With the onset of scouting services, showcases, and travel teams, there has been a rapid rise in the monetization of the recruiting process. The goal of many high school baseball players is to advance to the collegiate level, but we know that only 11% of high school baseball players play in college and 2.1% get to the Division I level. The numbers are always heavily stacked against the aspiring ballplayer, and the scouting services/showcases/travel teams of the world are feasting on the anxiety those numbers induce in athletes and families.
It is one of our main goals at KPI to provide the systems that allow athletes to reach their peak level of performance and see their dreams become a reality. A huge part of that is to educate the athletes in the #kpicrew on the bad actors in this process, which allows them to save their finite resources of time, money, and energy and dedicate those resources the correct places (development).
Myth #1: Most Players Commit “Early” Now
Fact: While it is true that many more high school baseball players commit early before their senior season, the fact is that the vast majority still don’t commit until some point in their senior season. It is only the top few % of the top 1 % that actually commit early. These are usually a few players at the larger schools, which make up a very small minority of college baseball players. On top of that, many early commits do not actually attend the school they “committed” to due to change of mind, injury, academics, or being dropped by the school.
In a tabulation by a prominent California travel program, here are the numbers surrounding their early commits…
- 73% attend the school they committed early to
- 16% switched to a different school
- 8% were dropped by the school they committed early to
- 3% quit baseball
Myth #2: My coach is the one that will get me recruited
Fact: Having a well connected coach that knows how to handle the recruiting process can certainly help, but the onus will always fall on the athlete, as this is their process. The athlete must get good enough, must have the grades, and must be the one driving the process. The process is so difficult and the attrition rate at the college level is so high, if the athlete is not the one driving the process then they will likely not have the requisite tools to advance and thrive at the collegiate level.
Myth #3: I need to go Division I
Fact: Only 2.1% of high school baseball players advance to the division I level and a recent study listed that 70% of freshmen Division I baseball players do NOT play all 4 years at the same school. Getting to and excelling at the Division I level is mathematically a losing proposition. Athletes should be seeking out college situations that will allow them to have a great experience during their collegiate time. Seeking out only Division I will almost always lead to disappointment.
Myth #4: Showcases are the best way to get recruited
Fact: The word “showcase” has become completely washed out and most showcases are a scam. There are very few legit showcases out there that have any real value for athletes, and for the athletes that do attend those, it is pointless to attend those events if they are not good enough. Athletes need to have a high level of self awareness about their physical tools and what level they could get to. Anything less is feeding the money grab that these showcase providers are offering. To make the situation worse, many showcase events are run during “Dead” periods when colleges cannot even attend the event (and no, they aren’t recruiting on a live feed). This is the classic example of bad actors feasting on a lack of knowledge by players and parents.
Myth #5: Scouting Services can help me get recruited
Fact: Scouting services are not a factor in getting a player recruited. They sell a false narrative that they can help a player get seen. Recruiting is done through a coaches’ network and by a player that is thoughtful and methodical in their approach to developing and getting recruited. Scouting services often badger and hound college coaches. If a college coach wants to find a player or wants more information on a player, they talk to the people they know, they don’t go searching on some random scouting service or look at the 20 emails they have in their inbox selling a player they do not know.
Myth #6: If a college coach sends me a letter/invitation, they are recruiting me
Fact: Most correspondence that college coaches send out are to get players to attend a camp. In NCAA Division I baseball, there are currently only 3 paid coaches (4 starting in 2024), which leaves many coaches labeled as volunteers. The only way to pay these volunteers, and sometimes fund the program as a whole, are to run camps. So college coaches are forced to run many camps so they can pay their staffs and fund their programs. If a letter is personal, if there was a connection through the head coach or recruiting coordinator, or if there are phone calls, those are the signals of real recruitment. If it’s just a letter asking to attend a camp or fill out a questionnaire (this is how the build their camp database), the athlete is not getting recruited.
Myth #7: College coaches can contact me whenever they want
Fact: College coaches are bound by many rules on when and how they are allowed to contact a player. Before September 1st of the athlete’s junior year, a college coach cannot directly contact an athlete. They are allowed to answer a phone if an athlete calls them, but that is the limit they are able to participate in. Camp invitations can be sent out, but official recruiting cannot begin until the beginning of the junior school year.
Myth #8: If I don’t get recruited by the school I want, I’ll just walk-on there
Fact: It is incredibly difficult to be a true walk on and make a college team, especially at the Division I level. College recruiters do a great job of identifying talent and often leave no room for true walk-ons. Exposure is also at an all-time high and there are much less players that are “missed.” Add in the onset of the transfer portal, where NCAA athletes can get one free transfer during their collegiate career, college coaches are plugging holes in their roster over the Summer by grabbing players in the transfer portal, leaving very little room on rosters for walk-ons.
Myth #9: Junior College is not an effective route to the NCAA
Fact: The Junior College level is a much more effective and efficient way to play at a NCAA school. The Junior College level has much higher rates of advancing to the NCAA level than high school, it allows athletes to take college courses at a fraction of the cost, and players can retain the ability to get drafted to professional baseball, rather than being forced to wait 3 years if they go to an NCAA school out of high school. The Junior College level also affords players the ability to potentially play earlier, rather than sitting on the bench like most Division I freshman do.
Myth #10: A baseball scholarship will pay for all of my college
Fact: NCAA Division I baseball is not a fully funded sport. At most, Division I schools can only offer 11.7 scholarships to be spread out over a 35 man roster. These amounts are well at the Division II level, and at the Division III level there is not any offering of athletic scholarships. Almost every player is on some kind of a partial scholarship at the Division I and II levels. It is very rare for a college baseball player to be on a full scholarship, and if they are, it is almost always with a combination of academic aid. The best way for a baseball player to receive the most scholarship money is to be really good at baseball and have strong academics, as many colleges can combine academic and athletic scholarships.