Athletes Finalize Recruitment Process


Photo Courtesy of CP Breit

VAULTING: CP Breit (12) clears the bar at a track meet during the 2019 season. Breit will continue to pole vault at the University of Wisconsin Madison next year.

Hailey Grubich, Feature Editor

Six senior athletes signed a National Letter of Intent at DGN’s celebratory signing ceremony Nov. 13, officially committing to their respective Division I or Division II college. The National Letter of Intent now binds the six athletes, Jessica Phillips, Estelle Czech, Nicole Havel, CP Breit, Alexis Parker, and Abby Ryniec, to their respective university for one academic year.

Speaking in general terms, ‘to commit’ to a college  is to agree to participate in a specific sport at that college. The road to signing day is different for each athlete depending on the sport, the college, and the student him/herself. 

The commitment process begins when student athletes are either contacted by a college, or the student contacts the college themselves. Senior pole vaulter CP Breit is currently committed to the University of Wisconsin Madison. She was contacted by the school after they saw her vault at a camp.

“I have been looking at schools since my junior year. The time from Wisconsin officially offered to the time I accepted was a month,” Breit said. “Early in the process, I thought I was going to commit to Washington University in St. Louis, or the University of Miami due to the majors that they offered, but then I fell in love with the Wisconsin team and coach, and knew it was the right fit for me.”

Before making her final decision, Breit was in contact with 15 different colleges. This is what ended up being the hardest part of the process for her. 

“I never expected to form such amazing connections with some many coaches. It was heartbreaking telling a coach that I had decided to go somewhere else, but they were always so kind and supportive,” Breit said.

Another popular way of contact is through the Next College Student Athlete (NSCA) website. On this website, student athletes create a profile including their statistics as well as their grades. Senior Jessica Phillips used this to find her Division I school, the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“The NCSA profile made it very easy for schools to contact me. I can see every school that has searched me, looked at my profile, and sent me emails. I probably had received over 100 emails from coaches ranging from D1-D3 schools. Thankfully NSCA had given me match score for each school so that it was very clear who I would be the best fit for athletically and academically based on the preferences that I had filled out that coaches could see,” Phillips said. 

Oftentimes, if a student is recognized by a college before their senior year, they verbally commit to the college. According to NCAA, “A verbal commitment happens when a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play sports for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. The commitment is not binding on the student-athlete or the school and can be made at any time.”

Senior Estelle Czech is planning to attend North Carolina State University on a scholarship to play softball, and she has verbally committed to other schools before finding North Carolina State University. 

“It actually took me a long time to get where I am today. I previously was committed to two other schools. I personally think I committed too early at the beginning of my freshman year so I decided to step away from that offer and look at other schools. I eventually found the perfect school for me,” Czech said. 

A big part of recruitment is campus visits. There are two types of visits: official, where the college pays for the college-bound student-athlete visit their campus,  and non-official, where student-athletes pay for the visit themselves. 

“They had invited me for an official visit where I would go and spend a weekend with the team and coaches,” Phillips said. “I also had met all the staffing for athletes and academic advisers in my major. Because UIC is so close to home I have gone to meet there to compete for myself for club season, and have gone to watch the team’s home meets as well.”