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How to Promote your Athletes for Free
by Jim Kuiken, President & COO, Online College Network


Exposure to college recruiters can be an expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating proposition for high school athletes, parents, and coaches. Colleges using traditional scouting techniques spend enormous amounts of money to recruit athletes and spending cuts are driving changes in the recruiting approach. We will see that change soon as colleges take advantage of new technology.

In the end, colleges and student athletes both will reap the rewards of new technology. Colleges will shift some of their spending to technology, save money by reducing (not eliminating) travel expense, and pave the way for athletes across the country. Online services that cost athletes between $100 and $2,000 will go by the wayside as programs underwritten by colleges take hold. Even the NCAA is not thrilled with online services that lead athletes and their families to believe they are D1 material when they are not. Many services are simply after a fee.

Who will pay the way for the student athlete? -- Technology, colleges, and local sponsors!

With new technology, all athletes will have equal exposure to recruiters at no cost to the athlete. Ultimately, the cost of getting college exposure for student athletes and their families will come from colleges because they want a way to find the best athletes whether the athletes can afford expensive recruiting services or not. When the cost of the program is the same for all NCAA institutions, the NCAA is happy. High school athletes will have opportunities well beyond their home states, as recruiters search for students from their desktops using statistical criteria.

College recruiters will advance to the next level with technology that lets them scour the country in minutes using multiple requirements they may stipulate to find athletes. Contemplate the power of a system that can provide college recruiters with a list of athletes that fit selections entered by a recruiter, as shown below in brackets.

  • Year of graduation (2005)
  • Sport (Basketball)
  • Position (Center)
  • Height (At Least 6'7")
  • Weight (At Least 210 lbs.)
  • Points per game (At Least 8)
  • Field Goal Percentage (At Least 50%)
  • Rebounds Per Game (At Least 8)
  • Blocks Per Game (At Least 3)
  • Steals Per Game (At Least 1)
  • Assists Per Game (At Least 1)
  • Years on Varsity (At Least 1)
  • Vertical Jump (At Least 26")
  • Bench Press (At Least 175 lbs)
  • Squat (At Least 200 lbs)
  • Dominant Hand (Right)
  • Play Summer League (Yes)
  • SAT Score (At Least 950)
  • ACT Score (At Least 20)
  • Grade Point Average (At Least 2.7)
  • First in Family to Attend College (Yes)
  • Clubs (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)
  • Volunteer Experience (At least 1)
  • Academic Recognition (Honor Society)
  • Ethnic Background (Any)
  • Religious Affiliation (Catholic)
  • Physical Disabilities (Hearing-Impaired)
  • Learning Differences (Dyslexia)
  • Honors Classes (At Least 2)
  • Plans to Seek Financial Aid (Yes)
  • Plans to Seek Scholarships (Yes)
  • Career Interest (Resort Management)
  • Students' Preferred College Size (Under 10,000)
  • The criteria list will expand as recruiters needs grow. Colleges will attract students based on their specific interests and goals, and find students who are not only looking for a college to call home, but the right home.

    Recruiters will instantly receive a list of athletes based on criteria they enter. The recruiter can contact the high school coach, counselor, or even a player's club coach online, and view a short video clip of the athlete before selecting students for further review. Colleges can not only find, but also track and manage contacts with student prospects that show interest in their institution. There is such a program available today, and college recruiters that thought they wanted to stick with old methods get excited about change when technology of this caliber knocks on their doors.

    College recruiters have been overwhelmed with telephone calls, letters, and visits from high school coaches, parents, and even athletes for years. When videos became commonplace, boxes and boxes of videos in all shapes and forms began showing up at the college recruiter's door. The cost of making copies of videos, mailing them to numerous colleges, and following up has become a way of life for many families trying to get athletes noticed, but recruiters cannot keep up with the flow of videos. This practice will go by the wayside as athletes get exposure online through college funding. Student athletes and their families can pay for services, but they need to understand what they are getting and make sure information on their son/daughter is not available to the public. Many colleges are tired of hearing from online services that charge athletes an arm and leg. The NCAA is not impressed either.

    Will colleges still focus their recruiting on specific high schools or specific states? Yes, that will continue since various high schools and states focus so much of their efforts on specific sports. However, technology will provide colleges across the country with access to athletes that were never before on their radar screens. The Internet has made it possible for a basketball player in Wyoming to be noticed by colleges in California, Florida, New York, and elsewhere. Athletes have choices they never had before.

  • Basketball players not considered D1 or D2 material in California may be welcomed by D1 or D2 colleges in Colorado, Nebraska, or elsewhere.

    Old recruiting networks will not disappear, but as technology provides students with exposure well beyond their local regions or states, more students and more sports will benefit. Students and coaches who do not "know someone" will connect with colleges in ways that once were reserved for those with influential relationships. Technology will simply level the playing field.

    In addition, technology will expand the playing field for athletes. Students from Texas who thought the only opportunity was in Texas, may hear from colleges in Miami, San Diego, and Hawaii. A change in climate may be all they need.

    If a basketball player from Illinois wants to play for Michigan, Kansas, or UCLA, that player can focus on those schools. At the same time, the player has the comfort of knowing that colleges throughout the country can see his or her record and offer options the player might not know exist. One website currently available to athletes provides the student with an email message telling them which college has opened their resume for review as the recruiter opens the resume. It even gives the student a link to the college website so they can review the college in more detail.

    Jim Kuiken is President & Chief Operating Officer of Online College Network, an online program for more than just athletes. It serves as a clearinghouse for academic, performing, and fine arts as well. For further questions go to http://www.onlinecollegenetwork.com/faqs.asp or visit the homepage at http://www.OnlineCollegeNetwork.com

    The Online College Network is the only website available to high schools and students at no cost, with a password-protected, searchable database available to college recruiters as listed above. There are Lesson Plans available for high schools to implement the program school wide. It teaches students the process of building and updating a resume, and provides numerous links to other sites that are extremely helpful in the admissions process.

    Visit http://www.OnlineCollegeNetwork.com for more information or use the information below.

    Online College Network
    1499 Regal Row, Suite 201
    Dallas, TX 75247
    Phone: 214-678-0000

    Email contact: info@OnlineCollegeNetwork.com

  • Our thanks to Human Kinetics for sending us some excellent coaching books. You can't beat the price, less than $20.

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