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We've had conversations with a few student-athletes who are hearing from colleges about the potential to ‘grayshirt’ for their team, and we wanted to share some info with the larger audience (inclusive of parents, IECs). We hope to provide student-athletes with necessary insight as to what that means (admittedly, the programs should be explaining – or have explained – this to student-athletes as well).
You’ve presumably heard of a ‘redshirt’ – in summary: a player who is on scholarship, cannot play in games, but can practice. That student-athlete sits out of competition for that athletic year only, saving that eligibility to be used in the future.
A ‘grayshirt’, using the same breakdown – a player who is not on scholarship, cannot play in games, and cannot practice. The athlete must wait a semester (in many cases the fall) prior to becoming a full-time student.
This is becoming increasingly more popular with coaches and teams (especially as the Transfer Portal plays a larger role in recruiting). Once a student-athlete sits out the sports season (say fall 2022), the player then has five years to play four seasons – and the school would have the ability to redshirt you at some point.
As a ‘grayshirt’, a student would go to class the first semester as a part-time student. In our example, this student would start as a full-time student in the spring 2023 semester. Double check this with each college that makes any ‘grayshirt’ offer! This – of course – leaves student-athletes with two ‘wrinkles’: one, you need to absolutely crush your grades. If you will use this to potentially leave for another program in time, as a springboard to a D1 for example, you need to have the absolute best grades possible. The athletic wrinkle becomes quite obvious – you will need to find ways to stay sharp, to practice, to play (without the team!)
Get a full response from the school on why they are looking at you as a ‘grayshirt’ – and get it in writing, as an email.
‘Grayshirts’ are often used by teams that may oversign, ending up with more student-athletes than they have roster spots (which is their ‘error’ but they spread it to the players). While we're hopeful that any school considering such a step is upfront with this potential, you need to know WHY – and what they anticipate your next steps to be.
In some cases, a ‘grayshirt’ status can be altered, say if another position player gets injured during the season you are sitting out. If that – or another roster move – happens, then you could be added to the roster as a typical signee.
If you are a student-athlete that is pumped about this next step, that’s fantastic! The key though = you and your family need to be completely in the know on these steps that the college is taking (the how and why, from their perspective) of your ‘grayshirting’. These notes provide you with a solid baseline to work from, now just get clear understanding from the school!
Questions on being a 'grayshirt'? On athletic recruiting? Contact us today!
In late winter/early spring, a number of colleges will host "Junior Days" over the weekend(s).
So... just what IS a Junior Day?
A Junior Day an invite-only event at the college for underclassmen. Recruited student-athletes have the opportunity to visit campus and tour the athletic facilities. They see the field of play, practice facilities, weight room, the athletic training offices and more! The school's objective is to show a recruit what every aspect of college football (or baseball, etc.) life would be like at the college.
Student-athletes get to meet and visit with the head coach as well as the coach who is recruiting the player (whether by position or geographic location). This recruiter will also make introductions to the student-athlete's potential position coach. These coaches then show them how they could enter the game plans, what the program looks for at their specific positions, as well as advice for how an athlete can improve their abilities and level of play for the upcoming seasons.
For more on Junior Days - as well as how to make the most of them in terms of communicating with the coaching staff before, during and after - check out this throwback blog post of ours by clicking here.
How can the LAC Team help you with your recruiting process? Do not hesitate to reach out!
We all have goals to achieve, things that we hope to accomplish both now and in our futures. Many people forget that marketing - and the ability to 'market' oneself - is a key component in finding a high level of success. Promoting of skills, speaking up for yourself, engaging and communicating with a network so that you earn opportunities -- that is all marketing!
1 - No matter your age, background, experience - invest in your online footprint. Intelligently build out social platforms to network and connect with others, highlighting achievements and showcasing goals. Put your knowledge and skills to work (and to separate yourself!) start a blog, website, podcast. Write and talk about what you know -- in time, you'll be able to then push that out to any number of suitors as an element of your resume. Provide insight, information, and aim to help others and gain trust. Answer questions, show-off your knowledge in specific subject and get involved in online discussions.
2 - Be authentic. Stay yourself, tell your story, and allow people to get to know the real you. In connecting with future professors, employers, colleagues and even friends - it pays to stay real and true to your values and who you are. On the one hand, people respect those who are themselves, who have insights that they can stand up for, and goals that they are yearning to achieve. On the other... it's much easier to be yourself than anyone else (and it's harder to fake and mask the real you!). On the internet especially, many people can fall into the trap of faking life, successes and happiness... being the real you will allow you to find your own level and version of great success!
3 - Speak up! While being humble is a fantastic quality to carry, finding the ability to self-promote in a professional means and method is a skill that will serve you well. If you don't share, the hiring manager won't know your skills. If you don't ask, the answer is always No. If you don't try...well then failure is certain. Showcase accomplishments and achievements with pride, aim to be positively noticed and remembered, and communicate at the highest level you can!
Final Notes: There is an old Chinese proverb that says: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." This goes for financial investments, but keep in mind too... this goes for personal 'investments' as well. Start marketing for yourself (and your personal brand today) and your future you will thank you!
Let us of any questions you may have on marketing yourself with college admissions or athletic recruiting -- contact us by clicking here.
February 2nd, National Signing Day, can be cause for celebration or can lead to frustration in many student-athletes.
If you have signed - congratulations - and know that you're only just getting started! Do not let signing a NLI be the best part of the process - work hard, be smart, set goals and achieve them!
If you did not yet sign, you may be feeling anxious or miserable. Football players especially may feel that their days on the gridiron are over -- do not think that way and do not give up your hope and efforts! National Signing Day represents the first day that a high school athlete can sign a NLI to a college institution, NOT the very last.
Many students may get so caught up in the celebratory chaos and the desire to be a part of the festivities on 'Day 1', that they make a massive mistake. While we understand the mindset and the excitement, the urge to be signed for the sake of being signed - and to revel in the achievement, to plaster across social media - should never supersede your long-term goals, plans and interests. Do not take any offer from a college JUST to sign on Signing Day. Make totally sure it's the right place for you, that you have a good relationship with the coaching staff, that you love the campus and location... run an 'ACL Test' in your mind and with your family: If I popped my ACL and couldn't play, is this where I want to be?
Don't be overwhelmed -- take things one 'whelm' at a time and slow the process down, especially at this critical moment. Review with family, review with high school coaches, and review - of course - with yourself. Access your abilities, your dedication to the program, be honest with yourself. Make this a decision that you can look back on and be immensely proud!
Questions on Signing Day? On college recruiting? Don't hesitate to contact us!
Some thoughts on NIL from the last few months as we've connected with schools, student-athletes and coaches (for marketing, branding and PR):
Athletic recruiting and the courting of student-athletes in this NIL landscape will increasingly include not only a showcase of the school and program as is typical – the athletic facilities, the coaches and staff, the tradition, the alums that came before and blazed a trail – but will also need to include:
(1) a showcase of the community – the small businesses in the area eager to connect with student-athletes, the marketability within the location, the opportunities to best optimize brand, as well as...
(2) the education that will be necessary to enable student-athletes to make the best decisions possible in their NIL endeavors – review the ramifications, teach what can and cannot be executed on, and yes, even provide courses on financial literacy.
In short – how will both the community and the school provide an assist in this arena? Those schools and programs that best answer the call will be those that provide a sense of comfort and understanding to the student-athlete and their family.
Questions on the NIL for student-athletes? Wondering how you can boost your brand? Contact us today!
We’ve had a few parents reach out and ask about college prep for middle school-aged student-athletes and our initial advice is – at face value - simple: she or he has to continue to do their best academically and athletically.
From there, college prep and recruiting will stem from their grades, their connections (via camps, showcases, etc), and – of course – their health (no ACL tears!).
With both academics and athletics for a middle schooler in looking ahead to college (which is a great thing to do – starting early minimizes stress and allows for total understanding) we want our students to:
Develop passions >> what do you like to study? What clubs are you in outside of sports? What extracurriculars do you participate in? Do you/will you have a part-time or summer job? Starting these early will help to build a resume (perfect for the Common Application), will have the student thinking critically about what his or her future may hold (career, etc), and will give the student conversation starters when eventually chatting with coaches and admissions officers.
Progress academically >> as the student goes through high school, colleges will want to see that challenging classes and courses were taken – not those that are too hard, of course, but those that really push a student to be their best! By figuring out what subjects he or she is best at, you’ll have an idea of which ones the student can potentially line up to eventually take as Honors or AP. On the flip side, if he or she has any weak subjects, the student can use these days leading into high school to ask questions, get extra help and try to fortify his or her studies in that spot that may need it most.
Build relationships with coaches >> in any sport, student-athletes should do their best to communicate with coaches at a high level. Ask questions, learn the best practices for a skill, be coachable – a student-athlete will be able to improve as an athlete and will always have these individuals to lean on down the road for recommendations. This counts with coaches for in-season teams as well as those at camps.
Attend camps, clinics, and combines this summer and in subsequent years >> in these early years, the events will be for improving his or her game, learning, and building relationships. When the student gets to summer of freshman or sophomore year, that’s when you can begin to get involved in camps that are specific to a school or set of schools. Of course, by starting early, the student will know what to expect and will be more comfortable in the future camps!
Create your ‘database’ >> begin to track personal records, keep note of athletic achievements, and begin collecting highlight video and reels. Students can also begin to review college websites and athletic programs (for example, if there’s a game on Saturday and the student shows interest in the team…have them Google the tea school and program to learn more about them. Again…it sets the stage for future understanding). In freshman year of high school, a student could then fill out and register for the NCAA’s Eligibility Center which will verify (and maintain) the academic and amateur status of the student-athlete.
Questions on starting your college or athletic recruiting journey? Contact us today!
Three things student-athletes need for PR (especially as the NIL takes hold)!
>> own your story;
>> establish your ‘brand’ ie define your image;
>> be ready/reactive!
In short, don’t let others get out in front of you when the “news” is about YOU! Be who you are and who you are comfortable being, don’t let opinions dictate your image. And finally, when put into any limelight you become an influencer of sorts with something to lose, you need to be ready to react/address every day events when you inevitably will be asked.
Are you prepared for your next steps in the NIL landscape? For insight, advice, PR guidance and branding, do not hesitate to contact us!
Many thanks to those that voted for Leonard Andrew Consulting in the Zip06/Shoreline Publishing ‘Best on the Shoreline 2021’!
While there is no category for athletic recruiting or college prep (yet… next year perhaps?!) we are so honored to take 2nd place in the Tutoring category for educational services for the entire Connecticut shoreline!
We're proud to have helped so many students and families in Connecticut and beyond! How can we help you? Contact us today!
We recently had a parent ask about ways to deal with a student's stress as they head into the first year of college. Taking that step - as an academic and as a person - is huge, and certainly can create anxiety on it's own, but we feel like in today's world - current events, apps everywhere that either boost serotonin or minimize it - students can use all the help that they can get in tackling stress and their stressors.
Our thinking: there are two ways to deal with stress in any walk of life, but especially in college: to be understanding and to be organized.
Understanding not only the requirements of the class (check the syllabus, determine a study plan) but understanding yourself (do I study better at night? In the morning? Can I study in my room or do I need library space? Can I really go out tonight and tackle that essay tomorrow?) is a big step that then allows you to then optimize and organize yourself. Organization is an important life skill for academic and professional success, and with it you'll find that you're much more productive and less stressed. Calendars, scheduling, planners (both paper and on apps) are invaluable tools to staying calm, being organized and achieving success!
What would you add to a list of ideas on minimizing stress in college? Anything that you did that worked for you?
And - with questions on college or the college prep process - do not hesitate to contact us!
LAC - Founder/Director
Founder - The College Essay Captain, and featured guest blogger here for LAC. It's her mission to inspire people to tell empowering stories.