Ethical recruiting practices serve as the cornerstone of a college or university athletics program. At a Division III institution such as Juniata College, ethical recruiting enhances the reputation of the institution and complements the objectives of the Enrollment Office. An athlete who has been appropriately recruited to Juniata College will recognize the benefits to be found at Juniata as a student and as an intercollegiate athlete. First and foremost, the education he or she will receive is of the highest quality and will result in a variety of significant opportunities. The athletics experience will be competitive and enriching without compromising academic pursuits.
Recruited student-athletes deserve certain courtesies throughout the recruitment process. Their families are being asked to make significant financial commitments for four years and they are being asked to partner in their own development by making commitments to physical well-being, team goals, and time intensive training. In essence, prospective student-athletes are being introduced to a role that carries the lofty expectations of being competitive in two time consuming arenas; academics and athletics.
Coaches’ interactions with recruited student-athletes must be based on integrity and honesty. Points of discussion during the recruiting process should include:
- Size of roster.
- Number of returning players and number of returning starters.
- Try-out procedures.
- The athlete’s potential role on the team.
- Non-traditional seasons and their importance to player development.
- Pre-season conditioning programs and their impact.
- The option of being a multi-sport athlete.
The focus of all recruiting contacts should be on the positive benefits of attending Juniata and participating on its athletics teams, therefore:
- Negative recruiting is not a wise, productive or acceptable tactic.
- Statistical evidence of the academic, athletic, and career success of Juniata College student-athletes in each sport should be developed by coaches and presented to recruits.
- Recruited athletes should have access to current team members to ask questions regarding the program.
- Coaches should make every effort to honestly evaluate a recruited athlete, either in person or through videotape assessment, and be able to let that athlete understand the coach’s vision of their potential and place in the program. However, a coach should never “promise” the athlete a position on the team or that they will be a starter or significant reserve.
In the actual recruiting process, proper procedures and professionalism must be paramount, therefore:
- Pressure should never be applied to a prospective student-athlete to apply early decision or make a commitment to enroll if they are not fully ready. It may not be in the best interests of the student-athlete or Juniata College.
- Regular communication with the recruited athlete should be maintained along with a log of phone and mail contacts.
- If the recruited athlete is no longer a priority, he or she should be informed that someone else has chosenJuniata who is a better prospect in the opinion of the coach. Do not simply stop calling. You may want another athlete from that program in the future.
- Be gracious to student-athletes who choose other institutions. Let them know that, if things do not work out, they should re-consider Juniata.
- Establish a good working relationship with high school and club coaches. Always thank them in writing after recruiting an athlete, whether they enroll at Juniata or not.
- Establish a good working relationship with high school college counselors. Always thank them in writing for their help when you are recruiting an athlete from their school.
- Establish a good working relationship with college coaches at Division I institutions who will be able to refer players to you.
- Be honest about a student’s chance to gain entrance to Juniata College.
- Help student-athletes and their families understand the financial aid environment at Juniata and the type of financial aid available. Immediately manage contacts so that specific financial questions are directed to the financial planning office.
After a student has decided to enroll at Juniata the coach should:
- Follow procedures and practices as discussed during the recruiting process.
- Fairly evaluate players in an appropriate try-out period.
- Maintain regular contact, through the office of the Sports Information Director with hometown newspapers and high school and club coaches. Success of an athlete and well-developed publicity makesJuniata attractive to potential future student-athletes and develops good will in a larger community.
- Conduct regular meetings with new student-athletes to help them make the transition to a largely independent life in a responsible manner.
More often than not, contests are won and lost in the recruiting process. The quality of the recruiting effort will influence the quality of student-athletes who ultimately attend Juniata. Coaches who establish a reputation and practice of ethical recruiting enhance the reputation of their programs, themselves, andJuniata College.