A Look Into the Class of 2017 Commitments
One of the biggest days of a youth athlete’s career is that day they get to sign a National Letter of Intent or letter of intent. All that hard work, dedication, and commitment finally pays off.
There’s a similar feeling of joy for youth program directors as well. You spend all season creating reels, reaching out to contacts at universities, and analyzing tape of your athletes and now the fruits of your labor are paying off.
Regardless if a youth athlete in your program goes pro or not, the importance of playing college athletics at any level is understated. According to the NCAA, the likelihood of an NCAA athlete earning a college degree is significantly greater than non-athletes. Graduation success rates are 86% in Division I, 71% in Division II and 87% in Division III.
To put it frankly, sending your athletes to college is not just great for your sports program in terms of member retention and boosting registration. It’s also helping young men and women receive a higher education.
In honor of National Signing Day, we’ve compiled a list of graphs, charts, and infographics to examine the class of 2017, according to a survey sent out to LeagueApps partners and other sports programs.
Important Dates to Remember
Since early November, athletes participating in most sports have been eligible to sign an National Letter of Intent, or NLI. See the below chart (Fig. 1) that is directly taken from NationalLetterofIntent.org. You can review the chart here, or click on the image below.
Throughout the year, many of our partners and other youth sports programs celebrate their athletes that commit through social media. Channels like Instagram, twitter, and Facebook are great tools to spread the word easily about your athletes’, and your, successes.
Probability of Competing in College Athletics
Considering the small amount of players that compete at the college level, everyone should take a part in celebrating an athlete’s signing of a National Letter of Intent or commitment to advance.
Approximately 8 million athletes participate in organized sports at the high school level. Of those, some 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes. And just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.
The below tables (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3, respectively) show how many high school and NCAA athletes compete in each sport along with an estimate of the percentage of high school athletes going on to compete in the NCAA.
The tables were pulled directly from NCAA research which you can find here. Or click on the images below to expand.
It’s important to note that the high school figures account only for participants on high school teams and not those competing exclusively on club teams. This means the true pre-college to NCAA percentages could be lower in some sports, such as ice hockey or tennis. Data for several sports (e.g., rowing, skiing, gymnastics) are not shown due to the low number of high school programs in those sports relative to non-scholastic pre-college participation opportunities.
A Survey of The Class of 2017
We sent out a survey to dozens of our partners and other sports organizers around the country. In it, we asked the youth sports industry leaders to compile a list of how many athletes in their respective programs signed letters of intent and at what level their classes of 2017 will compete it.
This is a shout out to all of our partners and sports organizers everywhere that work tirelessly for their communities. Through their hard work and dedication, they continue to deliver great experiences that will last further at the college level.
We’d like to send a special thank you to our partners All-In Athletics, Lousiana Knights, Edge Lacrosse (Canada), C2C Lacrosse, Team Elevate, and Carolina Union for their participation in this poll and all the organizers in those programs that had a part in helping several student athletes continue to play at the next level.
Below is a compiled list (Fig. 4) of those programs in order, starting with All-In Athletics, from top to bottom, along with the total number of their athletes from the class of 2017 that have committed to the next level.
These numbers are from January 26th, so it is possible, that more athletes from these programs have committed to the next level. Click on the image below to expand.
It must also be noted that the programs that qualified as active partners must have been so on January 26th, 2017.
A big thank you also goes out to several programs that answered our survey. We’d like to thank Canada Elite, Warrior Hoops, Three Brothers Basketball, Mighty Hawks, NJ Gators, Valley Storm, Texas Glory Fast Pitch and Capital City United for their participation, as well as the enthusiasm of their staffs in getting several youth athletes committed to the next level.
These numbers are from January 26th, so it is possible, as in the case with Texas Glory Fastpitch, that more athletes from these programs have committed to the next level. Click on the image below to expand.
A total of 131 athletes will compete at the next level from our partners’ club teams, 81 of which are male. (Note- Edge Lacrosse will begin female club teams in 2017, in addition to their current training programs.) Of the 131 athletes, 91 will compete at the Division I level of the NCAA starting in 2017.
The below pie chart (Fig. 6) shows the breakdown of the committed NCAA level, by percentage, of those 131 athletes.
Approximately 53% (27 of 51 total athletes) of all commitments from the non-partner (as of January 26th, 2017) organizations surveyed will play at the Division I level.
The average number of total athletes in Division I is roughly 34%.
Getting your athletes to college is no small task. Signing Day is a time to celebrate all your hard work, regardless of whatever sport you lead and organize.
Many thanks to all the programs above that took the time to fill out our survey. Feel free to share all this juicy NLI and Signing Day material on your favorite social channel!