“Pay Me Thousands Of Dollars And I’ll Get You A College Scholarship”
If you cut through all the bull, this is essentially what college recruiting firms are saying. Companies like College Prospects of America, National College Scouting Association, and Cardinal Sports Management do all but guarantee a college scholarship for high school athletes in return for a substantial sum of money. The services these firms perform seems to be a combination of one or more of sending out player profiles, highlight tapes, and academic information to any number of college programs. Of course, this begs several questions. Does the company actually procure the scholarship? Is it worth paying that much money? Is it worth paying any money at all?
Below is a letter from one of the recruiting firms that was sent to one of my advising clients. Take a gander and meet me after the jump…
Now, part of my job as an advisor for my hockey clients is to find the best possible college team for them (assuming they want to play college hockey). There are a lot of factors that play into finding the best team for a particular player, but I won’t get into those now. Furthermore, my clients don’t and cannot pay for my services if they want to maintain college eligibility. Essentially, I do everything that the college recruiting firm does, except I don’t do it in return for immediate payment, I do it on a more personal level, and with a lot more first-hand knowledge about my client on all levels.
A couple caveats there. One, my services aren’t exactly free. The idea is that I do hundreds of hours of work with an expectation that I will be the one negotiating my clients’ future professional contracts from which I will receive a commission. Secondly, you might be asking why a future student-athlete can pay a college recruiting firm to market him or her to college teams but can’t pay me. The answer is two-fold. First, NCAA Bylaws expressly allow prospective student-athletes to hire and pay “talent evaluation services and agents” to distribute personal information to college teams as long as the fee paid to that service is not contingent upon the prospective student-athlete obtaining a scholarship. This is the same NCAA Bylaw that allows me to perform the same service, as long as my client doesn’t sign a contract with me. Also, the standard in the hockey advising and representation industry is that advisors do not charge for their amateur advising services. So, if I charge my clients for amateur advising, they might as well just go to another advisor who doesn’t collect a fee for the same.