Recruiting Horror Story: When Parents Overstep

Recruiting Horror Story: When Parents Overstep Recruiting Horror Story: When Parents Overstep

Come back every Tuesday for Recruiting Horror Stories™, athletes’ first-hand stories on what can go wrong during the recruiting process.

As a high school senior recruit, Layla was just starting to get scholarship offers to play rugby in college. Naturally, she was excited and eager to learn more about the rugby programs she was considering. Her mom, Alisa, was eager too–her head filled with questions she wanted to ask Layla’s potential future coach. What came next, however, was not exactly what either of them had planned.

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As they were driving one day, Layla and her mom, Alisa, began discussing her recent offer to play rugby at one of the top programs in the country. Alisa had some concerns, or at least questions she wanted clarified. So she decided to call up the head coach of the program. What followed? A couple rings…click…voicemail.

That’s strange, Alisa thought. Maybe we lost connection…guess I’ll try again. So she redialed, called and was met with the same ring…. click…voicemail. At this point Alisa started to get irritated, but Layla did not think much of it. That was until Layla checked her phone….

A couple minutes after her mom’s failed calls, Layla looked down at her phone to find two text messages from the coach her mom was just trying to get in contact with. The messages read: “Tell your mom she can’t call me… you’re an adult now so you must learn to handle conversations without your parents.”

Related: Parents Know Best? College Recruiting Advice From Parents to Parents

Layla read the message to Alisa, who instantly became furious. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t speak with the coach herself.  After all, it was her that had questions, not Layla.

Damage Control

Layla ended up speaking with the coach herself and made sure to clarify her mom’s questions. And Alisa did end up speaking with the coach as well…eventually. She communicated openly how upset she was when she was told she couldn’t contact the coach herself.

The coach explained to Alisa the policy she enforces within her rugby program. In an effort to help her players gain independence and achieve personal growth, she requires them to act as adults. When an athlete goes away to school their parents aren’t there to coddle them anymore and they have to learn to thrive on their own. While it can be challenging at first, it is imperative in assuring that they can become successful, mature individuals after graduation.

Related: 2 Green Lights and 2 Red Lights For Parents in the Recruiting Process

A Happy Ending

Alisa and the coach worked it out, coming to a new and better understanding of one another. Layla did end up attending that program, and both her and Alisa were content with the decision.

As it turns out, this coach is far from the only one with this policy. As a rule of thumb, it’s important for all prospective college athletes to remember: you are the one being recruited, not your parents. Coaches want to get to know YOU, the one that will be a part of their program for four years.

College athletics are very different from high school athletics. And while your parents can still be a big part of your life in college, they will be less involved than before. It’s a simple fact of life, something we all go through in the process of growing up.

And although it all worked out for Layla, overactive parents have been known to be a deciding factor in whether or not a scholarship offer is pulled.

Is your mom or dad close to pulling an Alisa? If so…it might be time to tell them to chill.

Have a horror story of your own? Email us at [email protected]

* Originally published on January 31, 2023, by Rebecca Haight

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