How Much Does Recruiting Cost?
Every parent who wants to help their child play at the next level will be investing a lot of time and money in that goal. 99% of parents don’t have the experience or knowledge on how to allocate those scarce resources (time & money) to maximize the recruiting opportunities for their child. They compound that inexperience or lack of knowledge by relying on information from non-experts. Non-experts on recruiting include HS coaches, friends and relatives who may have had a successful recruiting experience, or hear-say. As lawyer friend told me, “a person who represents himself in court, has a fool for a client.” A college decision for your youngster will impact them for the next 50-60 years. Should a parent leave that process in the hands of amateurs? I guess it depends on how serious a parent is about finding the right academic and athletic fit for their child.
So let’s get to the point: How much time and money needs to be spent on a child’s recruiting?
Let’s start with some assumptions based on facts. First, unless your child is the bluest of the blue chips, they will not be discovered by college coaches. There will be over 75,000 high school student athletes graduating this year who will be on college rosters next school year. Less than 7,000 of them will fall into the “Blue Chip” category. The other 68,000 student athletes will have engaged in a lot of effort to make recruiting happen for them. The sad reality is that 1/3 to 1/2 of those students will make a wrong choice because they had to settle for what was available. How does a parent avoid this for their child? They MUST invest in the recruiting process.
You’ve read on these pages the things you need to know:
1. When Does Recruiting Start?
The recruiting process starts as soon as the freshmen year!
Myth: The heavy recruiting process begins junior or senior year in high school.
Reality: Academic performance/requirements count from Day One of freshmen year. College coaches can begin sending letters to potential recruits as early as freshmen year, and potential recruits can write, call, and visit college coaches at any time. Bottom line – recruiting starts freshmen year! Start early! Freshmen year is not too soon to get Evaluated. Remember everything that you do academically in high school will be evaluated by a college.
2. Where Do Coaches Recruit?
Coaches won’t Discover You, make Yourself Known!
Myth: Colleges coaches discover talent by attending camps, combines, showcases, tournaments, and high school games.
Reality: College coaches depend on verified information from trusted sources to find talent. Most coaches attend tournaments, games and camps with a set list of student athletes they intend to evaluate, not with the hopes of discovering prospects. Unless you’re a “top-1%-in-the-nation” athlete, you will most likely not be “discovered” by a college coach. You need to be pro-active in getting your name, academic scores and athletic achievements in front of coaches. Take advantage of credible sources to get your name in front of college coaches!
3. How Do Coaches Evaluate?
College coaches do their homework… online.
Myth: College coaches evaluate talent by attending high school games and watching video sent from students and families.
Reality: College coaches do a majority of their initial evaluation by looking at video – requested or received from credible sources – often delivered online or via e-mail. After watching video, a coach may decide to have a member of his or her staff make an in-person evaluation. Make sure to have your highlight video online in a format that can be easily distributed to college coaches. Your video must make it easy for coaches to identify you and your play.
4. Where Can I Play?
Be realistic: Less than 1% get a DI full ride!
Myth: NCAA Division I is the only viable option for collegiate athletics
Reality: There are over 1,700 U.S. colleges and universities that sponsor collegiate athletics and are able to offer financial packages. More than 85% of those opportunities fall outside of DI. Have clear expectations of the college programs you qualify for based on athletic and academic performance, whether that’s DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, or NJCAA. (And, yes, DIII schools provide financial packages, too!) Great schools exist at all levels. Expand your horizons and increase your odds. The more schools in your pool, the better your chances.
5. Who Is Responsible?
Your coach cannot get you a scholarship!
Myth: Many student athletes believe their high school or club coaches are responsible for their recruiting process and getting them scholarships.
Reality: Student athletes and their families are ultimately responsible for the recruiting process. Period. High school and club coaches can evaluate, assist, and serve as credible references, but they cannot get student athletes scholarships. Meet with your coaches and gain a clear understanding of who will be responsible for every aspect of your recruiting process. Take ownership of your effort. Show as much desire in the recruiting process as you do in your sport!
Now find out the five things you must do to get recruited and the 5 things you must do:
Five Things You Must Do
Get Recruited: The 5 Things You Must Do
Now that you understand more about how the recruiting game is played, it’s time to put that knowledge to use with these five key action steps.
1. Get Evaluated
2. Post Your Academic/Athletic Resume Online
3. Create A Winning Highlight/Skills Video
4. Contact 100 Coaches Minimum
5. Start Building Relationships And Following Up With College Coaches Now
But no one has written about specific costs. Regardless of the sport your child plays, they will need to participate in events outside of their high school team in order to get placed on a college coaches’ radar. Depending on the sport, those are club, travel, elite, premier, AAU, or other teams. These clubs spring up and die all of the time so make sure your travel team is participating in the right tournaments. If your child is a Volleyball player, they’ll need to attend camps and combines to improve their skills. From the time a kid is in 6th grade until they graduate, a parent can expect to pay $3,000 to $5,000 per year on club fees, travel, lessons, personal trainers, etc. If you aren’t doing that, you’ll have a severe competitive disadvantage with families who are doing that.
The frustrating thing for parents is that all of that investment will not get a kid looks by college coaches. A travel coach will promote her/his team by saying s/he participates in all of the right tournaments and that 100’s of college coaches will be in attendance. While the college coaches will be in attendance, they come with a list of specific players to evaluate in person. They do not attend with the idea of discovering players. So, in addition to all of the funds parents have spent on the above activities, they still NEED to market their child. Marketing costs break down this way:
Professional, Verified Website for College Coaches $250-$500
Professional Highlight/Skills Video with Hosting (depends on #) $400-$4000
Postage Costs for mailing out packets $250-$2500
Guidance and Coaching $250-$2000
Financial Aid Guidance $2000- $10,000
Time Spent Researching Coaches, etc . . . @ $7/hour for 200+ hours $1400-$2100
Most parents don’t have the time to devote to all of these activities. If they separate these activities among different vendors, they run the risk of not using an expert. For example, how many video companies use music to enhance the video? How much are you paying for that feature? Now, how many college coaches have the volume turned on when they’re watching the video? ZERO. Then what parent has the expertise to lay out a comprehensive marketing plan for their child? What parent can transfer ownership of the process to their child? As a parent who has been through this, the hardest thing some parents can do is to encourage their child to do the work necessary. Where does that empowerment come from? It comes from an expert’s knowledge.
Parents who truly want the best for their kids and want to help their kids achieve their dreams, must be willing to invest the TIME and MONEY to make that happen. Only in the rarest of cases, will a parent hit the lottery with a gifted, hard-working student-athlete who will get discovered and recruited by her/his dream school college coach. In all other cases, parents should not rely on “LUCK”. As a wise man once said, luck is the residue of clearly defined goals and hard work.