Recruiting a priority in Division III
Despite the absence of athletics scholarships, recruiting is most often serious business at the Division III level. The latest edition of Campus Connection explores recruiting issues with Rachel Cook, a recent graduate and former volleyball student-athlete at Millikin, and the school’s volleyball coach, Debbie Kiick. Cook currently serves as an NCAA intern in public and media relations.
Kiick discusses her recruiting practices and how she tries to find the right kind of student-athlete who will fit in both at the school and in her volleyball program. Cook talks about being recruited in high school and why she ultimately chose to attend school and play volleyball at the Division III level. She also offers great advice for future student-athletes who are considering a Division III institution.
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Q: How difficult is it to find high-quality student-athletes like Rachel? I assume you’re competing against some of the smaller Division I and Division II schools. It seems like a very competitive field. What have your experiences been like?
Coach Kiick: I would say that you just have to find the right mix of person who would be interested in Division III athletics. A lot of people play the big-time clubs and they want the ego of saying they have this Division I scholarship, etc., but there are a lot of kids who play because they love playing but want to be a good student and put that first and want to graduate in four years…It’s the exact same player who’s maybe an inch or two shorter than the profile that they want for Division I or II.
Q: What advice would you have for potential recruits, people currently in high school, who are looking to play a collegiate sport after they graduate…maybe looking at a smaller school, like a Division III school?
Cook: My advice for student-athletes trying to figure out where they want to go to school is don’t settle. There are absolutely small schools that put academics first that are highly competitive. Make sure that you realize the goals of that school and where they want to go with the program, and I think everyone can find a really competitive place to play.
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