Over the past few years, I write a blog on “Saturday college game day visits.” Although later in the season, MAC schools play games during the week, and these are also considered game day visits. Now with the college football season starting, game day visits also have started.
These visits are considered – “unofficial visits.” Colleges do not pay for travel or motel rooms. The prospect and whoever accompanies him share the expenses. Of course, tickets are free. Be sure to bring a form of identification.
The player gets three free tickets to be used by hopefully – mom and dad. But not always the case. Actually have heard a lot of “war stories.” A head coach wanted to go to an Ohio State game and never told the prospect that the tickets were for the prospect and his parents. The coach took the prospect and another coach. Colleges encourage parents to come along, if possible.
Have not been to a recruiting tent or recruiting room for awhile. This is where you check in and wait to go to the field as a group. Sometimes food is available, sometimes not. Food is not to be free. You are to buy food, but the deal is better than inside the stadium. This is where coaches take time to make a quick visit. Usually a support staff member will go over the procedure.
The only thing that is to be free is a football program. Everything else is the responsibility of the recruit and his parents, or high school coaches.
If you are a high profiled recruit, you will be annoyed by members of the internet recruiting media, as well as, sports writers. Trust me, they will know that you are there and who you are. If you stay for the complete game, more chances are the members of the football staff will talk with you. Plus, take the time to meet some of the players.
I have had high school head football coaches say to me, “He has been at three OSU games.” Or “He has been invited to an Iowa game.” Those are all good comments, but I would just not get too excited. There can be over a hundred recruits at one game. If it is a BCS school and a huge game, there will be. College coaches want to “get you on campus.”
Game day visits can be put into one word. — Informational.
College coaches : 1. Get to eyeball you and see how much you have grown or need to grow. 2. By talking with you they can gage your interest in their school. 3. If you have already committed, they can reinforce their relationship with you. 4. If you are a senior, they can get a feel as to whether they want to keep recruiting you. 5. If you are an underclassman, they can eyeball you and ask just a few questions. 6. Of course, if you are underclassman, they will encourage you to get to camp.
Recruits: 1. Look around and see the big picture. 2. Ask yourself if you can really play at this school. 3. Take time to meet some other recruits. 4. Watch the coaches, especially the head coach and your position coach. Get a feel how he relates to his players. 5. Do not make too much “drama” out of the whole day.
Some coaches stay out on the field after games, some go inside. That is the way it is. Most will say something to you before the game.
Before parents or the recruit get too excited about an invitation to a college game day, try to get a feel just how much initial interest is there from the college coach. Or for that matter, the recruit. Anything over a four hour drive deserves some thought. Long trip. If it involves a flight, is there an “offer” there.
Be realistic, because we are talking money. Anything under a four hour drive is workable. But if parents and a recruit just want to go just to say that they have been there. Not a problem. The trip will provide super memories.
For example, when I was a senior, I made the trip to Indiana University for a Game Day visit. Indiana played Purdue. Stood on the field. Met head coach John Pont. Met future star QB Harry Gonso. Was I good enough to play there? No, probably not. Good memory!
Get to as many Game Day Saturdays as possible. Enjoy the atmosphere. Remember – everything is about collecting information on both sides 1 – College coaches and support staff. 2 – The recruit and parents, or his coach.