9/6/23 – CLEVELAND, OH
My name is Merryn Eaton, and I am currently an intern here at Top Lax Recruits. I play DII women’s lacrosse for Notre Dame College, which is located just outside of Cleveland, OH.
Let me start by saying this: The recruitment process can be a very stressful and challenging time for athletes and their families. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, with tons of high’s and low’s. However, it is a very exciting and rewarding time! Shake off these nerves and be EXCITED about the opportunity that is in front of you!
In this article, I’ll be sharing a few insights about the Division II recruiting process. I’ll also discuss how it differs from DI, what types of things DII institutions can offer athletes, as well as what my recruitment process was like.
It can be exciting to look at different colleges and campuses around the country and try to envision yourself on their team, suiting up on game day. Before doing anything, ask yourself this question: Am I ready to take on the commitment of playing Division II collegiate athletics? It sounds silly, but all levels of college lacrosse require a serious commitment. If you are truly passionate about the game, playing college lacrosse can be a very rewarding experience that is worthy of your energy and time.
The Division II recruiting process is similar to other divisions, but different at the same time. One major difference, from DI lacrosse at least, is that the recruiting rules are far more flexible. Here are some major DII recruiting rules, pulled straight from the NCSA College Recruiting website:
- College coaches can send any NON-RECRUITING materials to student-athletes at any given time. This can include, but isn’t limited to: NCAA camp materials, non-athletic recruiting publications, brochures, and questionnaires about their school.
- On JULY 15TH, after a student-athlete’s SOPHOMORE year, Division II coaches can begin sending printed recruiting materials.
- Beginning JUNE 15TH, after a student-athlete’s SOPHOMORE year, Division II coaches can begin calling athletes regarding recruitment.
- Starting JUNE 15TH, after a student-athlete’s SOPHOMORE year, off-campus contact is permitted between Division II coaches and players. Coaches are permitted to contact parents, as well.
- Unofficial visits are permitted at ANY time.
- Student athletes can begin scheduling OFFICIAL visits after JUNE 15TH. The student-athlete must have completed their sophomore year of high school prior to an official visit occurring.
The rules I have listed above are the main recruiting rules for Division II college lacrosse. As most of you know, commitments cannot be made for ANY level of collegiate lacrosse prior to September 1st of a student-athlete’s JUNIOR year.
Division I recruiting rules are more strict. Starting September 1st of an athletes JUNIOR year, coaches are allowed to make phone calls, send emails, schedule official and/or unofficial visits, conduct off-campus evaluations, and begin sending recruiting materials and verbal offers for scholarships. As you can see, Division I lacrosse coaches are held to more restrictive rules.
The major difference between Division I and Division II college lacrosse is the commitment level. With any sport at the Division I level, your sport becomes your life. It is a tough division to get into and compete in. You spend much of your time training, in the gym or on the field. Athletes do take classes and study, but not as much as they practice and train. Financial aid is based on needs determined by the financial aid offices at each institution.
Division II offers a more balanced approach to life and athletics. Don’t be fooled: Division II requires a lot of training and practice, but it is not as rigorous or intense as the year-round total commitment of a DI athlete. Additionally, athletes who choose to go DII are more likely to be rewarded with financial aid. However, DI can offer athletes more money and ‘full-ride’ scholarships, which is tough for DII coaches to do, strictly due to size and enrollment of their institutions.
My recruiting process was different than most, due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nation. I was first contacted by my assistant coach on September 2nd of my junior year. We communicated via email for some time. She came to some of my club lacrosse games at the President’s Cup in West Palm Beach, Florida. She reached out to me and I knew I was very interested in learning more about the school, the team, and the area. I committed to Notre Dame College in May of my junior year. Due to Covid, I was not allowed to visit prior to November.
I know. It’s crazy to think that you can commit to a school prior to an official visit, but that’s how sold I was on the program. I loved that I could be a student first and an athlete second, and that was ultimately why I committed to Notre Dame College. After visiting, I knew I had made the best decision for me and my future. I am just now starting my junior year, and I sometimes look back and reminisce on my recruitment process, and how different it could have been. Yet, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Every athlete’s recruiting process looks different, and that is okay. Don’t get discouraged. If you are passionate about the game and want to play at the next level, do everything in your power to find the school and division that best suits YOU. Be proactive. Reach out to coaches and programs that you are interested in. Train and workout so you are prepared for the collegiate game. You own your own recruiting process. Make the most out of it.