Are Recruiting Services Worth It?
College recruiting services are BIG business! There are 8 million high school athletes in the United States and most would love to play a sport in college. In addition, the NCAA is now allowing student-athletes to profit from their own brand/name, making college athletic recruiting even more competitive. Recruiting services can cost anywhere from $200 to $6,000, depending on where you look and how much help is included.
Most recruiting companies offer some or all of these services: Educational guidance, highlight video creation and college coach exposure. All three are vital to the recruiting process. Is it necessary, however, to pay for these services in order to be successfully recruited? Let’s first consider the NCAA rules that dictate what a recruiting service can and cannot do.
NCAA Rules & Recruiting Services:
What are recruiting/scouting services permitted to send to NCAA coaches about high school student-athletes?
~ Some recruiting/scouting services may distribute personal information to institutions without jeopardizing the prospective student athlete’s eligibility. This includes high school academics, athletic records or physical statistics. However, any fee paid to an agent or service is not based on placing the prospective student-athlete in a collegiate institution, as a recipient of institutional financial aid.
*It is not permissible for a recruiting/scouting service or employees of such services to act as an intermediary between a prospective student-athlete and an NCAA institution (e.g., assist in arranging recruiting contacts, relaying information other than personal information).
[Reference: NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206 (talent evaluation services and agents)]
May a recruiting/scouting service call NCAA coaches to give them information on prospective student-athletes?
~ It is not permissible for NCAA coaches to receive oral information from recruiting/scouting services. Coaches may only receive information from published or video services.
[References: Bylaw 220.127.116.11 and official interpretation (12/16/87, Item No. 9)]
Does a recruiting/scouting service have to charge a prospective student- athlete to use its service?
~ No, provided the recruiting/scouting service is made available to all individuals free of charge.
[Reference: Bylaw 18.104.22.168.6 (preferential treatment)]
NCAA Recruiting Guidelines: https://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/future/recruiting
Free recruiting information is available on many different sites and most have a very similar message (which confirms their accuracy). Search what you are looking for and you will find it, for instance, “how to build a target list of schools.” You may find that one site is more helpful than others, bookmark that site and visit it when you have additional questions. Club and high school coaches may also offer recruiting guidance. Ask for help!
As an aspiring college athlete, you should have an updated highlight film created about once every 3-4 months. This is because you are growing so much throughout your training. Depending on your sport, a highlight video is either very important (volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey) or not as important as your stats / PR’s (swimming, track & field, golf, tennis). If it’s important in your sport, learn how to edit your own film! This will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars by not having to pay someone else to edit it for you. If you need help, ask an older teammate or a coach that may have experience.
College Coach Exposure
Exposure a very important part of the recruiting process, whether in person or on video. The more you have, the more opportunities you may find. You can gain exposure in several different ways, such as inviting coaches to your games (via email), attending camps / combines, or by making your recruiting information available on the internet by creating free recruiting profiles where available. Coaches will likely want to see you play in person multiple times before offering you a spot on their team. Invite them to your games and afterwards, reach back out for feedback!
In conclusion, when you pay for a recruiting service, you are paying for recruiting education, video creation and college coach exposure. That sounds great, but these are all things that you can do yourself, as mentioned in this article. If you aren’t a self motivator, however, and would benefit from more “hand holding” and email reminders, then paying for a service could be beneficial. Note that either way . . . YOU, the student-athlete, will be the one identifying and building recruiting relationships.
Elite College Recruit iOS App: