In recruiting, it’s not uncommon for a coach to tell you what you want to hear. There are also some less-than-reputable recruiting services that will also tell you what you want to hear. And while the coach wants you to attend his or her school and compete for their program, the shady recruiting companies simply want to scam you or your parents out of money.
Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who take advantage of recruits and their parents and their lack of knowledge and understanding of the recruiting process. Because recruiting is such a big deal to kids, and parents who want the best for their children, there is plenty of room for con-men and sham companies to bilk money out of anxious families. So, to make sure you or your family avoids recruiting scammers, read up on these tips that can help you identify the good companies from the bad actors.
Know What You’re Getting
For CaptainU and other legitimate recruiting companies, basic, informational listings are free and it’s the coaches and colleges that pay for access to your information. Depending on the company and the services offered, some recruits may opt to pay for some extra bells and whistles, consultation, and advice. However, it should cost you nothing to be included in a firm’s database and or recruit listings for most recruiting companies and scouting services.
The companies to watch out for the ones that start by charging you to be listed in their database or, for an added price, promise to put you in front of “key coaches.” This is where shady companies can take advantage of recruits or parents who don’t fully grasp how the recruiting process works. In fact, in most cases, generating exposure is up to the recruit and it’s absolutely free.
Want to be exposed to a particular coach? Simply send that coach an email with links to your online recruiting profile and highlight reel, express why you want to attend that school and why you’d be a good fit for that program and don’t give up if your first two or three emails go unanswered. Or, attend camps or clinics at the schools you’re interested in, email the coach in advance to let them know you’ll be there, and introduce yourself during the camp. Or simply ask your high school or club coach if they can introduce you to a coach or coaches. Anything you can do yourself to get on a coach’s recruiting radar is “exposure” and you, or your parents, should never pay an individual or service to do what you can do yourself for free.
Finally, never pay to be considered eligible or to be registered with the NCAA. While every potential recruit has to register with the NCAA, doing so is free and eligibility will hinge on meeting minimum entrance exam scores, GPAs, and completion of core courses. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can buy your way into being eligible.
Don’t Let Emotion Into The Equation
Another angle that scammers will take is to play into every recruit’s concern that they’re being overlooked. And for a small fee, those shady companies will promise to get a kid’s profile and highlight reel in front of coaches who’ve been searching high and low for your unique skill set. Again, it’s an easy hook to swallow for recruits who desperately want a scholarship and parents who want the best for their kids.
There are kids who are overlooked by recruiters every year for various reasons, but in today’s information age, any high school recruit who wants to compete at the next level likely won’t be a secret. That said, if you’re aiming to play football at Alabama but don’t have elite skills, the hard truth is that yes, you might be “overlooked.” But if you have an understanding of your own abilities and the schools and programs where you might fit best, it’s easy, and free, to raise your profile so you won’t be overlooked.
Remember that for college coaches, recruiting is a business. Emotion doesn’t enter into it. From a recruit’s standpoint, don’t make any decisions based on emotion, especially if someone wants money for a fuzzy promise to make all your dreams come true. It doesn’t work that way. Figure out the schools where you’ll fit best, athletically and academically, put in the work to get yourself recruited, and don’t spend a dime to try to change or control the things that aren’t part of that process.
Avoid The Middleman
Another popular recruiting scam is to tell recruits and or their parents, for a fee, you’ll be introduced to a coach that’s waiting to offer you a scholarship. Never, ever, fall for it.
In reality, no coach would ever make a scholarship offer through a third party or middle man. Besides being a violation of NCAA regulations, no coach in his or her right mind would offer a scholarship to a student-athlete they’d never met. That’s because, by offering you a scholarship, college coaches are investing in you. To make sure that a recruit is a safe investment, they’ll want to know that you can cut it at the college level, athletically and academically. They’ll also want to get to know you and your parents to make sure your personality will fit with the team.
Finally, if a coach wants to offer you a scholarship or simply wants to know more about you, they’ll do so through the contact information you provide, not through a third-party. So always make sure you have correct and current phone numbers and email addresses in your online profile, emails to coaches, and in your highlight reel.
The recruiting process is stressful and confusing for every student-athlete, and it’s only natural that you want to get ahead. But you don’t need to pay big money to make your dream come true. Instead, put in the effort to raise your profile, keep emotion out of it, and deal only with the coaches. In other words, get ahead without getting scammed!