A Father’s Report on Sports Recruiting Firms
My name is Thomas and I have a son named Ryan who just graduated from High School, he is 6’ 6” tall, 215 lbs. and a great basketball player who comes from a long family line of players, 2 played Division I ball including myself and his uncle still holds over 20 records at a Division III school. Ryan had a 3.5 grade point average and a 26 ACT. While these were all good stats, we realized he had not fully filled out yet and were not sure what level of ball he would be able to play, so we began exploring the different Sports Recruiting firms and were more than a little surprised at what we found.
The first one we contacted was NCSA, the largest of the firms. From the initial phone call I absolutely felt like I was stuck in an auto dealership because of the way they handled the process. My first phone call I left a voicemail. After 3 days, I left another voicemail. 2 days later, I get a phone call from “scout” who asks me very basic questions, but I notice right away that whatever I say he is immediately saying “that’s great”, “wow”, and “really, that’s just what we are looking for”. Over and over, I swear it was a very insincere cheerleading rah rah patter. Finally, he says Ryan is perfect and he is sure that he can find him a scholarship, but he needs to have his basketball guy talk to me. He pins me down to a specific time three days later that this other person will call me. I ask a few detail questions and this scout can’t or won’t answer them and I realize he is the “hype man”, this guy is only agreeing with anything I say and constantly refers anything detail oriented to the basketball guy calling us in three days. Sure enough, three days later the basketball guy calls, and he is the “Slick Willy” auto salesman type. He has the tombstone information that the “scout” took, but knows nothing else about our conversation, obviously the scout just gave him the “lead” and he is supposed to close me. He does ask for a highlight film, but then tells me that based on Ryan’s stats and his GPA and test scores, they will have “tons of colleges” that will be after him. Over and over, he continues to try to get me to give my credit card number, and when I tell him don’t you need to see the tape, he says sure, but he knows basketball and is completely sure that Ryan will be offered multiple scholarships. Then he makes the mistake of using a referral that NCSA uses on their website, Brian Bulaga from the Green Bay Packers who supposedly said “It all started with NCSA”. This was a mistake because I know how to contact Brian and I did. When I asked him about the quote, he laughed. You see, Brian was a 4 star recruit ranked by Rivals.com and had offers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and many other Division I schools before finally signing with the University of Iowa. He had a stellar career there and was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. NCSA did absolutely nothing for him because they did not need to. After learning this, I called the NCSA people and simply told them that I was not interested in working with them, ever.
Next on my list was Athlete Recruiting Services, who advertised that “Coaches only offer scholarships to athletes they are familiar with and they don’t have time to search the web looking for you”. I agreed with that, however, ARS only offers a free website that anyone can put their information on with no screening, meaning no coach would really go there because they have no filter capability. Then I discovered that the reason the site was free to athletes is because the owner makes his money by selling banner ads and pop-ups to companies to advertise there. I knew immediately that no coach would ever go to that site to look for recruits if they had to sit through all that annoying advertising. Goodbye ARS.
Third was National Scouting Report. They looked promising at first, what a mistake. They stated they did evaluations on the recruits to see where they would be most likely to go. When I checked out how and who did the evaluations, I was shocked. You simply put in your tombstone information and then a brief description of what you have accomplished, and that is how they did the evaluation. They did not ask for any film. How can you ever do an evaluation on an athlete you have not seen! And worst of all, their State Director for Wisconsin where we are from, was a guy who has only been a small time sports writer for some Podunk newspapers and now has a sports column dedicated to fantasy football. That’s pro football, not college. I knew immediately that these guys were completely unqualified.
Fourth was College Athletic Recruiting Services. I checked their website out first and quickly dismissed them. All of their stats were out of date, and when I went to the column for when your recruit would graduate, it started with the year 2000. That is 14 years ago; you can’t tell me they are on top of things when they have not updated anything, ever.
Fifth was Athletic Quest, they sold their entire services online. You never talk to anyone; you just buy their webinar packages that will supposedly tell you everything you need to get recruited. Total Crap.
Sixth was BeRecruited. First of all, they actually advertise on their website that they currently have 211,414 basketball players in their database. Please show me the coach who has the time to sort through all of those to find their recruits. The funniest part was with all of these recruits, their website listed these 5 schools as their top signers: 1. Eduard Waters College, 2 Morton College, 3 Norwich University, 4 Pine Manor College, and number 5, Community College of Allegheny County – Boyce Campus. This is their Colleges that they are trying to impress me with? BeRecruited offers anyone to put up a profile with no evaluations or contact, and then they advertise they have “the largest database” of recruits. Totally unworkable and unusable.
Next was Sport Contact USA, they looked encouraging at first, they said they would have each recruit evaluated in a one on one phone call, although they still did not ask for film. But then I checked further on their website, they did not have a single employee listed as an evaluator, in fact, the only employee listed on the entire website was the owner who did not have any real sports qualifications. I don’t think he is qualified to evaluate my son.
Finally, there is Athletes For College. The website was basic but functional. What impressed me most though was the list of evaluators, all with great credentials and excellent bios, obviously they are qualified to evaluate my son. Next, the free basic service was like everyone else’s, but the fact that AFC only signed a recruit to the Premium Pay service AFTER they were evaluated and the results were discussed with the parents and recruit to make sure that all of the expectations would be realistic made a huge impact with me. The fact that AFC was more of a smaller “boutique” type of firm also encouraged me because I knew they weren’t just spamming coaches with tons of people, but were sending quality pre-screened recruits would be taken more seriously by the coaches. The 95% stat that Premium members would receive a scholarship or financial offer and if they didn’t get one they would have their money refunded was the final icing on the cake.
So where did Ryan end up? Athletes for College, and no he did not take a scholarship for college, he and I have joined AFC to help all of his friends and the many other kids out there who are looking to play ball somewhere and have some or all of their college expenses paid for. I did the research on all of the major Recruiting firms, and this is my personal experience, but everything I have written here is available for anyone to see. I hope when it comes time for you and your son or daughter to make a choice, you seriously look at what I have found, and you make Athletes for College your choice.