Because of the growth of the Internet over the past fifteen years, a variety of businesses have opened that are made easier because of the Internet. One area that has had a lot of growth because of this is paid scouting services. These are the types of scouting services that advertise to get your name out to college coaches and help you earn a scholarship. With a price tag from $500 to thousands of dollars, are these really worth that hefty amount?
Here are some of the things that a few of these scouting services offer: “We promote each athlete to every college in the country offering the athlete’s sport. We do not pick and choose colleges in order to cut costs and we do not leave anyone out. Consequently 100% of our prospects get widespread exposure and recognition.” Here is also another one: “For the past 25 years, we have dedicated our efforts toward providing thousands of prospects, parents and college coaches with state – of – the – art products and unparalleled services. And, you will agree that our results speak for themselves.”
These were two random scouting services that I found on the Internet and I have no positive or negative feelings about either. Obviously when promoting a product, they will shoot for the stars and really be positive about their product. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all. I do the same at this site and other sites that I run. It is just a way to help stay productive over time in what you do when trying to earn money.
But will sending your information to every single college in the country really help you with the recruiting process? Will these coaches take your name off of a list and consider you a serious recruit? If all of these coaches take you as a serious recruit and really start showing you attention, then it would be worth the thousands of dollars. But in the back of my mind, that is definitely something I have to question.
I recently emailed with a family who worked extremely hard to help their son eventually receive a Division II basketball scholarship. They have been the most aggressive parents that I have seen in the past tens years and it really has paid off with their son getting a free ride. Here is what they thought when I asked about if they considered using a recruiting service:
“We were approached by a couple after Ben’s junior year. They were kind of expensive ($1000 and up depending on what services they provided). We found we were already doing the same things they would do—profiles, contact coaches, follow up, game film , etc. It wouldn’t have paid for us to utilize these services, but for parents who really don’t enjoy or have the time to do the legwork, it could be an attractive option.”
I really take that quote to heart because I saw first hand these parents video taping their son at games, AAU events, and anything to help put together a better highlight tape for their son. However, that is not for everyone. It really just depends on what type of situation you are in and also if you have the technical knowledge to put together an extensive profile, cut video, and send it to coaches over the Internet in a timely manner.
Going back to the question at hand, if you are the athlete, there is little change that you can afford a scouting service to help you. So it will probably be up to your parents to fit the bill and that is not an easy feat for the majority of families out there. What I would recommend is research as many of these as you can. I personally think the ones that approach you or your child in person might be a little shady. Yes, that is their job, but I would personally rather find one myself that has been recommended to me. Talk to as many people as you know who have been through the process before and find out as much information as possible. It never hurts to ask, especially if you plan to lay down a few thousand dollars.
As with the quote above, if you don’t have the time or knowledge to do this for one of your children, then look more into the scouting services. Two quick notes that need to be said before I end this article. The first is that if your son or daughter is not a legit player, you are wasting your money. I promise it is a huge waste of time and money if they are not 100% committed to playing college athletics and love the sport that they are looking into. Your son or daughter may also love the game but they also must be good at and good enough to play at the next level. I would have a talk with their high school coach and see what he says about what level your son or daughter can play at. A lot of these scouting services make money off of kids who cannot play.
And the second, and probably most important, is that signing up and paying thousands of dollars does not mean that your child will be getting a scholarship. It means that the program that you signed up for will do what they can, but they are also doing the same for other clients in the same situation. If you are a parent with the ability to promote your child, there is a good chance that he or she is your number one priority in recruiting. Things like work and other family responsibilities may come up but they are your focus. A company does not have that loyalty to you. They will do what they can to help, but like I said, they are doing to however many athletes they have signed up. And for them, the more athletes, the bigger the pay check.
My final advice is if you have the time, skills, and ability to do it yourself, then do it. You can even use this site as a resource to help you through this confusing time. If you are not comfortable doing that, put a lot of time into research, talk to other college athletes, and those in the know that can give you some help as to which direction you may want to go in picking a scouting service. It really depends on the situation.
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