Asking the right questions during the recruiting process and continuing to ask questions throughout the college years is essential, panelists said in a session on the student recruitment process.
“Not enough parents of recruits ask us the tough questions,” said Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick, assistant women’s basketball player at the University of Florida and a former Wake Forest basketball player.
Graduation rates? Academic support? Campus climate? Jobs after college? Community service opportunities? Mock said it's important to ask all of these questions.
Because for college coaches, success equals job security, coaches may not always focus first on academic and social issues, she said. “When we are recruiting a student athlete…. If we talk about the challenges, we think… are we raising red flags?”
Kirkpatrick suggested asking about some of the professions student-athletes have chosen. “Ask the coaches, ‘Can my son or daughter attend class with another student-athlete?’ Ask about non-academic challenges.”
Cory Randolph, a graduate of Wake Forest School of Law and a former Wake Forest quarterback who was heavily recruited in high school, also offered advice for recruits and their parents.
“The coaches come in and literally take over your life,” Randolph said. “Parents should be involved from day one. Know what the coaches are saying to your children. Know what’s in the recruiting letters… And, know that it’s a game. “
Most importantly, “know what your child wants to do when football is done,” he said. “Do they want to be a lawyer, a teacher, a doctor?” He urged parents and athletes to find out how they are going to get there, while meeting the demands of the football schedule. For example, how will an athlete have time to do an internship?
“Know who to trust and then know to trust yourself,” Randolph said. “At the end of the day…you’ll know 'this institution has my best interests at heart,' and that’s where you need to go.” -- Cheryl Walker