Coaches’ New Overture: Limit Early Recruiting

Posted by Amey Doyle on January 15, 2016
Coaches’ New Overture: Limit Early Recruiting

With no NHL, the dream for every female hockey player is to play for Team Canada.  That's a great dream, but goals should be realistic and unfortunately the percentage of female hockey players that actudally represent our Country in hockey is very small.  I believe that the real goal for competitive female hockey players should be to play University Hockey.  If players push themselves to train, to improve, to learn the game well enough to be considered a student-athlete, then the Team Canada dream just may come into play.  

Every year hundreds of female players comit to a school, to a team and to a coach.  This commitment is one of the biggest decisions that they will make and unfortunately I have seen a number of families lost in the process.  In the past five years, I have noticed that players are comitting earlier and earlier.  This to me is something, I simply don't understand.  Why would you comit to a school when you're in grade 9, 10 or even 11 for that matter??? So many things can change from the time that you comit to the time that you actually start your first day of school.  I think coaches, pressure players and families to comit to early and this is something that should change.  Every student-athlete must make the decision based on a number of factors and there should be no rush to make these important decisisons.  Coaches should provide information, help families get through the process and lead them in the right direction...NOT PRESSURE them to comit.  

I came across this article published December 2015 which I would like to share.  Although the sports discussed are lacrosse and softball, hockey could definately fit into this article as well.   We have a lot of new and exciting things in the works at Doyle Hockey Development that we hope will help families and more improtantly student-athletes through the recruiting process and allow them to be prepared and therfore confident when they comit to a University.  Stay tuned!


College coaches are pushing the N.C.A.A. to end a largely hidden practice that has become increasingly common: the recruitment of young high school and occasionally even middle school students.

Women’s lacrosse and softball coaches separately sought approval from the N.C.A.A. this fall for proposals that would limit recruiting of younger students. Men’s lacrosse coaches are set to discuss doing something similar at their annual meeting this month. Ivy League universities have recently started sending letters of caution to young students involved in so-called early recruiting.

The athletics director at Harvard, Bob Scalise, wrote a letter to the Harvard community this fall pointing to the problems created by early recruiting — both for students and universities — arguing that the “N.C.A.A. needs to acknowledge the elephant in the room and engage in meaningful dialogue with its member institutions in order to find a workable solution to this alarming trend.”

In his letter, Mr. Scalise referred to statistics on early recruiting from a 2014 New York Times article. That data suggested that a quarter of all women’s soccer players and a third of men’s lacrosse players in Division I received and accepted scholarship offers before official recruiting was supposed to begin.I have been involved in College recruiting for a number of years and have therefore witnessed the madness that is 'Women's Hockey Recruiting' in Canada.

The N.C.A.A. bars coaches in most sports from directly contacting students before their junior year of high school. But coaches have, with increasing frequency, gone around those rules by reaching students through an intermediary, like a high school or club coach.

That has given way to an unofficial but well-traveled route of gifted athletes’ committing to college teams before official recruiting begins. This practice appears to be more common in women’s sports, but it has been spreading, coaches and athletic directors say, and has been leading to the recruitment of younger and younger players. In women’s soccer, for instance, 157 high school sophomores, eight freshmen and one eighth grader are currently committed to play for specific colleges, according to the website Top Drawer Soccer.

Many college coaches have complained about the pressure they face to recruit young students, and the damage it can do to both players and teams. But coaches generally say that as long as it is not explicitly prohibited, they have to do it to snare the best athletes.

“If we think it’s just going to miraculously stop from getting earlier and earlier, we are kidding ourselves,” said Kerstin Kimel, the women’s lacrosse coach at Duke, who is among those leading the sport’s effort to seek new rules. “People see this is a real problem now that really needs to be dealt with.”

The N.C.A.A. so far has hesitated to endorse any new limits on recruiting. A few years back, it rebuffed the first proposals from men’s lacrosse coaches seeking to restrict early recruiting, and for the last few years it had a moratorium on new rules of all sorts.

The coaches pushing for change now say that the N.C.A.A. has indicated that it is reluctant to create new rules for individual sports. But reform-minded coaches note that big-money sports like basketball and football have been able to secure new, sport-specific rules from the N.C.A.A., which has generally loosened, rather than tightened, recruiting restrictions.

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