USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology-based recruiting software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisers provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
Most high school athletes (and their parents) don’t know how to approach the college recruiting process. That’s a fact and for that reason, they generally turn to the internet to find some help (like I did many years ago). Well, if you google “college recruiting assistance” or “athletic scholarships” you will find thousands of options. I haven’t counted, but I believe there are more recruiting services than there are colleges! Many promise college scholarships based on relationships, online profiles and/or networks. The question student-athletes and their parents need to ask is “how do I know who to trust and how much do I need to spend?”
The fact is that any qualified athlete can find a spot on a college roster without the assistance of a recruiting company, as long as they are willing to put in the work. That said, most people still want a little help.
In my opinion, there are two kinds of recruiting services, good ones and bad ones. It’s really that simple and there’s really not much in between. The good recruiting services offer great help at a reasonable price and the others just want your credit card number. This article will discuss the two kinds of recruiting services and the questions to ask before you sign up with one.
If you decide you want some recruiting help, there are individuals and companies with the best intentions and truly want to help. In my experience, those companies offer an advisory role in the process, help you organize and manage the process and don’t charge thousands of dollars. They are truly there to help and have the athlete’s best interests in mind. Obviously, the more help you want, the more the company might charge, but the companies that do it the right way generally offer a variety of options, don’t cross-sell, over-sell or distribute your personal information to affiliated companies.
Identifying the good recruiting companies is pretty easy. Trust your judgment. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you feel pressured, hang up the phone. If the price is not in your recruiting budget, find an alternative.
Let’s be honest, the recruiting service industry doesn’t have a pristine reputation. Many recruiting services try to convince well-meaning parents and naïve student-athletes that recruiting is something that it isn’t. The process seems overwhelming, so those companies try to capitalize on that by using high-pressure sales tactics and making promises based on little or no information. Ultimately, they oversell and under-deliver. This is the ugly side of the recruiting service industry. If you’re being pressured and the price isn’t front and center, then you better plan to spend a lot more than is really necessary.
Keep in mind that college coaches prefer to deal with the student-athlete, not a recruiting service that may or may not have seen you play. To a college coach, if you don’t participate in your recruiting process you may appear lazy, uninterested and entitled. If you are vested in the process, then you’re viewed as motivated, extremely interested and mature. Which one do you think will make a better impression? That said, if you aren’t going to make any effort on your own at all, then someone contacting college coaches on your behalf is better than no one contacting them at all.
Questions to ask before you sign up with any service
If you decide to use a service, do your homework, read the reviews and ask the right questions so you’ll understand exactly what you’re paying for. Here are 8 questions you should ask before you commit to any recruiting service.
- How much does your service cost?
- What does your service include?
- How involved will I be in the process?
- Will you provide my personal information to other companies?
- How will you evaluate my abilities?
- How will you identify the colleges to target?
- Do you only work with Division I caliber athletes?
- Will you contact colleges on my behalf and if so, how many?
These are all legitimate questions and if you can’t get straight answers, keep your wallet in your pocket and run for your life!
Here’s the deal
Let’s get one thing straight, this is your recruiting journey. You need to make the decision on whether or not to use a recruiting service. Remember, recruiting services aren’t miracle workers. They can’t make you jump higher, run faster or throw harder. They can offer advice and support, but they can’t fix four years of no effort in the classroom either. If you decide to do it yourself, learn about the process and be persistent. Either way, whether or not you play in college will most likely be determined by your effort on the field, in the classroom and in the recruiting process.