Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Future of College Ultimate Recruitment

The near future of college ultimate recruiting is in private schools.

Think about it. Most schools as of right now just dont have the money to put towards athletic scholarships for ultimate athletes. Not only that, but the vast majority of the schools barely recognize it as a sport. However, for many many players at the college level, their university teams are life.

Recruitment is becoming more and more common as the high school leagues around the nation increase in size. There are more than 390 high school teams that reported scores to the UPA last year alone. Figure an average of 20 kids per team, (that is a low ball number, as my experience shows that many teams have more than 25 on their roster), thats 7,800 prospective athletes for the College Ultimate forum.

Up until recently almost all college teams had to introduce and recruit new athletes who were disgruntled with their sports, and teach them from the ground up the basics of the sport, the competition the rules, the throws etc. There is now approaching, a time when that will no longer be the case - with major high school ultimate camps popping up all around the country (Philadelphia, Massachussettes, etc) and for that matter becoming much more popular as of late, intertwined with the ever exponentially increasing numbers of high school teams and size of high school programs.

As of right now there are 430 college teams that report scores to the UPA (I'm using that as my standard of an active team, i.e. one who plays games), within the next five years, certainly within the next 10, high school ultimate programs will out number college programs.

What does this mean though?

If you love ultimate, or even remotely enjoy watching the sport expand, this means amazing things for the future of the sport. College teams, now have a larger base to draw from, they arent going to have to explain what ultimate is on the first day of practice, but instead perhaps start explaining their specific offensive and defensive strategy.

Simply put, there will be a large enough base that colleges will be able to actively recruit.

But where will they recruit? Good question.

As stated before the schools dont have the money for scholarships set aside, and i dont see that happening until they realize that a strong ultimate program is a deciding factor for some students, and yet one more way to put their school's name on the map. So until that time, recruitment is based almost purely on will to play.

That is, you cant offer dollar incentives, but rather an appealing environment for them to play in. A team that is on the rise, or rebuilding or on their way to a national championship.

But again, money is the issue. No matter how much a high school star wants to play at a major institution like Brown, if they dont have the grades or the money, its just not possible.

So where should colleges look to recruit students? It was my first sentence. The private schools. The up and coming high school teams, that are starting to make an impact on the high school scene. The players who play for these schools additionally, (albeit a probably unfair standard) will have the ins with the college administrations. Sad though it is, ___ Private School, or the like are taken more seriously, or rather have more sway with college admissions. And in addition, if in fact the private school is worthy of the academic name it has, the student atheletes from said school are more likely to have the grades to get into whatever school you are attempting to recruit for.

Who am i talking about?

Northfield Mount Hermon, one of the few teams that can come close to sticking with Amherst.

The Northwest School, you may remember them from such acts as - winning the UPA Juniors Westerns championships. a no brainer contact for college recruitment.

The University School of Nashville - did fairly well at easterns, taking fifth. Which mind you is nothing to sneeze at. Anyone who qualifies for easterns definitely has something worth looking at.

St. Joe's Prep - in Philadelphia a more recent addition to the high school ultimate forum, however one hell of an up and coming team. College recruiters, remember these names - Joe Kruse, Greg Owens, Matt Paparone, Jim Ionata, Tom McCabe - all rising juniors. Look for SJP to be PA State champions for the next two years at least.

By no means am i insinuating that all high school talent comes from private schools. (on the contrary, look at the undeniable top 3 teams in the country - Amherst, Columbia, Paideia - all public) Im merely pointing out that for the time being, those looking to recruit at the college level might be best served to survey the private schools for ease of admission to their top prospects.

Only time will tell though, i personally am very excited though for the prospective future college players, and the recruitment possibilities they embody.


Anonymous said...

I've got to insert this too brief addition to the topic. Ultimate began as a sport for the masses. If it wants to push its following over that "critical mass" point and be accepted into the general consciousness as something beyond "that crazy guy who spins frisbees at the park" or something you do with your dog on a sunny Sunday afternoon, than forming teams in PUBLIC schools is the only answer. We need advocates for the sport to work hard on setting up high school leagues around the country (rural AND urban, as well as suburban) and helping interested players in schools with no program start their own.

superman said...

i absolutely and totally agree. your comment and my point are not mutually exclusive at all.

my focus was merely the very narrow field of the next 5-10 years of college ultimate recruitment.

but i completely agree to your points, and wholeheartedly am involved in helping those very aspects of the game.

Tarr said...

Paideia is private. Do you know the status of the Seattle schools that at one time comprised Moho? If you look around at some of the Ultimate powerhouses (both on the college and club level) you see a lot of Moho representation.

Keith said...

Yeah, Paideia is private.

On the flipside, there are obviously a lot more kids in public school, meaning more athletes you have access to. Bigger pool the better, right?

And secondly, ultimate isn't an expensive sport. At its basics, all it requires is the frisbee and suitable space, since you don't actually need cleats. So if it is exposed to public schools more, who knows.

Just playing devil's advocate.

superman said...

i completely agree with the introducing ultimate into more public schools. some of the best players i know personally, as well as some of my best friends have played ultimate for public schools.

the financial aspect is meant as a reference toward the current skyrocketing cost of a college education.

believe you me, i want every person at every high school in the country to have the chance to play ultimate. but i also want there to be scholarships availiable so they can play at any college later.