Understanding our survey methodology

Though there are many cogs in the women's college basketball recruiting machinery, the ones that ultimately matter the most are the players and the coaches. We talk to the players all the time about their hopes, backstories and preferences. But we don't hear from the college coaches very often, mainly because they are barred from commenting on players until they sign national letters of intent and much of what they do is highly proprietary.

Because the picture is so incomplete without the coaches, who build teams by recruiting and signing players, ESPN HoopGurlz conducted a discussion with a representative sample on what we determined to be eight important topics in the sport. We will unveil a summary of those discussions twice a week between now and the start of the critical summer evaluation period in July.

We chose a sample of more than 20 coaches, broken down by geography, level and size of school (BCS, mid-major, etc.), pecking order on a coaching staff (head, assistant, recruiting coordinator), experience, gender and race. Members of the ESPN HoopGurlz staff presented eight primary questions but conducted the survey as a discussion, allowing for give and take and follow-up questions.

To ensure an honest discussion, we promised that, though we will quote and summarize what was said, we would not identify the sources of the comments. We will attempt to use general identifiers such as geography, gender and school size, when pertinent.

Our eight topics included:

  • Setting aside needs, current or future rosters or recruiting classes, what would be your ideal recruit -- the type of player you'd love to have but is extremely difficult to find?

  • If one aspect of every recruit could be guaranteed a "sure thing," would you rather it be physical attributes (size, athleticism, etc.), skill set (shooting, ballhandling, etc.) or intangibles (leadership, discipline, etc.)?

  • What is the ideal roster size (do you always extend all 15 scholarships?), and generally how does your program break that roster down by position?

  • How much do you consider race in recruiting?

  • Should a prospect's sexual preference be a factor in her recruitment?

  • Are you in favor of the proposed ban on early offers?

  • What is the best club program (or club coach) in the country and why?

  • If you could change one thing in the recruiting process today, what would it be and why?

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