The Super Senior Year

Contributor Rick Paine is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). AAC is a Swimswam Partner. 

This past year the NCAA decided to grant every student-athlete an extra year of eligibility due to covid restrictions. While this sounded like a good idea at the time, they did not consider how the extra year was going to be funded.

Seniors who receive an extra year of eligibility will be scholarshipped by schools using 5th year aid. This does not count against the scholarship limitations, but only schools with large budgets can afford this.

We recently surveyed D-I and D-II coaches asking how they are going to handle scholarships for underclassmen who want to take the extra year of eligibility. We received nearly a 50% response rate.

The dilemma they face is deciding if they are going to keep a current swimmer on scholarship an extra year or use the money to recruit a new swimmer.

“Do you scholarship a conference finalist for an extra year or use the money to sign a recruit who might be able to be a conference finalist for 4 years.”

Most of the upper level D-I programs tell me they are going to reduce their roster size and not take as many walk-ons who have potential to develop.

How will this affect recruits?

  • The competition for scholarships just greatly increased
  • The need to sell their potential became even more important
  • Much fewer roster spots available

How will this affect college swimming?

  • Talent will be spread out
  • Swimmers who were going to walk-on at an upper level school will have to look at other options
  • Top programs can no longer hoard talent
  • Schools outside of the top 30 will greatly benefit as they will have a chance at faster swimmers.
  • Swimmers will have a much better chance of making a travel team, being able to contribute to a team sooner and have a better chance at scholarships.
  • Swimmers will benefit from being coached by a head coach rather than assistant coaches who tend to bounce from team to team. There are many assistant coaches who are outstanding and who stay with the same program.
  • There are a lot of great coaches whose team are not always in the top 30

ACC Recruiting is a SwimSwam ad partner. Go here and learn more about ACC and their team of college recruiting experts. 

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2 months ago

Good article with some decent info for potential collegiate swimmers. A “nearly 50% response rate” probably isn’t a great sample size, and with the article being written by a person who runs a recruiting service and the points that were given, I feel they might be self-serving.

What if the concept of NIL were included-which in theory should help Olympic sports more than a 1-for-1 basketball player or a football player that is a sure fire pick after 3 years?

And even without that, I think Texas will still be Texas, Cal will still be Cal, and so on. Especially on the men’s side where scholarships were so limited to begin with. At big-time schools, athletes are a “number”… Read more »

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  Swimmy
2 months ago

I do not think nobody really knows what is going to happen as it is shown that some swimmers will swim even without any scholarships on some teams, there so many other scholarships to offer than sport ones etc…. As usual we try this and then we see what happens…..

Reply to  Samuli Hirsi
2 months ago

Exactly. And many swimmers do continue their careers with little to no scholarship money on the line. For a person who runs a recruiting service to produce this article and make it sound like the #30 (and lower) ranked program is going to rake in top-flight talent and suddenly finish at NCAAs significantly higher is unfair to kids.

All schools are in the same boat with scholarships right now, in all sports. Kids in the class of 2021, 2022, and potentially beyond are at an unfair advance of earning a spot (let along scholarship money) on just about and collegiate athletic team due to the pandemic and the arguably fair opportunity and at additional year of competition for the… Read more »

Rick Paine
Reply to  Swimmy
2 months ago

Swimmy, This info came directly from the college coaches.

Reply to  Rick Paine
2 months ago

Understood. And per the article it came from under 50% of coaches contacted in D1 and DII. Leaving out DIII, NAIA, and NJCAA I would imagine that far less than 50% of “the college coaches” provided input. The information in the editorial is valid based on the results, but it’s not accurate for swimmers (or any athlete in 2022) looking to continue their career after high school due to too many unknowns. And with a blurb at both the tip and bottom of the article linking to ACC, I think any of my previous posts are fair.

Last edited 2 months ago by Swimmy