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Walk On vs. PWO

Discussion in 'University of Colorado Recruiting Archive' started by AlferdJasper, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    A fine young man has asked this question:

    What's the difference between a PWO and a walk-on?

    I started to give the answer as I believed it to be, but thought it would be good to get more feedback from the board.

    This is from Buffnik's recruitapedia:

    Preferred Walk On (PWO): A recruited player that is enrolling at the college and is guaranteed a roster spot but does not have a scholarship offer. Coaches may invite them to join the team to help on the practice squad or special teams in football. Often a PWO is verbally given a contingent scholarship offer. If the player works his way up into the regular playing rotation, he may be awarded a scholarship. Coaches may also award a scholarship during the last year of eligibility to a walk-on who has been with the team for several seasons and if the team has scholarships available.
    I get the NCAA stuff, mostly, between scholly kids and walkons,
    but from anyone's experience:

    what's the difference between a PWO and a kid who shows up and walks on? Do they have more/less access to facilities, training, time on the field?
     
  2. Bill Cody

    Bill Cody Well-Known Member

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    There really is no difference between the two in how they are treated IMO.

    Nik’s description is accurate in how someone attains a PWO position and how they are guaranteed a roster spot within the NCAA roster limit (120??). That said, if that kid can’t play, he might be asked to not return after a year or two. Many programs, but specifically the Big Dogs, are not in a position to take what many would consider to be a “normal” walk on, because they do not have the room on the roster. They are already filled out with the 85 scholly limit, and the rest of the spots filled with guys that were brought in a PWO’s and are continuing to battle for a spot…attractive programs generally do not have an issue filling out the roster with PWO’s.

    If you are a regular walk on, it is generally when a team has room on their roster, and they decide to hold a tryout for anyone (students already enrolled in school) who thinks they can play. If the coach (often the S&C coach) doing the assessment of these guys in the tryout decides that there might be something there, they give the guy a try. If he gets a shot on the field, he will be treated the same as any other PWO once on the roster. Tryouts, if they occur, generally happen in the first few weeks following fall camp or in the spring….and they are a B****!!! (pretty funny to watch actually)
     
  3. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    I am not sure of the exact numbers but the NCAA also has some regulations regarding the number of players who can participate in off-season and pre-season team activities. Generally speaking a PWO is guaranteed the opportunity to participate in all allowed team activities throughout the year. Regular walk-ons may be required due to numbers to wait until a certain point in the pre-season before being allowed to participate meaning that they miss out on significant drills, film work, et. in preparing for the season.

    I am certain that somebody here can correct me but it seems that this number of allowed participants is around 105 meaning that players beyond this number are at a severe disadavantage in terms of having a chance to be a part of the team in a real way.

    Since coaching and practice time is limited teams will often make non-PWOs go through a try-out process keeping only enough guys to help fill scout teams and facilitate practices. A PWO can generally assume that he will not have to deal with this process.
     
  4. Darian3Hagan

    Darian3Hagan '89 Player of the Year Club Member

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    A side note all players that played under the last coaching staff were POWs.
     
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  5. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Roster limit is 105 except for during the season when there isn't a limit. Rosters expansion is, I believe, a week after classes start in the fall semester.
     
  6. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    this is how a walk on made the team in 96.

    day one - you show up and run non-stop sprints for one hour. Literally back and forth on the field. Guys dropped left and right here
    day two - if you didn't quit on day one, you show up and run non-stop sprints for one hour. back and forth on the field. If you didn't drop out the day before, you have a good chance about dropping out here
    day three - if you didn't quit the first or second day, you are invited back to show the coaches what you can do and you better impress because you don't have a lot of chances.

    The coaches do it this way to week out people who aren't fit enough to play/practice and who aren't motivated enough to do anything they can to make the team. I'm guess a PWO doesn't have to go through this song and dance.
     
  7. INTHABUFF

    INTHABUFF Club Member Club Member

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    My recollection is:

    A PWO is one of the 20-30 kids that teams can take to make it to the 105 player limit for participation in spring and fall camp. Most of these are kids who were asked to walk on and work for a scholarship and some are regular walk-on kids who have earned the chance to go through spring and fall camp after having stuck as a walk-on the previous fall

    A true walk on for the most part are kids who are told by coaches they can come and compete (through a process similar to what Tante describes) for a spot on the team after classes start (There may be an actual date but I don't recall what it is). Usually these are kids that camped or sent tape and made contact with a coach but aren't considered worthy of one of the 105 spots. At this level it would very rarely just be someone off the street. If we kept one it was usually a kicker, a receiver or a QB (We ran a spread offense and there were lots of practice reps at those spots even during the season)

    Love the site!
     
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  8. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    There is only one difference, and this comes from my first hand experience with my own kid and myself who was a PWO (aka invited walkon).

    A walk-on of any type is on the team, but lacks an athletic scholarship.

    A "preferred" or "invited" walkon was assured (not contractually) that they would have a spot on the team for a year. In other words, the coach discussed this with them and asked them to come spend a season with the team.

    Why does this matter?

    Real example: Division-2 scholarship in hand, but wants to play D1. D1 Coach recruits her and tells her to walk-on. The invite is for PWO, which means she will not be cut and she has a spot on the team. This is a big deal because she wants assurance that if she walks away from a D2 scholly, she has a full season to develop and prove herself. She gets there in August, and 9 other kids try to walk-on. They are all cut in 2 days. She develops and gets put on scholarship her last 2 years.

    That 1 year guarantee is the difference. Anyone remember the RB here we called the Plumber (Mell Holliday). He was a Nebraska kid who tried to walk-on at NU the year Callahan took over? He went to NU and Callahan told him no thanks and he never got the tryout. He lost a full year of eligibility and then had to sit out another year when he came to CU.

    http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle....G=C&DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=175526&Q_SEASON=2006

    The odds of surviving long without an invite is pretty slim usually. If anyone wants to try that route at CU, they should be advised that they may only get a few days of looks (and those looks may be very limited) and then if they are cut, they need to be happy to be an ordinary student. If they really want to play, and the coach isn't on board, they should strongly consider a program where the coach is willing to extend that 1 season invite.

    Lastly, I attended a D1A school on an academic scholarship, and my only offers to play out of High School were Juco. My HS coach directed me to take the academic scholly and he would talk to the coach (he had played there and he greased it with the Head Coach that I was coming out). The coach knew my name and some background, but had never seen me play. On the first day of practice, he cut 42 of the 46 players who were there to walkon. I'm sure many of those kids didn't feel like they had a fair chance.

    Bottom line is that a PWO has a chance of opening eyes. It is very hard to do that if you are not invited.
     
  9. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    This kid has some smaller school/partial offers, and is comparing those to what appears to be a PWO invite at CU. He is torn. He felt the previous staff had him in line for an offer, and he didn't do a lot with other schools, thinking his decision was made. It all fell apart.

    I'm restricting my "advice" to repeating what he might expect as a PWO, because I think there is too much at stake for him to make a decision based on anything I would say. I'm not encouraging him either way.

    Scenario one: he gets a year at a D1 school as invited walk-on, which he pays for, and experiences whatever that would be like, for better or worse. And if it doesn't pan out, the smaller school scholly is probably off the table in another year.
    Scenario two: If he goes to the smaller school and accepts a scholly, he'll always wonder what could have been if he went to his dream school and took out loans.

    Most likely, if he chooses the larger school, he will pay for 4-5 years himself. A PWO might get a "reward" scholly as a senior, if one is available, but also might not. There is nothing to indicate this player is going to dominate as a freshman.

    I told him the tried and true advice: choose the school you want to be at four years if you could NOT play football. We'll see.

    Thanks everyone for chiming in and welcome INTHABUFF to the board.
     
  10. zbuff

    zbuff Club Member Club Member

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    If you were in a position to give this kid advice, surely you advised him not to count on the former staff being around, if he couldn't see that plainly enough himself. Hoping for a scholarship offer is one thing, but anything this important requires careful thought and planning, and especially in this case for a borderline scholarship athlete. Anyway, good advice going forward, tempered by what he can afford or qualify for in other grants or scholarships, and the quality of the degree he can get. After all, his future is a lot more than the next 4 or 5 years.
     
  11. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Someone asked this week what the difference was between PWO and regular walkon since he thought he'd been offered or would be offered a PWO.

    I haven't been advising him or anyone else, but the advice would be the same: commit to the school, not the coaches. But that's easy to say when it's a player choosing between two or more scholarship offers. It gets complicated when he has to decide between a pretty-good but paid-for education, or a really good education that you'll be taking loans for. He's not going to get a Div. 1 scholarship at this point (not this year anyway). It will be costly to walk-on, but he wanted to know the difference between an invited walkon and any other kid on campus who shows up and wants to play.

    McCulloch is a an example of a kid who impressed the last staff at a summer camp, but if we didn't still have a technical intern who remembered him, wouldn't be a Buff. This kid believed that his camp performance also impressed, but there's nobody left who remembers him. He's got a tough decision, IYAM. But I'm not his advisor, mentor, or otherwise involved, other than being asked to describe the difference between types of walk-ons.
     
  12. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    It would probably also be in the kids interest to take a close look at what his role and chances would be at the school offering a PWO. Look at the past history and talk with some kids who are in the same situation at the school already.

    It would be a bit harder for a kid looking at CU this year because the staff doesn't have much recent college level history to go on but a look back to when JE was in the college game before and how he is dealing with his PWOs currently would be worth the effort.

    Some schools have a solid history of treating PWOs well and giving them a fair shot at earning playing time and schollies based on merit. Others treat them like camp fodder and have a poor record of giving them a decent shot. A goood question to ask is also how much non-financial support will a guy recieve, is he treated like a member of the team or is he treated like a wannabe outsider, the full range exist out there.

    It is a tough question to answer. Some kids do get overlooked by the process who really can play or who can develop into players but most of the time if a kid isn't recruited there is something there that is likely to prevent him from being a highly successful player at the D1 level. If his dream is to play at that level then it is hard to give up that dream, especially knowing that some guys do make it the PWO route. On the other hand he is giving up the financial assistance that the D2 school is offering and the likelyhood of having a real chance to play and contribute while having the coaches focus on him.
     

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