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Why I Dislike July the 1st

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

As many of you already know, July 1st of each year is the first official date that a college baseball coach can contact a prospective student-athlete, by telephone. In many folks minds this date is the true litmus test, as to whether a player is a true college prospect or not.

By about July 5th my email in-box is overflowing with frantic correspondence from parents, each making much the same statement. "It's after July the 1st and my son has not received ANY phone calls." Most go on to further explain that their son has received many letters (insert number here) and that several coaches expressed great interest in those letters.

Of course I am not mad or upset with the parents that write. My concern is this: How did we get to this preconceived idea that if college baseball coaches are not calling your player immediately on July the 1st, that any hopes for playing at the collegiate level are over?

Here are the real facts regarding July 1st:

For the sake of this article let's say that there are 200 college programs (NCAA DI, upper level NCAA DII and NAIA) that work hard starting on July 1st, each summer. That still leaves more than 1,400 schools that have not started their recruiting. Many schools, especially the smaller programs, the DIII and the jucos will typically wait until the "big boys" are finished. Let's use ABC college as an example. It is a mid-major NCAA DI program. In November, of this recruiting year they signed two players. Since April they have signed another 10 players. This ratio is not uncommon for the mid=level programs.

Let's assume that the original 200 schools each sign 10 players, in the early (November) signing period. That makes the number of early signees = 2,000 student-athletes. Per our "Inside The Numbers" table there are over 48,000 collegiate baseball players total -- Typical years have 12,000 to 14,000 incoming new players.

Many college programs are still out watching summer tournaments and showcases, in July, working to fill out the needs of the current incoming class.

It is a fact that more college baseball scholarship offers are made, and more National Letters of Intent are signed in the late (April-August) signing period than are completed in the early period, each year.

Many of us know players that signed in the early period with school "A" simply because it was the only program that had made an offer. If that program is a players #1 choice, the offer and potential opportunity for playing time and the academics are all there, my reply would be "great do it." However if a family is settling for this offer because it is the only one, then my advice would be to wait. The baseball folks that I talk to, and that understand the college recruiting process, all agree with this plan.

One of the statements that I hear all too often is this one; "He wants to sign early, that way the pressure will be off and he can enjoy his senior season." What pressure? Placed on him by whom? My experience is that the pressure comes primarily from the parents.

Don't let ego get in the way .... A high school baseball player's college future does not depend on a telephone call, made by a college coach in July.

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