Official visit a formality for LAX recruits
For most Division I recruits, the unofficial visit carries more weight when making decision
Many college coaches seem to lament the change the official visit has undergone the past few years.
EDITORS NOTE: ESPN RISE editors release a new lacrosse story in the weekly series Recruiting Road every Tuesday. We feature coaches' and recruiters' answers to some of the most asked recruiting questions.
The official visit is set up so a high school athletic recruit can visit five colleges to gauge their level of interest in the college program and campus.
On an official visit the college is allowed to pay for transportation, lodging and meals. Athletes often attend a class and spend time with players on the team.
According to college lacrosse coaches, the official visit is now more of a signing party that brings in athletes who are already committed to the college.
ESPN RISE spoke with some college coaches to see how the visit has changed and how it may have changed recruiting.
ESPN RISE: What is the role of the official visit and how has it changed recruiting?
Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame
“Essentially, official visits are victory laps. We’re not doing official visits because guys have already made up their minds by their senior years. The only official visits we do are for the kids who are committed to us.
“The unofficial visit is now defining where kids are going to school now. Other than who pays (the athlete pays to travel for the unofficial visit), there’s not a lot of difference. Kids are younger so that does make some difference.”
Matt Kerwick, Jacksonville University
“We still are doing more of the official visit, probably a little bit more than most of our competitors. We like to see the kids play football or soccer and see them athletically during their senior years. For most schools the official visit isn’t really part of the process.
“Part of it could be driven by the parents, club coaches and high school coaches saying 'if you don’t take this opportunity now, it might be gone.' I think it’s two-sided because these young men feel they have to commit early or they’ll lost the opportunity and they’re also being presented the opportunity to commit earlier (by college coaches). I think it’s unfortunate in a lot of ways because I don’t think these young men are allowed to make their five official visits and make an educated choice at a time when they’re a little more mature.”
Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins
“The official visit is almost more of a formality. The unofficial visit has become more like the official visit. That has become the more important visit. You get the family in front of you and get to talk to them. The only difference, really, is you’re not allowed to pay for anything. On an official visit you can pay for transportation and things like that. The unofficial visit is now serving the purpose the official visit used to. They’re so critical because there’s a chance that when you get a kid for an unofficial visit, you won’t get them back to the campus again before he makes his decision.”
Bill Tierney, University of Denver
“Lacrosse recruiting has moved forward almost a full year. I used to like the official visits because you might be serious about 20 kids so you’d have four weekends of five guys come in during the fall of their senior year. Now because everyone is recruiting these kids in their junior year they have to pay their own freight. There just aren’t enough spots for kids, there are only 60 Division I schools and if on average everybody is taking 10 or 11 kids (in the recruiting class each year), that’s only 600 kids and there are literally thousands who can play."
Charles Toomey, Loyola
“The official visit is now a signing party. It’s the committed kids that are all meeting each other for the first time. It’s a little bit sad in my opinion – the days of taking five visits and having the opportunity to stay on campus for 48 hours, to go to a class, eat the food, meet the kids – it’s a thing of the past.”
“Now you have young men taking unofficial overnight visits during their junior year or even in the summer. So much is missed in my opinion.”
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