Dear Football Mom,
When college coaches call our son, they are always asking if he has any questions. My husband says, “don’t ask.” I, however, disagree with that and don’t understand why they don’t call me. In fact, I’ve told my son to tell them to call me, but so far, they haven’t.
How can a seventeen-year-old ask significant questions when he isn’t sure what the rules are or what to ask? We don’t either. Help?
A seventeen-year-old’s cheese just ain’t quite cured yet. A boy on the verge of manhood still has some pasteurizing ahead of him before cracking his barrel of hoop cheese. Why, he’s liable to get lost among the holes asking questions and squandering his future in such a way.
This, of course, is half a lie.
Many players worth their salt, seventeen or not, do have a clue of where they want to play prep ball and, possibly, what they’d like to major in. Those fellas are sharp, well-defined, and have fortuitous favor. Still, journeying in the recruitment arena is most times unchartered territory, unless the family has kinfolks who’ve gone through it. Recruiting can be overwhelming, let alone figuring out what program is serious about offering what kind of scholarship. Full, half, partial?
When a fella is contacted by college coaches via phone calls, that seventeen-year-old more than likely has something going for him, or coaches wouldn’t be calling. Coaches are short on time—they don’t have it to dillydally on loafers (not the shoes). But there are always the exceptions.
The players who goof off or the class clowns may be all fun and cute now, but don’t have an ounce of sense when it comes to setting goals or where they want to go in life. They may possess great talent, but that talent only takes them so far and lasts for so long.
The truth is coaches rely on players’ naiveté. The kids’ lack of experience or a family’s first rodeo can be to the coach’s advantage. College coaches can string players along until the program fine-tunes their pecking order for the upcoming recruiting season. That leaves players and parents in the dust scratching their heads in a quandary.
One of the first questions I’d ask from a player’s perspective: Tell me about the athletic study hall on campus and hours open. How many tutors are available, and will that be a cost to me? That will put coaches on their boot heels and give them the idea this kid is serious about his education. Truthfully, players should be. Then return to the football subject and follow up with: How many players are you recruiting in my positions? Are you recruiting other players from my high school or region? How many openings do you plan on filling in my position this year?
Forget asking about the meal plan and if you can eat all the steak you want, or if the freshman dorm you’ll be housed in is newly built. Do tell the coaches who are calling that you’d like your parents/guardians to speak with them, and what time is best to reach-out at what number? Make coaches be specific.
Parents, once you dial a coach’s number and speak with him, ask: Why are you calling my son? What is it about our son you like for your program? Those are legitimate questions. Stay quiet and let him answer. This will tell you how serious they are about offering scholarships. For kicks, ask them what their policy is about summer school. Will they want your son on campus throughout the summer and does the program pay for classes?
These questions should initiate an honest conversation without instigating sour feelings on behalf of college coaches. They will respect your candor and appreciate the frank conversation with a family who is seriously taking an active approach.
There isn’t a magic key to receiving college football scholarships. Hopefully though, these questions will kick off a great start to slicing that cheese and bringing home the bacon to boot!