Due to NCAA rules the provider of this information has to remain anonymous. This information was provided by a good friend of mine who coached at numerous D1 programs. A few years back he took over a D3 program as the head coach. He waskind enough to share his observations after coaching at two different levels.
“There are some similarities between D1 and D3 recruiting but there are also some stark differences. For scholarship level players, the recruiting process often begins early in a player’s career. Many D1 prospects are being recruited in 9th or 10th grade, where the recruitment at the D3 level often does not start in earnest until the spring/summer prior to 11th or 12th grade. Secondly, D1 schools often have 3-4 scholarships to give in any given year on average. Subsequently, the pool of prospects they are recruiting is smaller. The focus is on building relationships early, often with a select few while still being open to adding new prospects to the recruiting list. At the D3 level, most programs start with a much larger list of recruits. Often recruiting prospects who have garnered interest from a D1 or D2 schools (but do not have actual scholarship offers) in addition to players who have received strictly D3 interest. Another difference is that most D1 programs are often able to get commitments early because the early signing period is in November. Once the Letter of Intent (LOI) is signed, the commitment is binding with few exceptions. At the D3 level, most commitments come later in the high school season, or after the high school season as prospects hold out for possible scholarship offers. There is no LOI or binding commitment at the D3 level. In other words, a player can give a verbal commitment to one school and then choose to go somewhere else. D3 coaches may sit on “pins and needles” hoping that a prospect they have recruited all year commits and that their word is their bond! My advice to prospects is to understand who is truly recruiting you. Receiving mail is great, but if you are not receiving phone calls/text messages from the coaching staff to include the head coach, you are not a high priority. If a D1 school does not make an actual scholarship “offer”, then you are not a priority. This is important to understand. Visits are nice, but offers are gold. The cost of education has skyrocketed and everyone wants to find a way to have their education paid for. However, if you are being recruited at any or all levels, choose the place that is the best fit for you! Four years is a long time to stay in one place and not be happy. Make the right choice from the beginning so you are not constantly fighting the “itch” to transfer. For example, we had a young man who committed to us in February of his senior year. He called in May to tell us that he received a full scholarship to a D2 school. We were heartbroken, but it is part of life as a D3 coach. Fast forward to December of his Freshman year at his D2 school. He had been red shirted and was unhappy at the D2 school. With the coaches blessing, he decided to transfer to us and will begin school here in the Fall. The comment he made that always stands out is he stated “his heart” was always with us. Bottom line, go where your heart is!”