View Full Version : Committing to a Men's Division I team

10-16-2008, 01:00 PM
I have a question about the recruiting process. Men's NCAA tennis is an equivalency sport, meaning that partial scholarships are the norm. Many players will try to piece together an academic scholarship with a partial athletic scholarship.

The fall signing date this year is November 12. There is also a spring signing date every year. The normal college admissions process is such that you do not hear from most colleges that you have been accepted until at least January, and you will not hear about academic scholarships until after that.

So, if a player is evaluating College A and College B, and it matters to him what the total financial package is, he might get offers from both schools in October of 12th grade. These offers could very well be less than what he hopes to get in academic scholarships. He has to accept or turn down these offers by November 12. Then it is possible that he accepts an offer from College A, but in the spring they surprise him by offering very little in academic aid. However, he is legally bound to College A for tennis purposes. Bad situation. In a paranoid state, you could even imagine College A thinking they have the player on the hook and deliberately offering less academic aid in the spring.

In a head count sport, such as women's tennis, this is no problem. If they offer you a scholarship, it will be a full ride, so you take it and that is the end of that.

Anyone ever experience any difficulty along these lines? Or is my description not how the sequence of events actually works? When players sign letters of intent in November, is it not the case that they have not even been admitted to the college yet?

10-16-2008, 02:33 PM
This is a slightly different scenario. There was a former player for Stanford named KJ Hippensteel. In his career at Stanford he won the NCAA championships in both singles and doubles and US Open Jr. in doubles, was ranked #1 college player in doubles in both his sophomore and senior year and #1 in singles while a senior, etc. In other words, a darned good player.

When he came to Stanford, Gould told him there was no scholarship money (athletic) for that year but said he would get a 1/2 scholarship in his sophomore year.

Sophomore year came around - guess what. No scholarship. He eventually got something like a 1/4 scholarship in his junior year, but was injured near the end of year. My understanding is that Gould took away the scholarship in his senior year.

I guess the lesson learned is try to get whatever you can in writing.

BTW, KJ is now the volunteer asst. coach of the Duke men's team while pursuing his medical degree.

As far as the situation you described, just remember there are lots of other ways to get money for school, be it academic scholarships (keep your grades up, kids!), other scholarships (through 3rd party organizations (see FastWeb.com) grants, student loans.

It shouldn't be that much of a surprise regarding academic aid. Grades and test scores are what they are. I would think the university might not give the prospective student as much need-based assistance as he/she expected. If the student doesn't have great grades, he or she shouldn't expect too much in the way of academic scholarships.

10-16-2008, 03:06 PM
My child is in this exact situation - you are correct that the student has not been accepted yet (early acceptance at most all schools is still early Dec or Jan) the key is getting a WRITTEN agreement from the coach in hand before even verbally committing.
We did early admission and should get that formal acceptance by Dec 1st, But both the coach and school have confirmed all is good and acceptance is not an issue. Same for the academic money - we have it writing that we will have a MINIMUM amount and that it could only go up as it's based on best ACT, SAT scores submitted so far, so one more SAT and ACT will be taken this fall.

We will sign the week of Nov 12 - We were very upfront wanting to get a written agreement from the school/coach (as the no.1 recruit it did make it easier) and getting all done before the Holidays -

From our experience the Academic Aid and Athletic Aid were two separate conversations and the Academic Aid was ALL based on grades and test scores - the schools dod not have any "wiggle" room as 10is dad states "grades are grades".

Again this is our third time dealing with the recruiting process at the D1 level and the number one rule is GET IT ALL IN WRITING!

10-17-2008, 06:44 AM
Seems like early signing date can force an important decision before families have all the information they really need to make the right decision. Comparing partials between out of state and in state colleges could be really confusing- especially if the scholarship could be taken away later. One question that maybe somebody can answer. I thought women's tennis was much the same- no such thing as a full ride and one year deals only that can be extended based on performance. Only difference was that they had more scholarships to offer to begin with. Is that true?

10-17-2008, 06:55 AM
I thought women's tennis was much the same- no such thing as a full ride and one year deals only that can be extended based on performance. Only difference was that they had more scholarships to offer to begin with. Is that true?

Yes and no. Generally, most women's tennis scholarships are full scholarships. I believe they do have to be renewed annually, however.

As has been discussed, women's tennis is a head-count sport. That means that any money going to a women player counts as a scholarship, so if you gave a player $20 worth of aid (ridiculous assertion but just to make the point), the coach will have used one of his/her maximum 8 tennis scholarships.

For this reason, schools generally give out full scholarships to women. If a college had budgetary issues, they could give out less than a full ride, but there are still a maximum of 8 scholarships that can be given out - they cannot be divided up and given to more than 8 players.

In the men's game, with 4.5 scholarships, a coach can divvy it up many different ways. For instance, a coach could give his top player a full scholarship, his 2 through 6 players 1/2 scholarships and 1/4 scholarships to 4 more players. Therefore, in the example above, 9 players might get some portion of the pie. Similarly, a coach could give out 2 half-scholarships and 14 quarter-scholarships. I've never seen an NCAA reg on it, but I've read on a couple recruiting sites that 1/4 scholarships are the minimum.

10-17-2008, 08:19 AM
yes all scholarships are in the end 1 year deals - In fact after your kid signs the LOI the school will send out what is in effect a contract and it clearly states you are getting what turns out 4 one year agreements.

One major point any student wanting to play in college needs to focus on is going someplace they want to be at regardless if they become student athletes. If a coach is pushing you to sign early and you are not sure that is the place you want to be at can be a bad sign - If he/she wants you that bad they can wait until Spring making sure that is the right place for the student.

One thing is I am not sure of is if the schools themselves decide if they are a head-count sport or not - I remember back in the early 80's when I was playing at the D1 level many of the Women on the team were getting partial's - I guess since 1984 things may have changed?
I am going to call my daughters soon to be coach and get her to clear this up - another thing is just because they can offer 8 scholarships it does not mean the school has to budget for that - many top D1 programs fund a max 4 to 6 depending on budget and where the school stands on title IX compliance -

10-17-2008, 08:46 AM
^^^The NCAA determines whether a sport is a head count vs. equivalence. However, you are correct that the amount of scholarships outlined by the NCAA is the maximum.

I once read that even though there are 11.7 allowed men's baseball scholarships, in D1, the average is only around 6 scholarships per school.