Recruiting and transferring and scouting oh my!
Whether you follow sports or not, athletic recruiting scandals often make national headlines, but with so many rules it can be hard to avoid.
So just what goes into recruiting an athlete, and what needs to be avoided in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC)?
Now in his second year as athletics director, Mark Pretzlaff has become more comfortable with the procedures involved in bringing a student athlete to campus.
“At SAIT, we recruit not just athletes, but students.”
A major emphasis is placed on academics with each new recruit, and the Trojans work hand-in-hand with student services and admissions to ensure that is accomplished.
Pretzlaff said it’s important the student wants to “attend the institution” for it’s educational value, as well as competition.
Each coach is responsible for his or her own recruiting both during and after the season.
“It can be pretty tough, especially with our coaches, because they all have full-time jobs elsewhere.”
Recruiting talent is often a full-time job in itself, and the coaches utilize assistants and other connections to see as much potential talent as possible.
In the ACAC Operating Code, section 7.1.3, a member institution (SAIT) may not host a tournament involving high school students without the approval of the high school athletic association.
These tournaments are often an important place to scout potential domestic talent.
In terms of domestic versus international talent, the ACAC sets a limit on the number of non-Canadians a team can play with.
“The coaches won’t usually recruit more than they can play with.”
Pretzlaff said due to the Trojans placing institutional value so high, it limits the amount of talent they attract.
“We aren’t going to recruit a hockey player who wants to go into medicine.”
Another trend on the rise is athletes contacting the coaches directly.
Pretzlaff said, currently, the Trojans receive about as many inquiries as they do recruiting themselves.
“It’s definitely helped.”
In-fact, it’s the only way a student can switch institutions within the ACAC.
Section 7.1.6 states no member of the athletic staff
of an institution may make contact with a student to
discuss possible attendance, unless the student makes initial contact.
When Pretzlaff was a student athlete, transferring institutions was much more restrictive.
Oftentimes requiring the student to sit out of competition for a year to ensure they weren’t just transferring for the
The rules these days allow for a student to make a mistake, because the ACAC acknowledges it happens.
The student can transfer once, without penalty, during their tenure within the athletic conference.
This applies to all transfers, whether they are from the United States or a Canadian university.
“There’s a big push to keep Canadian talent in Canada,” Pretzlaff said.
“So there are less restrictions on bringing them [student athletes] back.”
Ineligibility is another story.
He said in certain cases, university students choose a college if they
perform poorly, academically, at their
If ineligible, the player must sit out until they improve their GPA to the minimum standard.
“If we get 10 transfers, it’s maybe 2 [that are ineligible].”
Once talent is scouted, SAIT is allowed to finance one visit until approximately one month before the start of a semester, and is limited to transportation, meals and
Institution merchandise is also limited to no more than $50 over and above
what the general prospective student
population is given.