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Athlete recruitment is more than just finding players

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Cosumnes River College has an array of determined and skilled athletes. However, they didn’t suddenly appear on the fields. CRC coaches work endlessly to recruit athletes that will make the campus shine.

Athletic recruiting is defined as any solicitation of an individual, a member of their family, legal guardian or coach by a college staff member or by a representative of the college’s interests to encourage enrollment in that institution for the purpose of athletic participation, according to the California Community College Athletic Association constitution.

The CCCAA sets all of the recruiting rules for the state.

“Everything we do is within those guidelines,” said Nicholas Podesta, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team. “We stick to those guidelines religiously.”

The actual process of recruiting all starts with identifying a prospective athlete.

“We start to gather information,” said women’s basketball coach, Coral Sage. “We call coaches, try to get out and see practices if we can, and then from there we go and watch games and then we kind of figure out who we want to continue recruiting.”

Similarly to women’s basketball, softball recruiting involves identifying high school athletes and following their progress until the time comes to convince the student to play for CRC, said softball coach Kristy Schroeder.

Sage said one tool coaches use is a website called Maxpreps where coaches are able to see stats and rosters from local high schools.

However, the way coaches start their recruiting process is changing, Schroeder said.

“The recruiting game has changed quite a bit,” Schroeder said. “Before the four-year colleges would sign student athletes their junior year, but now everybody is verbalizing really early.”

Schroeder said that student athletes are verbally committing to four-year schools as early as eighth grade.

“That’s actually helped our recruiting because you have a better idea of who’s available,” Schroeder said.

Prospective athletes are then contacted and soon begin campus visits. This is when coaches must sell CRC to the athlete.

Podesta said the beauty of CRC’s campus and the impressive facilities really helps the campus sell itself.

It’s really mainly identifying student athletes, convincing them to come, getting them on campus to watch a practice and a game, me touring them around and trying to show them that our program is better than the other ones out there.”

— Kristy Schroeder, softball head coach

“We do have the best facilities in the entire state,” Podesta said.

A good field helps, and so does having a good team.

“We’re really lucky because we have a brand new facility and we’re doing real well this year,” Schroeder said. “So that helps with recruiting.”

One way coaches convince students to play for CRC is with priority enrollment. This allows student athletes to have first pick for classes.

Schroeder said priority enrollment is a big selling point.

When it comes to convincing prospective students to stay at CRC, Podesta said he doesn’t worry too much.

“In the five or six years I’ve been recruiting here, I’ve only had two players that have actually taken visits on campus and not come here,” Podesta said.

Another advantage for coaches is a new rule passed by the CCCAA allowing them to recruit outside their respective districts..

“We can contact athletes outside of our district via phone,” Sage said. “It generally opens it up a little bit more.”

Sage said she prefers recruiting within her district to keep the community in community college.

Identifying quality players is one of the biggest parts of recruiting.

Schroeder said she looks for multi-talented players.

“I’m looking for pitching, I’m looking for speed, I’m looking for quality hitters,” Schroeder said.

In Sage’s case, she said that she looks beyond what the player can do on the court.

Sage said she typically doesn’t recruit based purely on talent alone. She wants girls that are hard working with the right attitude that fit their system.

Whatever the case, athlete recruitment is an essential process that helps build CRC’s sports teams into what they are today.

“It’s really mainly identifying student athletes, convincing them to come, getting them on campus to watch a practice and a game, me touring them around and trying to show them that our program is better than the other ones out there,” Schroeder said.

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Athlete recruitment is more than just finding players