Planning to play after high school

Straight Shooters

May 11, 2008

Straight Shooters answers your youth lacrosse questions with the help of US Lacrosse experts. This week's "Straight Shooter" is Matt Zash. Zash was a two-time All-America midfielder at Duke, graduating in 2006. He plays professional lacrosse for Major League Lacrosse's Philadelphia Barrage and the National Lacrosse League's New York Titans. Zash was a member of the 2003 United States under-19 men's world championship team and played for Team USA in the 2007 Indoor World Lacrosse Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He owns and operates the Lax Hut, a chain of lacrosse retail stores.

Q: I have a question for when I become a senior: Can you receive a scholarship in lacrosse? And if you can, how do you get recruiters to see if you are qualified to receive one?

Aaron Barragan, 16, Temecula, Calif.

A: One of the main growth factors for lacrosse is the number of educational opportunities available through scholarships and aid. The number of scholarships varies depending on the division, conference and program. If you want to play any sport at the Division I or II level, you must satisfy a certain educational standard and get approved by the NCAA clearinghouse (www.ncaa clearinghouse.net).

In Division I, each team is allowed to offer a maximum of 12.69 full athletic scholarships. In Division II, it's 10.8. However, lacrosse is considered an "equivalency sport." Unlike football and basketball, one scholarship can be shared among players. Not all programs are "fully funded" and pay out the maximum number of scholarships. Division III and Ivy League schools are not permitted to grant athletic scholarships.

The best way to get recognized by college coaches is to go to a summer recruiting camp. Many of these camps have Web sites and list the coaches who will be attending. If you can't make it to a particular camp, send the coaches a letter and let them know you're interested in playing for their school. If there is a school you would really like to attend, go to that coach's camp. My last recommendation is to join or try out for a select tournament team. Many college coaches travel to tournament events to watch these elite teams play.

If you can't get in front of a certain coach, it never hurts to write. Once contact is established, you might be asked to fill out a questionnaire (SAT? ACT? GPA?) and send in a highlight tape.

College recruiting is starting earlier and earlier as the talent pool grows. I would consult your high school or club lacrosse coach to give you some guidance and facilitate the process. By the time you're a senior (or even a junior), many Division I universities will have finalized their recruiting group for your graduating class.

Straight Shooters runs every Sunday in The Sun and on www.baltimoresun.com. E-mail your youth lacrosse questions to sports@baltsun.com and include a phone number for e-mail verification. The series can also be found on Lacrosse Magazine's Web site at laxmagazine.com. US Lacrosse, headquartered in Baltimore, is the national governing body of men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more about playing, coaching and officiating lacrosse at www.uslacrosse.org.

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