Get In The Game: Top 10 Recruiting Trends

May 20, 2015

Recruiting top talent for university athletic programs is a very competitive game. But are you following the right trends or simply following the biggest spenders. DI has worked with many outstanding university athletic programs and have put together our own list of top 10 recruiting trends.

RECRUITING TREND #1:The next 1-4 years are the only ones that matter.

We are in an era of “one and done”. Even schools with a powerful history are recognizing that just because it’s a tradition doesn’t mean it’s a good tradition. Athletes care about what they care about, not always what you care about.

RECRUITING TREND #2:Recruits expect the Ritz.

Thankfully 99% of these kids haven’t stayed at the Ritz, so they don’t know the difference between a hand-rubbed mahogany finish and a faux mahogany high-pressure plastic laminate. Meeting their champagne tastes can actually be done on a Gatorade budget.

RECRUITING TREND #3:Community inclusion begins well before a recruit lands at the airport.

Creating a sense of family and getting a feel for personality matches begins well before the first touchdown. The best recruiting experiences uses the digital age to encourage recruits to connect with fans, boosters, and school supporters before they set foot on campus.

RECRUITING TREND #4:Small schools can act big too.

If budgets don’t allow for an end-to-end grand experience, smaller schools can now get in the game by focusing dollars on creating just a few “wow” moments that have major impact.

RECRUITING TREND #5:Flexibility isn’t just for athletes.

To get the most from spaces, schools are using customizable technology platforms that allow content to change on an as needed basis.

RECRUITING TREND #6:Recruiting has gone retail.

The best universities are using the same tactics as high-end retailers to create an experience that is more like entertainment and shopping rather than a “campus tour.” Examples include barbershops, equipment showcases, gaming lounges and juice bars.

RECRUITING TREND #7:Every step they take. Every move they make.

The best recruiting experiences are customized for every athlete, which means every place the recruit goes needs to matter to him or her.

RECRUITING TREND #8:Matchmaking 101- give each recruit a hand-picked advisor.

Knowing they have someone they can trust, to guide and inform them on educational choices, campus & social life, as well as learning to be an adult can have some powerful sway.


Having (the right) celebrities as friends of the program can be a huge boost in recruiting if handled with the right approach.

RECRUITING TREND #10:Customized living… that fits.

Having a dedicated residence hall is great. Having one that fits the needs, wants, and statures of an athlete are imperative. All with the tech-friendly gadgets that we’ve come to expect.