Spotlight on Athletic Directors, Student-Athletes, and Recruiting for College Signing Day
Athletics programs in our public schools provide physical and educational benefits to student athletes. Athletic Directors not only lead the coaches and programs, but also support the development of student talent and character.
The Examination of National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) shows that school athletics participation correlates with academic achievement, good behavior, and high aspirations.
Student-athletes gain invaluable skills and have a wide variety of choices. For some students, athletics is a pathway to a college scholarship. College Signing Days are events where student-athletes sign with their college of choice.
High School Athletes Learn Life Skills
Positive outcomes for student-athletes include:
- Better grades
- Higher quality coursework
- Positive educational aspirations
- Higher self-esteem
- Higher numbers of college enrollment
Athletic Director Ray Zepeda of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD states, “I believe that athletics offers our student-athletes an incredible forum for learning skills and abilities that allow them to be more successful later in their lives. The concepts of teamwork, cooperation, leadership and service to others is fostered on a daily basis in our programs.”
Public School Athletic Directors
District Athletic Directors are responsible for guiding and inspiring student-athletes. They ensure that athletics programs benefit students while helping to support the districts’ numerous teams of coaches.
Suzette Arriola, Athletic Director for East Central ISD, says that her job is to “guide and influence our coaching staff who then is responsible for guiding and influencing the student-athletes. What we live by every day is we want to create better people first, better students second, and better athletes third.“
Scott Moehlig, Director of Athletics for Alief ISD, says, “My role is to lead and inspire coaches and athletes to become men and women of integrity and to have a general concern and respect for others.”
National Signing Day and National Letter of Intent Day
National Signing Day, sometimes referred to as National Letter of Intent Day, is a highly-celebrated event for successful student-athletes. Each year, thousands of high school seniors make a public promise to a college/university as they sign a National Letter of Intent to attend NCAA Division I and II institutions. The NLI is a contract that holds the institution and the student-athlete accountable for one academic year. (National Scouting Report)
Though football recruiting and basketball recruiting tend to get more public attention, College Signing Day is an exciting celebration for all branches of high school sports.
What is a National Letter of Intent?
Student-athletes can receive verbal offers to play sports at an institution, but nothing is official until the athlete signs the National Letter of Intent (NLI). Not every school uses the NLI, and it is not mandatory to sign.
Most athletes sign the NDI ceremoniously on the first day of the signing period. The NDI was created by the Collegiate Commissioners Association to protect the college and the student from either party backing out. (Next College Student Athlete)
When is National Signing Day?
Signing day occurs on different days for different sports.
- Division I Basketball early signing day begins the signing season on November 10, 2021. The regular period begins April 13, 2022.
- Division I and II College football early signing day begins December 15, 2021 and the regular period starts February 2, 2022.
- All other Division I and II sports signing day begins on November 10, 2021.
What is #CollegeSigningDay?
#CollegeSigningDay is the official social media hashtag for promoting and announcing that athletes have signed letters of intent.
Whether it is college football signing day or college basketball signing day, all athletes and families can participate in the excitement of the celebration by sharing on social media.
NCSA Sports Recruit Facts and Sports Recruiting Websites
Texas high school football is one of the most competitive areas of athletics, and athletes want to stand out. College recruiting is a big business in not only high school football, but in all sports.
Student-athletes often search online for how to get recruited for sports in college. One college recruiting website, Next College Student Athlete, or NCSA, provides suggestions on how to get recruited in various high school division levels. NCSA helps families take the stress out of recruiting by creating a plan to help find the best college options.
College sports recruiting websites can help families of student-athletes make the connection to the institutions recruiting players. While athletes can be recruited without paying for athletic recruiting services, the websites offer valuable tools. Many families choose to use recruiting services because they are unfamiliar with the recruiting process or don’t have the time to research it themselves.
Some recruiting website examples that claim to offer valuable services are HS Baseball Web, ESPN Recruiting Basketball, and Be Recruited- Soccer. Additional insider information on sports and the recruiting process can be found in online forums such as College Confidential.
College Football Recruiting
Football recruiting is the process where college football recruiters identify exceptional players and invite them to the team. The recruiting staff can often identify top football recruits by the start of their freshman year of high school. Football recruiting relies heavily on high-school coaches and staff. (NCSA Football Recruiting)
Division I and II high school football early signing begins December 15, 2021. The regular period begins February 2, 2022.
College Basketball Recruiting
Basketball recruiting involves a coach that has learned about a player and wants to know more. The process can begin after the sophomore year, and coaches and assistants can stay in contact with the players until they begin to extend offers during the player’s senior year. (NCSA Basketball Recruiting)
Division I high school basketball early signing begins November 10, 2021. The regular period starts April 13, 2022.
College Recruiting for Other Sports
Division I and II high school sports signing begins on November 10, 2021. Athlete recruiting includes all sports offered in public high schools:
- Men’s Basketball
- Women’s Basketball
- Beach Volleyball
- Field Hockey
- Men’s Soccer
- Women’s Soccer
- Swimming Swim
- Track and Field
Athletic Scholarships and College Applications for Athletes
While federal financial aid and student loans can help fund college tuition, there are also several types of athletic scholarships to discover. Student-athlete scholarships are funded by a variety of sources like individual universities, corporations, and private entities.
It is not necessary to play on an institution’s official team to be awarded a national or local athletic scholarship. Some scholarships are offered to students who played sports in high school or who have a commitment to athletics. Scholarships.com lists numerous athletic scholarships with deadlines and award details.
A Campus Explorer article states that college applicants that participate in high school athletics have an advantage in the admission process. Colleges consider a student’s complete transcript, which includes test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities like sports.
Athletic Programs in Schools Teach Life Lessons
Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Ricky Lock of Southside ISD sums up how athletics impacts athletes. (The most important benefit is to) “Learn life lessons and discipline while handling adversity. There are always going to be ups and downs, good moments and low moments. You have to learn how to turn the page and fight through adversity when life gets tough. Athletics teaches kids how to handle life the same way.” He continues that “[for] some students, athletics is a vehicle to do well in school, come to school…(and it will help) drive them to the diploma.”
Go Public Athletic Director Spotlight
Six athletic directors from Go Public in San Antonio and Go Public Gulf Coast (Houston area) shared their thoughts about their roles, student-athletes, and schools. Click on each below to read more.
Scott Moehlig, Alief ISD
Ray Zapeda, Cy-Fair ISD
Jason Brittain, Angleton ISD
Suzette Arriola, East Central ISD
Scott Lehnhoff, SCUC ISD
Ricky Lock, Southside ISD