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Are paid scouting service worth the price in trying to help my son or daughter get an athletic scholarship?

Posted by | April 27, 2010 .

Are paid scouting service worth the price? Football Recruiting Basketball RecruitingBecause 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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22 Comments so far
  1. Dennis April 27, 2010

    Rec 101 – You advertise GoBigReccruiting service on your website. So it appears that you are endorsing GoBigRecruting. Is that correct? Do you endorse any other similar recruiting services? Thanks.

  2. Steve April 27, 2010

    Actually, my $0.02 would be that GoBigRecruiting is the WORST of the sites.

    Berecruited is a decent, if minimalist site that offers you a place to put your stats and video on the web in a single place (for ease of coach’s access), as well as some very minimal tools in terms of generating letters to coaches, etc. Other than that they don’t really DO anything for you. I believe they will send basic info to coaches by request.

    GoBigRecruiting is like berecruited, except that they will offer to forward your information to coaches…for a fee. Like $8 each to send (by email) to 1-5 coaches. They’ll drop you teaser emails “Cornell U is interested in you!” and “Army is interested in you!” which then have links that offer to send your info to these interested schools for that nominal fee.

    NCSA is a very slick, high tech site that has a VERY broad collection of former DivI coaches, scouts, etc all shilling for them. Very good general advice services, and I’d say excellent data management, tracking of coaches’ interest, and communication back to the player. It’s also quite expensive, around $1000. The only negative here is that they are talking to the crowd. You can get 1-1 ‘coaching’ through the process a limited number of times each year, but otherwise you kind of feel like you’re sitting in a big auditorium, listening to a high-quality lecture…the info is good, it seems reliable, you just feel very anonymous.

    College Prospects of America has similar pricing to NCSA and offers similar services, albeit without all the polish and about 5 years behind the curve in terms of online tools, etc. The one thing we found with CPoA is that they are very personal – your contact is ALWAYS available, and (at least the guy we dealt with) was very personable, and his insights were very personal and focused on our experience, our son, and his prospects.

    We’re still in the process, and yeah, we’ve probably spent more than we should have, but at least perhaps some of you can learn from us. Email me at styopa1(at)gmail.com if you have more questions.

  3. admin April 27, 2010

    Dennis,
    For the record, Go Big Recruiting and I exchange no money for the ad placement. They agreed to post my content on their front page (which unfortunately has been bumped down further with changes on their front page). Anyways, I am bias and don’t exactly what to burn bridges with someone that I have a good relationship with. However, there are some things I like and don’t like about what they do. They have to make money so I understand the charging but you can do the same emailing out your video. They track it and will say Notre Dame watched your video. The problem is that doesn’t mean anything. Their coach may have clicked play, thought you sucked 15 seconds in, and moved on.

  4. admin April 27, 2010

    And for those interested, all those pay services are great, but when it comes down to it and my kids are getting recruited, I am not going to use a single one of them. You can do it all yourself if you are willing to learn and are an avid reader of this site. I have gotten so many emails saying that they followed this site and ended with scholarships. But if you don’t want to do it yourself, then fork over the cash to other sites.

  5. Mike April 27, 2010

    I am curious on how you feel about the National Scouting Report. They are completely hands on and evaluate the student athlete in person. They don’t enroll every prospect. Everything is done face to face and over the phone with local scouts. Would like your advice on NSR. thanks

  6. Mark Gerald May 2, 2010

    Don’t college coaches subscribe to a national database or two of athletes and stick pretty much to those? I agree that ‘servies’ are selling to the parents/families, and that the real audiences should be/are the coaches. What are the names of the databases the colleges use?

  7. admin May 2, 2010

    College coaches spend a ton of money on different services so there are a lot. But the ones they normally actually use/trust are the ones where the evaluators don’t get paid by the athletes on the list.

  8. Ali July 5, 2010

    Great article – clear and succinct. Just what I was looking for – confirmation.

  9. Billy Ragland July 8, 2010

    I would disagree somewhat with the thought that parents can do just as well on their own as with some of the scouting services. College Prospects and National Scouting Report both have had lots of success in helping kids get scholarships. I do work with College Prospects, so am probably a bit biased, but I know that many coaches turn to the free services (to the college) before the ones they must pay for.
    Here are just a few things to consider. Yes, as far as sending information and contacting coaches, parents can be just as successful…no doubt. However, how does the coach know that the information he is getting is totally true. As a long time softball coach, every year at All-Star time, I had parents that wondered why their daughter didn’t make the team. The facts were that the daughter saw limited playing time, didn’t play well, and received no votes..even from her own coach. Coaches know that parents are going to be biased toward their children, and often have unrealistic ideas about their ability. How does a coach know who they really need to look at, and who they are wasting time on? Also, there are lots of considerations about NCAA regulations. There are lots of times when a family can’t talk with coaches (Quiet periods and Dead periods) , however, the family probably won’t know these times. The NCAA says that the family is just as responsible for recruiting violations as the coach and school…so why take the risk? Legitimate services can help with when contacts can and can’t be made, and also are permitted by NCAA guidelines to provide information to coaches at times when families may not be allowed to do so.
    In conclusion, a legitimate scouting service can be much more valuable than the investment that you will make. Services like College Prospects and National Scouting Report have been in business for more than 25 years, and can point to thousands of satisfied clients. While I can only speak for College Prospects, I’m pretty certain the same applies to NSR. We do not take just anyone that wants to sign up. The athlete must have the legitimate ability to compete for the colleges they are promoted to. If any service doesn’t do this, they won’t be considered by any college coach…and they won’t last long. I’m sure there are several legit companies out there, and there are a lot that are not. Do your research and see what is best for you…don’t base it solely on price. Cheaper is not always better..but sometimes can be. You can get more information about College Prospects at http://www.cpoa.com and National Scouting Report at http://www.nsr-inc.com

  10. admin July 8, 2010

    Billy,
    I believe parents can find a lot of the information they need on this site and the NCAA site. If they are willing to put the leg work in, do it yourself.

    I am not opposed to recruiting services. If parents don’t have the time to really dive in, then go with the scouting service (if finances are available). There is a ton of time involved.

  11. Stacey January 8, 2011

    I was wanting to know when is the best time to start videoing your child in order to get them recruited? I have a son that is a incoming freshman this year and hs already started talking to me about getting recruited for college football. What should I do?

  12. admin January 8, 2011

    Do video as soon as your child plays varsity. If it starts as a freshman or a junior, do it then. Sending out tapes from lesser competition is not worth it.

  13. While I cannot speak for other scouting organizations, your commentary regarding our company, National Scouting Report, is innaccurate, inflammatory and uncalled for. NSR started the high school scouting industry in 1980. It is and always has been a family-owned business. Our scouts are on-the-ground professionals who conduct in-person evaluations and in-home personal interviews before accepting and enrolling any student-athlete. If you look closely at the prospects we represent, you will find a common cord — academic and athletic excellence. Our reputation is built on the quality of the prospects we enroll and the number we place with college athletic programs. Our kids have GPAs which average 3.0 or better. Their standardized test scores average over 1,050 SAT (r/m). We are selective and proud of the kids we enroll and work with to realize their dreams of participating in college athletics. Because we are so selective, over 90% of all our prospects receive offers. In many sports, we have consistently placed prospects at a 98% rate. For you to so glibly say that we, and all scouting services, are a scam, is irresponsible and speaks more about your motives, topurchase your books and materials, than it is about those of us who work hard each day to help these kids succeed, to be sure. If you doubt the validity of my comments here, or would like to experience firsthand how NSR works for kids across America and in five foreign countries, I cordially invite you to meet me and our staff at our home office at time of your choosing. We would be happy to give you a tour of our facility, meet our staff and answer any and all of your questions without reservation.

  14. Bill October 17, 2011

    I have a little different perspective as a Coach and a Parent. As a parent of a student athlete, why would you NOT entertain the possibilities out there. Yes, I am talking about recruiting services. You get one shot at obtaining a valuable scholarship. This scholarship can save you 10′s of thousands of dollars. That’s even if you pay a few thousand to a legit recruiting/scouting agency. That is the key. The service you choose should be where a professionally trained scout is out watching your child, taking notes, logging times/stats, etc. These are the ONLY services that college coaches will pay attention to. The service should not be getting paid solely on your child being accepted by you college of choice, rather use them as a professional third party. It offers more credibility than I can say. My experience would say that less than 2% of videos and/or letters from parents are looked at objectively. Now, if a professional scout (or the service they represent) sends in information on an athlete, we know a lot of the guess work (leg work if you will) has been done. So, the tapes and information is definitely looked at.

    As for the “if you are good, coaches will find you”…..have you seen the recruiting budgets ;0 Those “elite” caliber athletes only make up a very small percentage of the team. They also only get a small percentage of the scholarship money. At our facility, there is scholarship money left on the table every season of every year. Also NCAA has rules about paying for services, including fee based web services.

    In my opinion there are only 1 or 2 companies that are true recruitment services.
    Also, don’t think that a University or College has time and money to spend on “searching” limitless websites.

    My advice as a parent would be: If your child is good enough to catch the interest of a scout that has seem him/her play, take the time to listen. Evaluate if you have had any contact yet from college coaches…..It may be well worth the cost now as opposed to tuition later.

    Good luck to all the Student Athletes out there. The education is priceless.

  15. Ncsa ripoff | Golneatr April 3, 2012

    [...] Are paid scouting service worth the price in trying to help my son or …Apr 27, 2010 … (From NCSA Sports) · What approach should you take during the athletic ….. are a scam, is irresponsible and speaks more about your motives, … [...]

  16. Barbara Tyler June 1, 2012

    I really liked the article about recruiting and doing it yourself. I wanted to know if you have any books on baseball. My son sport is baseball. I will also get your book on recruiting just making sure about colleges.

  17. admin June 1, 2012

    No baseball yet. Hopefully in the future but not 100% sure.

  18. Thank you, I have recently been looking for info about this topic for
    a long time and yours is the best I have found out till
    now. However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive about the source?

  19. kissimmee appraisal company August 4, 2013

    I hardly leave a response, however i did a few searching and wound up here Are paid scouting service worth the price
    in trying to help my son or daughter get an athletic scholarship?
    | Recruiting 101. And I actually do have a few questions
    for you if you usually do not mind. Is it simply me or does it look like some of these remarks come across like they are coming from
    brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting at
    other sites, I’d like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of your communal pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  20. Generally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  21. Hadi Malak June 9, 2014

    NSR are scammers. They robbed us of $5000. Don’t make the same mistake!

  22. David temple July 15, 2014

    Some of your advice was correct to the parents about recruiting services you gave. How ever what you did clearly state is that today’s recruiting is a business no longer simply play and do good in school and you will get looked At. Today athletes play year around, travel take private lessons go to show cases displaying there talent and all of these can and do coSt more than the average. Oat of a service. Bottom line the more proactive you are early in your recruiting years the better your chances of attracting multiple schools and multiple offers. Dave T