When it comes to college recruitment, the NCAA sets guidelines for college coaches and high school athletes that control when coaches can reach out, how many campus visits a student may take and when athletes may commit to a school, among other activities. According to its website, the NCAA imposes such restrictions “to create an equitable recruiting environment that promotes student-athlete well-being.” In this online exclusive, an addition to the two-part series that ran in print, SCDS athletes discuss their experiences with this process.
Sophomore Bri Davies is familiar with how injuries can completely derail athletic ambitions.
“I had more plans for recruiting than I was actually able to execute,” Davies said.
Last club season, Davies set up a number of volleyball profiles on sites like Next College Student Athlete and posted a highlight reel. Davies was alerted whenever a coach searched her name or viewed her profile.
“I got an email from the MIT coach, and he said ‘I’d love to come and watch you,’” she said.
However, since it was Davies’s freshman year, the coach never did visit because he was busy pursuing older players.
That did not discourage her, so she sent emails to Dartmouth College, Yale University and a few others. In volleyball, Division I schools are not allowed to respond to a player’s messages until the end of their sophomore year, so she did not receive any response.
But that rule didn’t snuff out Davies’s hopes either, so she set her sights on the upcoming Girls’ National Qualifier tournaments, at which players and coaches can meet.
“Coaches look at your statistics – how high you can jump, how tall are you, but they also see if you can recover from mistakes,” she said. “They look for how you carry yourself, how you interact with your coaches.”
However, before Davies could attend a Qualifier tournament with her club team, Gold Cal Jrs Volleyball Club, she injured her knee as a freshman on the varsity volleyball team at a Sept. 24, 2016, tournament held at Jackson Sports Academy.
Davies did physical therapy for six months for her knee injury and returned to her team. But Davies said she continues to have issues with her knee, and after taking an MRI found that it hadn’t healed completely.
Then in February Davies received her first concussion at a volleyball tournament. The damage to the retina in Davies’s eye was so severe that she was out for five weeks. In April Davies received her second concussion playing club volleyball and was out for the rest of the season.
Davies had planned on creating more videos for her recruitment accounts, emphasizing different skills, such as hitting, passing and blocking.
“Sophomore year is a prime year for getting recruited,” she said. “This is the season to get noticed. Now it’s off the table. We don’t even know if I’ll be playing next season.”
Davies said that by junior year a volleyball player has become acquainted with college coaches and is tasked with showing that they have improved from sophomore year and are ready for the collegiate level.
“Now that I’m not going to have that shot to play at college, it’s definitely disappointing,” Davies said.
—By Sonja Hansen