February 15, 2016

In the Know: Scouting Terminology 101

  • Every sport has its own set of terms, acronyms and slang which each athlete will become familiar with throughout their career, but it is equally as important to be In The Know when it comes to the terminology used in the scouting world. As an athlete you need to know the terms being used by coaches, scouts and other athletes. Don’t be scared to do your homework beforehand, ask questions if you don’t know what something means or look it up on the internet. Below you will find a list Scoutlete has compiled of some of the more common terms you need to know.

Recruit: A student-athlete who takes part in off-campus contact with a coach, receives multiple phone calls from a coach, makes an official visit to a prospective school or receives a National Letter of Intent from a prospective school.

Prospective student-athlete: A student-athlete is considered a prospective student-athlete once they have started their ninth-grade classes. Alternatively, a student-athlete is also considered a prospective student-athlete when they, their relatives or friends receive any sort of financial aid from a college that would not commonly be received.   

Walk-On: A student-athlete who participates on a collegiate team without an athletic scholarship

National Letter of Intent: Also known as an NLI a National Letter of Intent is an official agreement between a student-athlete and a prospective school asserting that the student-athlete agrees to attend that educational institution for one academic year in return for athletics aid. Once a student-athlete has signed with a school they can no longer be contacted by other prospective schools for the purpose of recruitment.

Verbal Commitment: A verbal commitment made by a student-athlete before they are able to sign a National Letter of Intent stating that they plan to attend a particular institution. Verbal commitments are non-binding.

Official Visit: Any visit to a prospective school paid for by the school is considered to be an official visit.

Unofficial Visit: A visit where the student-athlete pays their own expenses while visiting a prospecting school is considered to be an unofficial visit.

Redshirt: A student-athlete who extends four seasons of play over a five year period. Most often this takes place when a student-athlete sits out of games for a season but is still attending classes and practices.

Grayshirt: A student-athlete who delays their enrollment in a collegiate institution to the winter or spring term. Most often this takes place due to a student-athlete being injured before the start of the academic year.

Blue Chip: A highly sought after student-athlete. Most often this refers to a student-athlete who is amongst the top players at their position coming out of high school.

Contact: Contact is considered to be any face-to-face meeting between the coach and a student-athlete or the student-athletes parents off campus. If a coach has any contact with a student-athlete or their parents at the student-athletes high school or any location where the student-athlete is involved in practice or competition it is also considered contact.

Evaluation: An evaluation takes place when a coach or scout evaluates a student-athletes academic or athletic ability. Most often an evaluation takes place when a coach or scout watches a game or practice.  

Calendars: There are restrictions regarding what times during the year coaches and their associates are allowed to contact players and in what way this contact can be made.

Contact Period: The time designated by the calendar when coaches may make in-person, off campus contact or carry out evaluations or student-athletes. Coaches may contact the student-athlete or their parents on or off campus. The coach may watch the student-athlete play and the student-athlete and their parents may visit the campus. The coach may telephone or write the student-athlete during this time.

Evaluation Period: The time designated by the calendar when coaches and their approved staff are permitted to engage in off campus evaluations of a student-athletes academic or athletic ability. It is not acceptable for in person, off campus recruiting to take place during evaluations.

Dead Periods: The time designated by the calendar when coaches are restricted from making in-person, off campus contact or carrying out evaluations of student-athletes.

Quiet Period: The time designated by the calendar when coaches may only make in person recruiting contacts on the coaches school campus.

Camps: Camps may refer to either instructional or showcase camps. Showcase camps are most often held by an institution for the purpose of having student-athletes showcase their athletic abilities to coaches. Instructional camps are intensive training sessions for the purpose of improving a student-athletes game.

Combines: Combines are held for the purpose of evaluating a student-athletes physical fitness by mean of rating their ability to perform various physical exercises. 

Application Waiver: A coach has the ability to waive the institutions application fee, often referred to as an application waiver.

Clearinghouse (NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse): The NCAA Eligibility Center is considered to be the initial step in the recruitment process. All initial eligibility certifications and inquiries regarding a student-athletes initial eligibility standing are processed through the Eligibility Center.

Early Action: Some schools will allow student-athletes to apply as early as November 1st, often responding in early January with their acceptance status. The student-athlete then has the right to wait until May 1st before responding, allowing them the opportunity to compare school, financial aid offers and other opportunities before making a final decision.

Early Decision: An early decision is a binding agreement where a student-athlete accepts an offer before receiving a National Letter of Intent. Student-athletes may only accept an offer from one educational intuition.

Rolling Admissions: Many public educational institutions utilize a timeline whereby a student applies and receives an admission decision within two to six weeks where applications continue to be accepted until the incoming freshman class is full; often referred to as Rolling Admissions.

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