December 1st, 2009
I figured I would start the month off with a post about transferring if you are a kicker or punter. Over the years, I have had students want to transfer after their first year at their college or later in their career for a variety of reasons.
First off, you need to consider a few things before you dive into your coaches office and ask for your ‘release’.
Normally at the NCAA division one level you have to sit out a year in order to play for your new team. Even at the division two level you have to have a full year of residency to play, if you transfer from DII to DII. Even if you transfer up in division you have to sit out a year and if you transfer down you do not have to sit out a year. There are some basics for you to remember.
I always tell my kickers/punters that want to transfer look at the following 3 – A’s:
1) Academics – How are you doing academically? If you have poor grades, dont even think about transferring. Its becoming harder every year and now with this economy schools are getting harder to get into. If you have good grades it still may be tough depending on what school you are looking at.
2) Atmosphere – How are the coaches treating you? Of course if you are reading this article you must think you are the official waterboy of team, and the coaches must hate you or dont think you exist. But you might want to wait till you have the end of the season talk with the special teams coach, he might be postive and want you to compete heavily in the spring. Ask the coach – If he is planning on bringing anyone in? Are they planning on using a scholarship for a specialist. I would suggest if you have not played and are trying to find your spot on the team, ask him his advice. What would the coach recommend. If he doesn’t give you a straight answer then you might want to think things over.
3) Attitude — It might be time for a reality check and look yourself in the mirror. How far are you really kicking your kickoffs? Hang times on punts? Any type of transferring means a whole new coaching staff, new school, new classmates and teamates and you will have to garner a hard working attidude to win them over to earn a starting field goal or punting position. If you think you can handle those circumstance then you might find yourself kicking in games a year later.
Ocassionally, I do suggest junior college. If you are currently a freshman and did not like your expirece at your current school for whatever reason I would go back to a JC either in January or the next fall. At the junior college you can develop with out all the pressures of a big school and maybe get your AA degree and find yourself with a scholarship if you perform really well a year later.
Now with all this said what do you do? Again start with a face to face meeting with you position coach before you leave for Winter Break. Find out the answers to the questions I posted earlier: Are they bringing anyone else in? Where do you see me fit on this team? Ask for his advice, what should you do? If you get a negative vibe then I would talk it over with family and friends and decide what is best for you future. If you do decide to tranfer you will need to seek a “release” from the school either as a walk-on or scholarship player. Be careful once you ask for “release” there is usally no going back. The coaches on that staff will use your spot on the team for someone else in a heart beat.
If you are going to be 5th year senior, the coaches will make a decision if they want to bring you back. Usually if you doing well they will bring you back but if you have not played (or not in their plans as a starting kicker/punter) and have an opportunity for graduate school I would look into some other options. But again it depends on your grades and test scores just like it was in High School.
Also check with a academic counselor to see if you are on pace to graduate, do you have the necessary classes for you major and can they be tranferrable, every school is different with their transfer units.
Remember you can not contact other schools to see if they would be interested in your kicking skills. Not until you get your “release”, I would suggest do not have your mom or dad call either. If you want to see if you can get interest I can act as a third party represensative and make a few phone calls for you. Its a tough call when you want to transfer and you dont even know if another school would be interested in you. If you are a kickoff specialist or a punter you chances increase! Most of the time you will need the football program of the perspective college to endorse you as a transfer student. And you may not know that until you talk to them.
Transferring is a difficult process on all ends, academically and athletically. Every situation is different, most of the time if there is someone ahead of you it will all pan out if you continue to work hard and make progress. Every coach wants to improve their kickoff coverage and net punting stats, and if you are making progress they will notice. Just remember when you get in the real world, companies do the same thing, just don’t quit your job!