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Decode the meaning of your camp invitation

October 1, 2006 | Featured in the October 2006 Issue

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Being invited to a camp can mean two things: you got game and the coach wants to see it; or, the school needs warm bodies and is trying to make a buck off your registration fee. Use the information below, provided by Jack Renkens, president, Recruiting Realities, to decode the true meaning of your camp invitation.

If a coach contacts me with an invitation to camp, does that mean I have a good chance at a scholarship?

College coaches contact lots of athletes to invite them to camp. Often, coaches are just trying to get more players to their camps. It’s fine if you go, but don’t get the wrong idea: just because you were invited doesn’t mean the coaches are going to offer you a scholarship. Only a few select athletes are going to get scholarship offers to elite colleges like Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Texas or Oklahoma.

How do I know if I should attend a camp?

If you are a varsity starter your freshman or sophomore year, then I think it’s a really smart decision to attend a camp to which you’re invited—if you’re interested in that college. Say you’re a standout freshman from Cleveland, and Ohio State contacts you with an invite to their camp. I think it’s a good move to go. Otherwise, I don’t recommend it. Camps aren’t cheap; they can cost anywhere from $85 to $450, depending on how long they run.

How can I tell if a college is really interested?

Ask your high school coach; he might have information that you and your family don’t. Early in your career, your high school coach is the link between you and college coaches, because the NCAA imposes restrictions on when and how colleges can contact you directly. And besides being your connection to the next level, your coach should have the experience and knowledge to help you. I strongly advise that you tap into this valuable resource.

What should I ask my high school coach?

If you get a letter from a college inviting you to attend a camp, talk to your coach about it. Ask him whether he has heard anything from that college. If he hasn’t, ask him to call the coach to gauge his interest level, because you might want to attend that camp. Your coach will also have insight as to the best camps for you. He’ll know what camps teach the strategy and techniques that your high school team uses.

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