EC Blog by: Cameron Crenwelge
The AQHA Youth World Show is an event that presents an extremely limited number of opportunities to step into the arena, while also serving as one of the largest determinants of NCEA recruitment for many riders. In that light, I’ve spoken with Texas A&M Head Coach, Tana McKay, to navigate through the tricky dos and don’ts of NCEA recruitment.
DO contact coaches- You can email, text, or call coaches at any reasonable time. Feel free to send in your riding resume, recruitment video, and highlights of your career.
DON’T expect coaches to contact you- Unless it is after September 1st of your junior year. Coaches aren’t allowed, per NCAA rules, to initiate contact with prospective recruits during their sophomore of freshman years. That means coaches can’t respond to texts, email you back, or return your missed phone calls. However, that doesn’t mean that coaches can’t answer the phone if you call them.
DO attend camps- Many NCEA teams host camps during the summer. Attending these camps gives potential recruits a chance to ride in front of a coach, spend time at a school, and get a good feel for the overall vibe of a program.
DON’T expect to have any discussion about recruitment- Unless it is after September 1st of your junior year. Per NCAA rules, coaches aren’t allowed to engage in recruiting conversations during an institutional camp or clinic.
DO smile and be friendly- Potential recruits are allowed to smile, wave, and say hello to coaches at competitions, such as the AQHA Youth World Show
DON’T expect a drawn out conversation- Coaches aren’t allowed to have face-to-face contact off-campus with recruits until July 1st of their senior year. Even then, coaches can only have conversations after the recruit has finished showing in their last class. That means if you or your family walk up to a coach and expect to have a conversation, the only response they can give is to tell you the rules.
DO visit- It’s okay to travel to a school that you’re looking to attend and spend some time in the city, meet friends, and attend a campus tour. However, this travel can not be financed by the team you’re looking at joining. It must be out-of-pocket, as if you were any other student touring a prospective university.
DON’T expect an unofficial visit. Due to a recently implemented NCAA rule, unofficial visits are not permitted by potential student athletes until they have reached September 1st of their junior year. After this date, potential student-athletes are allowed to go on an official visit, when invited by a coach.
DO watch the AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge. 16 collegiate equestrian riders have been selected to compete in the Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge at the AQHA Youth World.
The student-athletes representing the National Collegiate Equestrian Association are:
The riders representing the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association are:
DON’T miss it! The Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge preliminaries will take place on August 6th and the finals will take place on August 7th. This event will give prospective collegiate riders the opportunity to see a glimpse of what NCEA competition is like, because they will be riding horses donated by AQHA Professional Horsemen and competing in a typical NCEA-style Horsemanship pattern.
Follow these dos and don’ts while at the AQHA Youth World Show, or any competition this summer, and you’ll be well on your way towards getting your foot in the door of the college, and equestrian team, of your dreams.