Must we apply ED to get coach support?

New here. My 2024 pitcher is in conversation/prereads with a few D3 schools. Some he can likely get in on his own merits but some he will likely need coach support (his stats are under median GPA/test scores for the school).

If he needs coach support does he pretty much have to apply ED? I assume if he doesn’t the coach thinks he isn’t really interested and doesn’t want to use an admissions slot on him? And if he waits and applies EA (if available) or RD coach may have already filled team with ED applicants?

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Applying ED is generally the quid pro quo for receiving coach support. Coaches have very limited support slots and they want to be sure that they are used on recruits who will attend the school if offered.


The recruited athletes I know (a limited sample) all applied and were accepted in the ED round. If they did not apply ED they would have lost the support of the coach (spot would be given to someone else).

This is something to discuss with the coach.


These are questions to ask the coach, but generally if you are taking about highly rejective schools, an ED app will be required in exchange for full coach support. The coach wants to wrap up their recruiting early and also get the strongest players they can.

Has your S had pre-reads? If so, what was the result of those?

Also, picky, I know… but your S is applying to college, it’s not ‘we’.


Yeah he is doing the emails, calls, visits etc. But it’s comical to think that a 17 year old could figure out the college recruiting process on his own (we can hardly do it as full grown, well educated adults) and even more ridiculous to think he could pay the astronomical cost of college without our support. So yeah it’s something of a team effort.


I am sure coach will be very clear on the process. In our DD case for selective D3 she was asked to apply EA (August) and admissions sent likely letter - at that point was asked to convert to ED. (She already had transcript and SAT score pre read by admissions earlier in the summer and got green light.

Are preread results communicated by the coach or should we expect a letter or email from admissions? S has gotten very positive feedback after sending transcript and test scores but only from coaches.

I’m sure it was very much affected by covid, by my s21 did not have to apply ed for coach support for many programs. It was a crazy time with many cancelled OV, so perhaps not as relevant,.


He will only be communicating with coaches, not admissions. Generally there will be nothing in writing from the coach, if they make a verbal offer.

At schools that do likely letters, those generally come after a verbally committed athlete submits their app.

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At selective schools - yes, athlete likely needs to apply ED1 or ED2 for coach slots. Coaches sometimes will give soft support in RD by speaking to admissions.

At less selective schools - RD can sometimes work with coach support/soft support depending on the sport and number of slots the coach has.

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Coaches submit more pre-reads than they can support because at this point, most recruits are speaking to a number of coaches and everyone is waiting to see how things shake out. If you are in this process, you know the sport well enough to imagine what any coach is juggling – current players, needed positions, etc. Nobody wants to use 3 of their 5 spots for 3 goalies, for example, even if it’s essential to get 1!

Typically, they will reach out to your son and make an offer of support. He will need to commit verbally, which may require working some timelines withother coaches. He should let other coaches know he has accepted an offer elsewhere. He’ll be expected to apply ED to get coach support. The coach has limited spots and specific needs, so this is the quid pro quo for assured acceptance. (Remember too that Admissions isn’t always thrilled to have the athletic department doing their job for them!)

There are, of course, exceptions, but these are exactly that. They mean the coach still has chits after ED1. There are also situations when an athlete is admitted on their own merits and still offered a roster spot.


that was the expectation for my daughter last year when she was deciding where to go. Coach support was offered if she applied ED. however, there were kids both in the incoming class at her college and at her high school that did not apply ED and will be rostered on teams this fall, but the amount of support they received is unknown.

best bet is always to just ask the coach

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This varies by school, coach, program. In general, most recruits at D3s with low admit rates probably do apply ED/EA. Others have described this well, and I agree that the coach will be able to clarify.

But I’d also ask why it matters to you? Are you just getting a sense of the process, or are you reluctant for your son to commit early? If the former, definitely ask the coach to walk your son through the process at their school (it’s not the same everywhere ). If the latter, think about why and whether it’s something your son can discuss with the coach.

If there’s hesitation about fit then perhaps a visit would be worthwhile. If there are financial concerns the coach (at most schools) should be able to clarify financial aid before a commitment is made.

In my (limited) experience, committing to EA/ED sounds like a big deal early in the process. But once the options are clear and the recruit has a clear preference, it’s often seen as an advantage for the recruit as well as the coach.

Having said that, I do know recruits who felt the need to stretch things into RD, and coaches at very selective schools who were fine doing so. Everyone is different.


I agree the others that you need to ask yourself why you are reluctant to have your kid apply early. Some high schools suggest that applying early is bad because kids are making decisions in November that they wouldn’t be making in April or May. This always puzzled me, particularly for athletes. Athletes go to showcases, talk to coaches, go to camps, tour schools, go on OVs and thus often have much more information at their disposal come application time than non-recruited applicants.

Another reason is financial. Applicants lose the ability to compare financial aid offered by colleges. This is true, but in all likelihood the pot of financial aid available also is smaller come RD time.

Then there is the parent perspective: “Don’t let them force you into applying early.” Really, the whole recruiting system would collapse if there was no certainty through applying early. Instead of recruiting - say - 5 players, a coach would have to recruit 25 because many of the recruits might well go elsewhere. This would leave less space in the class for non-athletes. And if by contrast all 25 decided to attend, the coach would have to cut 20 players. It just isn’t workable for the school or athlete.

The down-side of not applying ED for athletes is multi-faceted. First, the mere fact that your kid falls into the top 25% of academic stats does not mean that he or she is going to be admitted. It probably means that he or she is more likely to be admitted than if he or she were in the middle range, but at the tippy top schools rafts of kids with stats that would put them in the top 25% are not admitted (don’t forget yield protection). By contrast, an athlete with a positive reread, coach support and that applies early has a very good shot of being admitted.

Second, if the coach only needs one pitcher (yeah, I know, you can never have too many), if you skip ED the coach in all likelihood will find someone else that will apply ED. Thus, the roster spot can also become an issue.

Third, it can be a real pain to apply to ten schools, particularly if your kid has to write more than one essay.

In all, we were grateful for the recruiting process and to apply ED. Keep an open mind and do what is right for your kid.


Following the common refrain, only the coach really knows. When my son went through recruiting, one Ivy coach said that he had X number of slots for ED and Y number of slots for RD. I got the feeling that the school wanted to spread athletes out between the two periods for statistical purposes.