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Can Recruitment's Image Be Saved After Admissions Scandal?

18 Sep, 2019

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Partnering with Online Recruitment Platforms Can Help Event Owners Add Value to Athletes

When USA Cheer noted in a recent article in Sports Destination Management that it had formed a relationship with college recruiting software and resource company, CaptainU, naming it an official partner, it signified a growing trend among governing bodies and organizations. And if event owners are wise, they can harness the momentum in their own partnerships, and possibly use it to help shake recruitment of the distasteful repercussions from the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.

College recruiting and resource companies allow athletes to make free profiles, describing themselves (the sport they play – and any applicable position or skills, as well as their projected graduation year, academic profile and other information). Additionally, they are able to note if they will be participating in any combines, competitions, showcases or other events where coaches can see them.

Coaches are able to use the software to help identify athletes with an interest in their sports and to view video clips that showcase those athletes’ skills. They can also provide a cost-effective way of finding athletes – without incurring travel costs. (Coaches can also check with high schools to verify athletes’ claims).

But software is useful for event owners as well, particularly for events where youth teams are hoping to be identified by colleges. In this case, owners may want to identify companies that would exhibit at an expo or trade show associated with the event. Such companies may also want to participate as sponsors, with the payoff of being named the official college recruiting platform of the event.

However, because there are plenty of companies – in addition to CaptainU, the marketplace includes NCSA (Next College Student Athlete), beRecruited and others), it is imperative to make an informed decision – particularly if naming a company your official partner. The website DIYCollegeRankings recommends asking the following questions:

  • How many players have they placed in your sport and in which colleges? If the players seem to be going to a limited group or type of college, the athletes in your events better be interested in attending those colleges.
  • How will they evaluate the player’s abilities? How will the service identify appropriate colleges? Are they going to simply email your information to every college baseball program in the country? If they are going to target the schools, what criteria are they using for targeting? How many schools will be targeted? How do they know which colleges are looking for players in specific positions? Do they ever contact coaches on athletes’ behalf?
  • How are they going to get information from each athlete to send to the coach? How much video will they edit and where will it be accessible? Will athletes be able to download a copy for themselves or will the service control access?
  • Will the service create an athletic profile for each athlete? What information will it include?
  • In both the cases of the video and the profile, do they send it out or is the athlete responsible for sending it out?
  • Will the service help student athletes fill out the FAFSA for financial aid? Will they provide then with the estimated average net price for the targeted schools and the percentage of need met?
  • Who will students contact with questions? Can they call someone at the site? How often?
  • How often can student athletes update their information? If they have a web database, can the athletes edit it? Can they add their own video and pictures? Will the service send updates to the coaches does that responsibility rest with the athlete?

Already, other NGBs have formed alliances with recruitment software companies. US Youth Soccer, for example, names NCSA as its official partner.

With more competition for athletic scholarships – and fewer available than ever – expect parents to be eager to use every available resource to make contacts at the college level – and grateful to the event owners who can help them make any connection toward their goal, specifically connections proven to be legitimate. As sentencing continues in the Varsity Blues case that broke last March, recruitment will be under more scrutiny than ever.

It's already known that the competition to get into colleges (particularly through sports) is tough; however, the continuing news of the sordid details of officials at colleges who accepted money from Rick Singer’s so-called Key Foundation in order to designate children of wealthy parents as college athletic recruits has put a new emphasis on the difficulties experienced by average- and low-income high school student athletes. As a result, it may well be that recruitment software gains even more desirability, visibility and respect in the marketplace.

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