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How Prospects Should Handle Saying No to a School

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With recruiting season in full swing, we offered 11 coaches the opportunity to openly and anonymously share their thoughts on how recruits should handle telling a program no.

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows when it comes to being a highly coveted college wrestling recruit. Yes, the feeling of being wanted, the free trips, meals and tickets to athletic events are perks, but the often overlooked downfall is informing coaches that their institution is not your top choice.

With recruiting season in full swing, we offered 11 coaches the opportunity to openly and anonymously share their thoughts on how recruits should handle telling a program no. 

The overwhelming answer was simple: “Pick up the phone and call someone on the coaching staff.” They also suggested straying away from text messages or emails.

One coach who recommended picking up the phone said: “Don’t small talk. Instead, say “Hey, coach, I really appreciate all the time and energy you put into recruiting me, and I’m looking forward to watching your program grow, but I have decided that University X is a better fit for me.”

These calls shouldn’t take more than a minute. They should be short, sweet and not waste anyone’s time.

Multiple coaches also agreed the worst way to learn about a recruit's commitment was on social media.

“It’s completely acceptable for you to release your commitment on social media or a given media outlet, but make sure you hold off until you've contacted at least one coach on the staff,” one coach shared. “We’ve all been in your shoes and realize how tough these decisions are. Calling before you release it on social media shows signs of maturity, courtesy, and respect, and that’s all we’re asking for.”

Another valuable suggestion was to remember that “honesty is key.” If you have no intentions of learning more about an institution, just be upfront and truthful.

“There’s no need to lie,” one coach said. “Certain schools may not be for everyone, so please don’t lead us on. Thank us for our time and we can both move on.”

One other intriguing point that a coach brought up was the recent updated NCAA transfer rules. “Coaching staffs previously looked at you not committing as a ‘never,’ he said. “With the recent transfer rule updates, that prior ‘never’ is now being looked at as a ‘not now.’”  

So for all you recruits out there who are faced with the difficult task of selecting only one institution, all it takes is a quick call. Lastly, remember “a burnt bridge can never be crossed again.”

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