College Athletic Recruiting Strategy: Going Where the Teams Are

map with pinsIf you are a high school athlete and already have five coaches from D1 schools showing up when you play and you’re only a junior-congratulations!?  You need not read any further. For those of you who aren’t nationally ranked athletes but still want to play at the college level-read on.

If you want to get recruited to play on a college team you need to go where the colleges are. Mind-boggling obvious you say? Of course, but have you really considered how location affects your chances to play college athletics? Let’s consider baseball. (If you are considering baseball, be sure to checkout the DIY College Rankings Baseball Spreadsheet.)

With 59, California has two more colleges fielding baseball teams than Texas. Sound like an ideal place to get on a baseball team, right? Probably not. The average number of full-time undergraduates at four-year institutions in California is 9,571 compared to 6,309 for Texas. Theoretically, there aren’t as many undergraduates competing for spots on the baseball team in Texas as in California. And there are probably a lot of high school players that want to play in California.

Think about it this way. Two schools have baseball teams. One has a 1,000 students, the other has 10,000. Which school would provide better odds for making the team?

Of course, it’s not quite this simple. NCAA D1 teams aren’t really recruiting from their student population. More than likely, they are recruiting over a larger geographic area than just where their general student population comes from.

And some places will just naturally attract more players for one sport than another. You would expect to find more hockey opportunities in the northeast.

However,?  because that’s also where the highest concentration of hockey players are,?  the competition for the spots might be much tougher than at some schools outside the region. A baseball player who has been playing three seasons in California, Texas, or Florida might find it easier to make a college team in Kansas or Missouri rather than his home-state.

The following table is made up of data that really shouldn’t be used together since it’s not all from the same year. The number of baseball participant and four-year institutions with baseball programs are from 2010 with the number of undergraduates is from 2011. Oh well. Consider it for demonstration purposes only.

StateColleges with
baseball
programs

Avg Undergrad
per school

Participants
as % of
Undergraduates

# Baseball
Participants

Full-time
Undergraduates

Grand Total111251650.66380255743856
ID316492.00994947
SD820111.8329416090
VT617021.6116410209
NH1024401.4936324399
MT133891.45493389
ME1023941.2830723942
WV1829701.1863253466
NE1339441.1257251272
ND834281.1030327427
SC2539240.9997498093
KS2134950.9972673387
KY2639570.96992102891
AR1839470.9567771051
OK2139530.9276483015
MO3338790.891140128020
TN3241120.861138131579
IL4544910.821656202112
OR1247570.8146157078
IA2548190.80963120479
PA8139590.782494320693
MN2643830.76869113946
MA4738450.761371180716
WI2540950.72737102369
AL2350550.70814116269
OH4854240.691798260332
CT1747040.6955279968
GA3550630.691221177222
IN3449040.691143166744
NC3951340.681353200235
MS1445280.6842863386
HI360370.6611918112
NY7347030.632175343318
CO759890.6225941926
LA1661360.5958498172
NM565920.5919632959
NJ2557500.59843143757
DC453640.5812521456
TX5763090.562023359620
VA3161220.541027189777
DE461870.5313224747
MD1462510.5144487510
RI759450.5021041617
FL3771940.471243266175
MI2574830.47871187074
WA1074890.4533774891
CA5995710.351986564670
NV2140150.277728029
UT5146620.2417573309
AZ4205030.1814582011

 

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