One thing has always been true. Whenever we do a recruiting seminar, we ask all the kids in attendance to list their dream schools. The list is always the big famous school from their home state, 6 or 7 of the schools that played in last years Women’s College World Series and whichever school their Mom or Dad attended. You could bet your life on the responses and feel very confident that you were going to win the bet.
Then the reality of their situation starts to become a little clearer and many of these same players start to come to grips with the fact that for many of them, their dream school is really just that, a dream. So they adjust their plans and their search and start to look at schools that are a more likely fit. For many that means a smaller Division 1 school and for many more probably Division 2, JUCO or NAIA schools become targets. They put the dream of the big school with the famous program out of their minds and go to work to have a great career at the school they choose.
They realize that by choosing a smaller Division 1, or JUCO, or NAIA or Division 2 school they may still have a shot at their dream school after all.
How can this be true, you ask? Well, once upon a time it was a long shot that a player who started their career at a smaller or lower level program would even consider leaving that school. They were happy that a school thought enough of them to recruit them and they made up their minds to do everything they could to make that team a success.
Then something happened and many players now saw those smaller or lower level programs as a place where they could have the best of both worlds. They could have a successful career at that school, get a good education and buy all measurements be considered a huge success. Or they could work their butt off, still helps their current team, but also build a resume of collegiate success that they could then use to catch the eye of a coach at one of those bigger, higher profile program. In many cases the lower level program is serving like the minor leagues do for Major League Baseball. A player might start their career in the minors, show the improvement and growth that makes them a prospect again for the higher level program and boom, off we go.
So, if you chose to attend a mid level Division 1 program you can think of that as Triple A, you’re pretty close to making the jump to one of those big dogs, as long as you are doing great at that mid level D1. So if you are the Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year or maybe even a first team all conference selection you may have shown what you need to do to make that move. Now if you chose a really strong D2 program or national championship contender at an NAIA school, you are probably a little more like the Double A prospect in baseball, not quite ready for the Majors but certainly ready to fill the spot that a player who just got “promoted” from Triple A left vacant for you. Again, though, as long as you are killing it at that level. So you get the idea.
The “dream schools” we talked about in the beginning of this blog might still not be realistic because those schools are getting All American type players from other big dog programs. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are not getting Triple A players, they are getting proven All American players from PAC 12, SEC and Big 12 programs. We have already talked about the rich getting richer but that wasn’t the real point to this post.
The fact is by choosing that mid level Division 1 school you may be a lot closer to fulfilling that life long dream of playing on ESPN for the National Championship. Now how your old teammates and coaches are going to feel about watching your dreams come true is another post altogether.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?