, set it all up and pay for everything. I mean EVERYTHING! Car service to the airport, flights, hotels, meals, game tickets, entertainment, all of it. THIS… This is what you worked for. This is
the payoff for the hellacious weekends crammed in the smelly minivan, driving all over the country, eating PB&J and sleeping in questionable hotels. THIS is for YOU mom. Enjoy this part. Did I mention the food? SO. MUCH. FOOD. They feed you so often that you don’t have time to get hungry. I wont even ruin the surprise waiting for you in your rooms when you check in. They will give you the campus tour, academics presentation, dorm tour, if there is a home game you’ll get to see pregame warm-ups down on the field. They will show you around the city. It’s the A-list treatment.
OK Momma, I need to let you know the players are going to take your son out. Breathe… But the coaches are going to take YOU out too. Try not to think too much about it. They will introduce you to his “Host”(usually an upper-classmen that plays the same position) for the weekend and he is in charge of showing your son a good time on his visit. Feel free to give this young man the shake down. In my case it was the same on each visit: They introduced me, I shook his hand and looked him in his eye and said “This is all I have in this whole world. If something happens to him, I will find you.” ( I told you I was an embarrassment). Just remember you raised him right. He will make good decisions and *NEWS FLASH* he’s moving out in a couple months. He’s about to be a grown up.
You will be on this visit with other parents and athletes. Especially if it’s during season. There are only 7 home games (remember this number) so they have to get as many of their top recruits on campus to see the game day atmosphere (Some schools do not have visits during season). So in some cases there will be more than one recruit of the same position which I always thought was awkward. Anyway be prepared. I met some really cool parents of athletes that went else where and you automatically become a fan. Speaking of game day atmospheres; *Remember there are only 7 home games. That’s 7 days out of the 365 that he will be on campus. Try not to put too much weight on the game day experience. It’s more about the entire place. He better love it.
As always, hang in there. I’m here to help.
Vocabulary to know
- Official visits: Recruits can now start taking official visits starting September 1 of their junior year of high school. Set up and paid for entirely by the school you are visiting. Athlete only allowed 5.
- Unofficial visits: College athletic departments-this includes college coaches-are not allowed to be involved in a recruit’s unofficial visits. Unofficial visits are any campus visits paid for entirely by the recruit’s family. If the recruit happens to bump into the coach on campus, they can’t have any recruiting conversations at that time. Athlete is allowed unlimited unofficial visits.
- Host: Upper class-men in the same position group that will show your athlete around during your visit.
- Strength Coach: The coach responsible for strength and conditioning. The person the athlete will spend the majority of his time with (more than his position coach or the head coach).