How does Hamline bring in athletes?

Without athletic scholarships, Hamline coaches rely on building relationships and strong programs.

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While Hamline has the privilege of a relatively large group of athletes representing the student body, many students at Hamline are not student athletes so some might wonder: how does athletic recruiting work? 

Hamline is a Division III athletic school. According to NCAA rules, D3 schools are not able to offer athletic scholarships to their athletes. As of the 2018-2019 school year, there were 449 active D3 schools listed on the NCAA website. 

This makes sports recruiting a challenge. Not only do coaches have to persuade players to come to their school, but depending on the player’s talent, they also have to compete against the D1 and D2 schools that are able to offer partial and full athletic scholarships.

“Recruiting is the hardest thing a coach has to do, they can do everything right to get the player they want and still not land him or her,” Athletic Director Jason Verdguo said.

The pool of available players is limited and the competition is intense. This requires coaches to be in near constant contact with their candidates. All of the communication is separate from the admissions process so sometimes athletes are receiving three to four letters, texts or emails a day from both coaches and from the admissions department. 

Coaches scout out players they need based on the circumstances of the previous season, looking for positions of need: a baseball coach looking for a left handed pitcher, or a volleyball coach looking for a setter. Technology is used to great advantage by coaches to track an athlete’s stats and trends. Video and game streaming has made it much easier for a coach to go out and observe a player’s talent without actually having to go around the country or state watching games.

But coaches are not only looking for good talent. Athletes need to also be a good student, have a good work ethic and be committed to playing and the team. They also need to keep a good culture in the locker room and be a leader. 

The player also has to first be interested in Hamline, the curriculum offered here and be able to financially afford to enroll here.  All of these scenarios could line up and the recruiting could still fail due to a better offer from a D1 or D2 school or a personal decision on the part of the player or their family.  

  “Recruiting a player can be as exhilarating as a big win or as disappointing as a last second loss” Verdugo said.

To convince athletes to go to Hamline, the school needs to be an attractive destination both academically and athletically. For senior Alex Torgrimson, the team culture was a huge part of her decision.

“You look at the program, but you also look at the people,” Torgrimson said. “You kind of pay attention to the cliqueiness of the team, how well they get along. The people I met here were the best of all the colleges I went to.”

Torgrimson met the swim team twice during her recruitment process and spent a lot of time getting to know the people on the team. One of her visits was an overnight stay hosted by 2018 graduate Elizabeth Gregorio, who was a member of the swim team at the time. 

“That was definitely very appealing for me because she was able to talk so much about Hamline,” Torgrimson said of that overnight visit. “I could see that I could do so many things here but also be connected to the sport I love.”

Talking to people in the swim team who shared her major also helped Torgrimson see her path academically and athletically that helped her decide on Hamline.

Successful recruitment at D3 schools requires good sports programs with good success rates, but financial factors are also significant. Without scholarships specifically aimed at athletes, talented athletes may flock towards schools that are able to offer payouts and other incentives for them to go play there. 

According to a USA Today article, these are the top five D1 college football programs in terms of scholarships in 2017-2018. 

  1. Michigan $26,672,328
  2. Ohio State $21,305,478
  3. Alabama $16,741,760
  4. University of Texas $12,655,927 
  5. Texas A&M $11,133,891

D3 recruitment can not offer the same financial incentives, but Torgrimson said that in her experience, that was for the best.

Torgrimson toured four other colleges before deciding on Hamline. Two of those were D2 colleges which offered athletic scholarships, but Torgrimson turned them down because she didn’t connect with the teams as well.

“Even though I wasn’t getting a scholarship here, I knew I would like the team better, so I would have a more fun time.”

 

 

 

“You love this sport, you want to continue it, so why not continue it at Hamline”

“We like the fact that you like the idea of the sport, now we want you to be attached to the team”

“People will 9 times out of 10 stay in the team if they like the team they are with”

Recruiting trips – host for an evening, get a feel of what the team is like.

Torgrimson did that on her recruiting trip, stayed with a member of the swim team “Because she was able to talk so much about Hamline, it was definitely very appealing for me. I could see I could do so many things but also be connected to the sport I love.”

‘18 graduate Elizabeth Gregorio

“You look at the program, but you also look at the people. The people I met here were the best of all the colleges I went to. They were super nice”

Toured 4 other colleges, including a few D2 colleges that would have offered scholarships. “But I didn’t because of the social aspect. I didn’t like the team.”

“You kind of pay attention to the cliqueness of the team, how well do they get along. And most of the time the teams didn’t seem to have the right aura, for a better way to put it, that made me say I don’t want to be part of this team.”

Came to visit Hamline three times, meet with the team twice. 

Also stayed in touch with coaches before and after any visits. 

Never felt pressured to choose hamline. “It was always ‘this is your choice, and if we’re not the right choice for you, go for what would make you happy” which was very satisfying to me because it felt like there was less pressure.”

Talking to people on the swim team who shared her major also helped her see her path academically and athletically that helped her decide on Hamline. 

“Even though I wasn’t getting a scholarship here, I knew I would like the team better so I would have a more fun time.”

Alex Torgrimson, a psychology major, returning member of the swim team, Competitive swimmer for over 11 years. Senior. 

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