CHAPTER 14 MARKETING THE STUDENT-ATHLETE: THE FIVE THINGS YOU MUST DO
CHRIS KRAUSE High School Edition
C H A P T E R 14
MARKETING the STUDENT-ATHLETE: The five things you must do If this all seems like a tremendous amount of work and effort, remember the game of college recruiting has five layers: 1. The objective, third-party evaluation. 2. The student-athlete’s résumé posted online. 3. A winning highlight, game, or skills video. 4. Contact with coaches from one hundred to two hundred college programs. 5. Education, maintenance, and tracking. THE OBJECTIVE, THIRD-PARTY EVALUATION The first critical step is to assess the most likely level of competition for which an athlete is best suited both academically and athletically. With over eighteen hundred colleges offering opportunities in sports, narrowing the focus to realistic options makes sense. The goal-setting process can
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THE HOW TO GUIDE DURING HIGH SCHOOL
be aided if the parent and student-athlete solicit an objective third-party evaluation early in the game. If the student and parents are aware of the critical measurables ( GPA, ACT, SAT, as well as height, weight, speed, and statistical benchmarks) for an athlete’s individual sport, they can begin the search with some level of confidence. The parent’s time, the student’s time, or the coach’s time will not be wasted if the search is limited to those schools the athlete has a realistic likelihood of attending. To obtain an honest evaluation, a student-athlete can schedule time to talk to his high school coach, a former college coach, or established scouting service with a demonstrated history of results. Depending on the service, the charge for this kind of evaluation generally ranges from $50 to $200. RÉSUMÉ POSTED ONLINE Years ago, the one-page paper résumé or profile was used. Today, the use of technology has simplified the process. The personal website has become the best way for an athlete to showcase abilities because it is easy to update and keep current. A live website can also house academic statistics like report cards and transcripts along with a verified ACT or SAT score. Another key feature of the student-athlete website is its ability to help the studentathlete keep college coaches updated with progress on and off the field. The coach can easily access information and conduct its own assessment of a student-athlete’s likelihood of playing for his program. The cost of this usually includes the software, hosting fee, and web administrator’s time creating the site. A standard website can cost as little as $300 or as much as $1,500, depending on how many videos are hosted and how many features the site offers. A WINNING HIGHLIGHT, GAME, OR SKILLS VIDEO The highlight, game, or skills video is the third layer of recruiting, as discussed in Chapter 8. The highlight, game, and skills videos (which are
generally DVDs or streaming videos as opposed to VHS tapes) make it simple for coaches to verify what is on the student-athlete’s website and determine if the student-athlete has the athletic ability and skill-set to compete for that college coach. Depending on an athlete’s sport, the highlight, game, or skills video can make the difference between a student-athlete’s ability to stay on the coach’s recruiting list or not. A highlight, game, or skills video can be enhanced, digitalized, sequenced, and spot-shadowed, and then downloaded and hosted online. It can even be integrated onto a student-athlete’s website as streaming video. A quality highlight, game, or skills video can cost anywhere from $400 to $4,000 to put together, depending on the athlete’s resources. The cost of digital cameras, editing equipment, computer programs, hosting fees, and time are some of the items that will determine the overall price tag for a student-athlete’s video. COMMUNICATION WITH ONE HUNDRED TO TWO HUNDRED PROGRAMS Distribution and marketing is the most critical step of the recruiting process. Connecting with coaches (Chapter 5) drastically helps a student increase his chances of winning a college spot. An athlete should not limit his efforts to just one coach if the staff at a specific school consists of ten coaches. Who knows which coach the student-athlete might impress, or which one is responsible for the student’s region? The athlete should load his gun with as many bullets as possible. Following is a sample contact list for initiating communications with college coaches. This list represents just one set of coaches from one college (the University of Southern California’s 2008-2009 coaching staff).
Title Head Coach Tight Ends/Recruit. Coord. Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Running Backs Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coord. Linebackers Offensive Line Asst. Head Coach/Off. Coord./QBs Secondary Defensive Line Secondary Graduate Assistant Quarterbacks Graduate Assistant Director of Football Operations Assistant Director of Football Operations Recruiting and Operations Assistant Video Assistant Administrative Advisor Offensive Administrative Assistant Defensive Graduate Assistant Director of Online Media Executive Assistant to Head Coach Admin. Asst. to Football Coaches Receptionist
Name Pete Carroll Brennan Carroll Nick Holt Todd McNair John Morton Ken Norton Jr. Pat Ruel Steve Sarkisian Rocky Seto David Watson Kris Richard Yogi Roth Dennis Slutak Jared Blank Justin Mesa Sam Anno Terrel Ray Albert Dorsey Pete Dalis Ben Malcolmson Morgon Fraser Joyce Hirayama Irene Puentes
Extension x4190 x4185 x4182 x4189 x8131 x4180 x4183 x4192 x8790 x4188 821-3026 x1310 x4198 x7780 821-6596 x4181 x1982 821-3020 x4204 x4204 x4191 x4176 x4204
USC’s Football Coaching Staff, 2008-2009 Email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
THE HOW TO GUIDE DURING HIGH SCHOOL
Just one program might require twenty-five individual letters, emails, or phone calls because a student-athlete might not know which coach or assistant holds the key to getting the athlete on the recruiting list. Note that some colleges do not post their coaching directories on the Internet. An athlete might have to call some schools to request contact information. A student-athlete can purchase email addresses or do the homework. Either way, count on about fifteen to thirty minutes per college program for the initial research and letter campaign.
Coachâ€™s Tip Before sending emails to twenty-five coaches and administrators, an athlete might want to call, make an introduction, and ask for the name of the person to whom the athlete should forward information in order to be evaluated to compete for the program.
If eight hundred colleges offer a student-athleteâ€™s sport, and the athlete is good enough to compete for any of these schools, the student must contact at least two hundred (25 percent) to receive the responses necessary to move forward. Our studies show that using this method should yield a 10 percent return, which will give a student twenty programs to consider. An athlete who receives fewer responses should contact more college coaches. EDUCATION, MAINTENANCE, AND TRACKING The final critical step in the plan is that the student-athlete follows up with coaches, builds relationships, continues learning about the recruiting process, and tracks progress.
THE HOW TO GUIDE DURING HIGH SCHOOL
SAMPLE Correspondence LogÂ Correspondence Date 1/28/2008 Daniel Webster College Phone Email Level of Interest
Email Paul LaBarre, Mgr Send video Next Step Priority Indicator Likely Email Response Type Type Coach
Notes: Sent him an email introducing myself and referring him to my scouting report. He wants to view game day tape as soon as available. Correspondence Date 1/28/2008 Finlandia College Phone joe.burcar@ Email finlandia.edu Interested Level of Interest
Type Coach Next Step Priority Indicator
Email Joe Burcar Send video Backup
Notes: Sent him an email introducing myself and referring him to my scouting report. He wants to view game day tape as soon as available. Said it is very likely I would be offered a scholarship.
Correspondence Date College Phone Email Level of Interest Notes: Emailed to
1/28/2008 Hamilton College
Email Type Phil Grady Coach Call Next Step firstname.lastname@example.org Priority Indicator Likely Interested None Response Type introduce myself. Did not hear back.
Correspondence Date 1/28/2008 University of College Nebraska Phone
Call to introduce myself Email Priority Indicator Reach Very high None Level of Interest Response Type Notes: Filled out online recruiting form. Call next week to introduce myself and make sure they received. Next Step
While researching colleges and connecting with coaches, students should log their efforts and follow up with coaches to update them on information, ask questions, and build relationships. An athlete’s initial goal should be that the coach knows and remembers the student’s name. The more an athlete can communicate with the coach, the more opportunities for building a relationship. A student-athlete should spend on average fifteen to thirty minutes following up with each program. The faster the athlete can find those programs willing to look at a highlight or skills video, the faster the athlete will move through the recruiting process. In total, this step will cost one hundred to two hundred hours in addition to the cost of mailing DVDs. This is why some families find a reliable recruiting service, which can save them time and offer a huge return on investment. Remember that a student-athlete will delete colleges from the Initial Target List just like colleges delete athletes who do not meet their needs. An athlete must cast a wide enough net to end up with five offers. Don’t skimp and be forced to play catch up in the fourth quarter! This is not a four-year decision but a forty-year decision!
THE HOW TO GUIDE DURING HIGH SCHOOL
Key Points The game of college recruiting can generally be broken into five steps: 1.
Every student-athlete needs an objective third-party evaluation to determine “best fit” qualifications for various college programs. A knowledgeable third party helps set realistic expectations about programs, competition levels, and academic fit, helping the athlete target one hundred to two hundred realistic prospects.
Every student-athlete needs a résumé posted online. The days of delivering paper résumés are over. Coaches now view websites that contain all the athletic and academic information needed to recruit a prospect. This allows coaches the ability to see more athletes, more efficiently.
Every student-athlete needs a winning highlight, game, or skills video that best conveys athletic ability. Videos are typically streamed online and sent through email. A student-athlete should not send dozens of unsolicited DVDs to college coaches. Unless the video has been requested or is sent from a credible third party, coaches will likely never receive it, much less watch it!
Every student-athlete must contact college coaches from at least one hundred to two hundred college programs. Receiving a few emails or letters from college coaches does not constitute serious recruitment. College coaches contact thousands of student-athletes so that they have enough options to fill their needs. Student-athletes should play the same game, contacting one hundred to two hundred college coaches. About 10 percent will show serious interest, giving the athlete about ten to twenty programs to actively consider.
Every student-athlete needs a step-by-step plan to successfully navigate through the recruiting process. Doing it right takes hard work, perseverance, and a consolidated team effort among the student-athlete, parents, coaches, guidance counselors, and credible inside recruiting experts.
The last step alone will take one hundred to two hundred hours, which is why many families turn to reliable recruiting services to handle the bulk of the work.