Official Visits

Having concluded 4 D3 Official visits , it’s really amazing how much alcohol and partying along with everything else goes on at these highly selective D3 campuses and dorms , it really makes one wonder how you would want your S/D mixed in with all this and have to live this way for 4 years for the COA

The kid you send off to school becomes an adult who subsequently graduates. The period from the beginning to the end is akin to sausage making - love the result, don’t want to watch the process.

Yes, the kids party hard, study hard, play hard. So long as they don’t drive (or get driven) impaired, stay in a relatively safe environment, and don’t do anything “stupid,” they are learning their limits.

For the great majority of kids, partying to extremes peaks by sophomore year. At least most teams have alcohol restrictions during season! NCAA random testing does a lot to keep the other stuff a bit at bay.

Another way to look at it: do you want your kid to learn his/her drinking limits at his first office holiday party, or during his/her college years?

The kids do pretty much what we did the first time free from our parents. Only after my two headed off did I gain a greater understanding of my parents and their reactions to my college days.

I am not sure if you are surprised by the fact that this happens at a highly selective D3 school or if it is surprising that it happens at all. Only insight I can share, having two in college (based on the info shared with me) is that sometimes the level of drug and alcohol use is higher at the more expensive schools, where much of the student population has a greater disposable income. Selectivity of the school academically does not seem to matter.

If you have a concern about the prevalence of drug and alcohol overall you may want to consider a religious based institution that has stiffer policies and penalties for drug and alcohol use. But as for alcohol, since most students turn 21 during their time in college, a student will have to learn how to make their own choices, balance parties, school and sports as part of the overall experience.

The NCAA does allow testing for drugs but it is typically a school’s athletic department that monitors and has penalties for underage drinking and tobacco use. Consuming alcohol if the student is above the age of 21 is not an NCAA violation that I am aware of. Although I would suspect if a student athlete was hung over every weekend performance issues would be the bigger problem.

Son did one non-weekend overnight at a small conservative school with a dry campus, and was asked by players if he wanted to go to a bar and if he wanted to go outside and “smoke.” Son declined the invitations. The next morning the coach was gushing about his character and how he is just the kind of player they want. Son thinks the invitations were legit, I am wondering if they could have been a test to see how he would react.

This is exactly why you take these schools up on their offers for official visits,unofficial visit or junior days…it is to find out if your son or daughter is comfortable with the athletics, academics, social, etc… Alcholol and drugs are out there whether parents like it or not. The most important question is does your son/daughter know how to deal with it. Going to these on-campus events give them the insight what to expect.

I’ve told this story before. My son was doing an official visit to a Patriot League school. He was in the coaches office when he was introduced to a team member and sponsor for the weekend. My son is supposed to shadow this guy for the 48 hours while he’s visiting because he’s also an engineering major. The coach tells the sponsor…“no parties and specifically no alcohol”. My son and the sponsor leave the coaches office and were at a Friday off-campus keg party no more than 5 minutes later. A couple hours later the cops raid the party. Luckily, my son and his sponsor had left a few minutes before the police raid, but other recruits and sponsors weren’t so lucky…and the Coach was NOT happy. My son wanted to leave on Saturday, but we made him stay until Sunday. This was a school my son crossed off his list immediately, but it was priceless in terms of learning what he did not want.

Hello-this is all so interesting and informative since my son will be going on recruiting overnights soon. But one thing is bothering me: my son applied to 6 D3 schools as a recruit, but only 3 have extended official invites so far. Does this have any significance as far as his eventual acceptance? I can see how coaches that don’t think he will be accepted don’t want to waste time with him…

@NoelMaple‌, I would probably take it more as a sign that the coaches at the three schools which have not extended an invitation for an overnight feel your son is not a good fit for that particular program or that they have filled their quota in his position group in this cycle. I think the best indicator of admissibility is how your son’s stats line up with the mid point of the previous few classes, particularly without a explicit promise of admission support from the coaches.

Funny story, son received a mass email from a d3 coach before Christmas break instructing all recruits to apply via regular decision. He then went on to say “only switch it to ed2 if we contact you to do so by February 1st”. Great way to help out admissions with selectivity numbers. My assumption is that this is a way to get even the kids they’re not interested in/kids not qualified to apply. Win win for the school and coach. Told son to go ed2 elsewhere to avoid losing out on another interested school.

Thanks @ohiodad51 two coaches say they are supporting S and the third says he doesn’t have to support S since he can get in on his own…I guess we will just have to wait and see.

We are planning to visit a couple of D1 schools in the spring with my daughter, where they have expressed clear interest and she likely would get an official visit invite in the summer. Is the unofficial visit very different from an official visit? Should we expect to do an overnight?

Yes, unofficial visits are very different than official visits. On an unofficial visit you will likely have a short meeting with the recruiting coach, maybe the head coach and position coach if they are different people. Get a short tour of the facilities and a campus tour from a player or maybe the recruiting coach. Grab lunch in one of the cafeterias, that kind of thing. When my son did his unofficials, he also took the opportunity to sit in on some classes, which he really enjoyed. Basically, it gave him the opportunity to get a feel for the campus on a normal day. Most of his unofficial visits lasted four to six hours total. None were overnights. An official visit is a two day, tightly controlled effort by the coaching staff to wow recruits. Many more meetings, presentations, that type of thing. Both types of visits are helpful, and will give your daughter insight into the school and program if you pay careful attention. In my son’s case though, the unofficial visits really narrowed the list of colleges where he could see himself for four years.

Sorry, double post

That’s really interesting. My D’s only recruiting trip was completely different. They went to classes, studied for a couple hours after dinner, and then went to a comedy club. It’s not a dry campus either.

I wonder if that is the difference between recruiting men and women, or between recruiting for football or track, or a difference between the schools, or all three.

Could be sport specific, or gender specific for that matter. What ThankYouforHelp describes sounds a lot like the unofficial visits my son went on, absent the comedy club at night. As far as official visits, I am mostly familiar with football recruiting, primarily at the D1 level, but for the most part the official visits my son and his teammates attended were full two day affairs, usually beginning with a get together dinner at a fancy restaurant the first night and then a day and a half of presentations by academic advisers, the strength and conditioning coach, dietitian and the like along with small group meetings with the position coach, etc., etc. in addition to the obligatory party with the host player. A lot of schools take the recruits to basketball games as well.

Here’s a journal account of a D1 womens track OV:

Thursday I landed about 11pm, where Coach was waiting at the gate for me We shot the breeze while we waited for my luggage . Then we hopped in his car and drove to the hotel where another recruit was waiting already in the hotel room. She’s a nice kid and we clicked pretty well. We talked for about 15 minutes then called it a night.

**Friday ** I awoke around 7am to get ready. By 8am we had walked down to the lobby where another recruit and her father were waiting. Coach arrived and took our stuff and sent the other recruit’s dad on his way home (they drove). Our first destination was the Commons where breakfast was being served. Upon arriving, we met my host Kim.

After breakfast, I went off with Kim to attend a Biology class while the other girls went to Government. After an hour of that, we left to attend a Psych 101 class. I really liked this class. The professor was engaging, even though there were about 1000 students in attendance. We sat with a captain on the team and a TA for the class. We met Coach after Psych and then for then next 5 hours (11am to 4pm) we toured the whole campus on foot, talked with some academic advisors about our potential areas of study, met the coaches, ate lunch, did an area tour with the car, then went back to the facility for practice. (We couldn’t participate, of course)

All the girls were super friendly and really close, which was cool. After practice, Kim and I headed back to her dorm and started to get ready to go out.

We walked to a fraternity that was having a big party. It was a little intimidating, but ended up being pretty fun – I just drank water, of course. Around midnight, Kim, myself and her friend all walked to get a bite to eat and got home about 12:30 am (they said this was early for college) and just went to bed. I was on the floor, of course. But it was a good experience.

**Saturday **We woke up around 9am and I showered. Now we’re preparing to go to a street festival with some other girls. After that, we pretty much have all day to do what we want (hopefully study some Calc?!) and then at night the team might go bowling. I’m going to have one last sit-down with coach and I’ll fly out tomorrow morning.

For clarity, I was describing an official overnight visit, but it was for DIII women’s track, not D I Football.