Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Impact of Athletic Facilities on the Recruitment of Potential Student-Athletes

Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Impact of Athletic Facilities on the Recruitment of Potential Student-Athletes

Article excerpt

PURPOSE: This study examined the impact that athletic facilities and other college choice factors have on the recruitment of student-athletes to play Division I college hockey compared to the influence of other college choice factors. Although athletic facilities and their seeming importance in the recruitment of top level student-athletes are popular in Intercollegiate Athletics, the athletic facilities may not play a significant role in the recruitment of student-athletes to play Division I college hockey. METHODS: In order to explore this phenomenon, nineteen Division I hockey players were recruited to complete a college choice factor survey. The participants completed a two page survey titled "College Choice Factors". The main body of this instrument asked the student-athletes to rate the degree of influence each of the 24 college choice factors listed had in their decision to select the institution they would attend. Additionally, there were two demographic questions, and one open-ended question to answer. RESULTS: The results of this survey show that the top three reasons student-athletes chose to attend their respective institution were the perceived opportunity to play immediately, receiving athletic-related financial aid, and the perceived future professional playing opportunities. Athletic facilities, as the reason to attend their college was well down the list, tied with official on-campus visit for tenth out of twenty-four. CONCLUSION: The athletic facilities used by Men's Ice Hockey teams do not play a significant role in the recruitment of student-athletes to attend the university.

Student-Athlete Recruiting in College Athletics

Although recruiting student-athletes is an important component of college athletics, the process itself is intended to shape the student-athletes selection of a college. Despite the increasing importance of recruiting across all divisions of the NCAA, the process has received very little scholarly attention (Klenosky, Templin& Troutman, 2001).

"Recruiting is the lifeline to an athletic program. Without gifted athletes, even the most talented strategist or motivator will be rendered ineffective as a coach" (Dailing 2002, p. 24). At Adrian College (MI), the university has undertaken a strategy to help recruit students through their athletics teams. Their plan is for the coaches of the sixteen varsity sports to bring in 200 athletes each year. According to the President of Adrian College, Jeffrey Docking, "we say to these coaches, you have one job: Recruit. We've had to let go of coaches who haven't made their numbers" (Sander, 2008, p. 3) A greater understanding of the college choice factors of a student-athlete will help facilitate the process for attracting these student-athletes, as well as retaining them. Recruiting is one of the greatest challenges a college coach has, and the ability to understand what the student-athlete is looking for in their choice of a school will go a long way to the level of success that a coach and his program have in attracting these recruits. Therefore, it can be said that the biggest challenge a coach faces is not on the field of play, rather it is on the recruiting trail.

College Choice Factors and Recruiting

There has not been a large number of studies done that would determine the absolute reason why student-athletes choose to attend one school over another. There has been some, and the responses vary. For example, in 1991, Adler & Adler conducted a study using a sample of 39 Division I male basketball players. The top responses as to why they chose this particular institution were the coach and the program, the reputation of the coach, the style of play by the team, perceived amount of playing time, television exposure, perceived opportunity to play professional sport, social life, and academic factors. In another, Reynaud (1998) conducted a study of 457 female volleyball players. The five most influential factors were the offering of a scholarship, the academic reputation of the school, the head coach, the availability of their preferred academic major, and the players presently on the team. …

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