In case you haven't heard, the NCAA just passed a proposal that would eliminate recruiting in high school lacrosse until September 1 of a student's junior year. The proposal hasn't been officially adopted yet, but most people say it will pass.
Yes, feel free to take a long, drawn-out, sigh of relief. You deserve it!
For those who don't appreciate this development, here's what's been going on:
Top college lacrosse programs have increasingly been making verbal "offers" to kids while they are still in 8th grade. I won't get into how messy this has made the recruiting process for all involved. I'm sure you can imagine the pressure, anxiety, and craziness that this has wrought for coaches, parents, and students.
Assuming the proposal passes, here's how things will likely change:
This is a big bonus for them. They didn't like this process either. They didn't enjoy having to keep track of middle school prospects. It was like a lottery, where coaches had to bet that a highly-skilled 13-year old would grow from 5'4" (95 lbs.) to 6'2" (175 lbs.) over the subsequent 4-5 years. They would win some - and lose some. It was hardly an efficient system. Coaches will still keep an eye on the best and brightest, but they won't be able to communicate with them until junior year.
Club coaches will likely become more influential under the new rule. They will now serve as valuable "intermediaries" who can give college coaches insider feedback on the best players, their grades, skills, and initial college interests. Some think this may give club coaches too much power and influence as they become the gatekeepers to the best kids.
Parents are breathing a collective sigh of relief as well. The pressure to send kids to invitationals, camps, and showcases has been unrelenting. The cost of such travel and time away from home has been increasing every year. And what if their child isn't an "early-bloomer"? Their hopes and dreams are dashed before they even get to high school. This is a lot for a parent and child to manage.
Of course, the students are the biggest beneficiaries. Maybe they'll start playing lacrosse because they love it. Maybe they'll play on teams with their friends instead of teams with high profiles. Maybe they'll engage in academics and unique life experiences that don't revolve around lacrosse. Maybe they'll play multiple sports in high school. Maybe they'll play on one team where they know their teammates, instead of four teams where they hardly know anyone. Maybe they won't give up on the sport if they haven't been contacted by the Maryland coach by their 15th birthday. Maybe their parents will put some of that "travel team" money toward a college savings fund. Maybe this ruling will put 2-3 more years back into their lives.
This doesn't mean that kids who are serious about playing lacrosse in college disengage from many of the steps that will help them when junior year does arrive. There's still good reason to take video footage of their games, to build their bodies, to study the game, to play on competitive teams, and to consider what colleges and programs might be a good fit for them. It just means that they have more time and less pressure. Amen.
These are things that I teach students (from all sports) in the PrepWell Academy - Athlete Plan. If you're interested in having your son or daughter learn the steps to set themselves up for success as a college athlete, consider enrolling in PrepWell Academy when we open enrollment next month.
Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.
Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.