Is Anyone Listening?

By: Al Woods

My roll as a college recruiter is to advise parents and high school student athletes on the many aspects of the college recruiting process. For years, parents and their talented student athletes have looked to me for help when it came to college recruiting and for many years I have offered my knowledge.

There are situations where athletes and their parents were not sure about what to do in the recruiting process. For example, one basketball player I was working with was only interested in Division I basketball programs even though there were no Division I programs recruiting him. This young man wanted me to get in touch with some of the best programs in the country. I told him that if they weren't recruiting you now, more than likely they would never recruit you. But he would not listen to reason.

When I did get a small Division I basketball program interested, they wanted to see a DVD first so they could take a closer look. After this Division I basketball program evaluated the DVD they said that they would keep an eye on him. That's just a nice way that some Division I programs say that you're not good enough or you're not as good as the players we have now.

If a college program thinks you are any good they would start the recruiting process now. Most college programs are not going to wait to start recruiting you. If you are good, they will come after you now. The college programs I know are always looking for players and they don't want to lose you to another program. In this young man's case, I told him to look at smaller college basketball programs. He didn't listen and this player still wanted only Division I programs. He was going to live or die with that decision. I kept advising him to look at many programs but it was all about the Division I, that's all he cared about. The problem was that this young man would only focus on Division I and he would close the door on any other programs. He felt that he was that good.

Now keep in mind that Division I college programs from all sports have a recruiting budget. These programs can recruit all over the country and can find the players that they need. If you are good, they will find you but sometimes there are players who slip through the cracks. Now this high school athlete was good but not for that level of basketball. If you're not that good then you must move on to other college programs. If these college programs on that level are not recruiting then you need to move on.

What ended up happening is that a small Division I program told him that they got the player they wanted and they wished him good luck. When the high school athlete told me this I didn't say I told you so. I wanted to but what was the point? I try to help him get into other college programs. Then I asked, "what about junior colleges?" He said "I'll just go to prep school". You see, his goal is still Division I basketball when it should be the best opportunity that you can get.

The real goal here is a college education and a strong future. College athletics will only last so long but the education you will receive will last a lifetime.
High school student athletes who are reading this and parents, please look at all the college programs, big and small. Good college opportunities are out there all the time. Turning your back on an opportunity could hurt you in the long run.

I knew this young man who played football in a small town that only had the one high school. Now his problem was he did not have the grades coming out of high school but he had good size. He was about 6'3, 260 lbs. but no grades. His only option was junior college football. The problem with junior college football is that there are not enough junior college football programs in the country. I think the number maybe around 100 or so. Now that's not a lot of programs to work with when there are 800 to 900 or so from Division I, II and III combined.

High school athletes, make sure you get your academics in order, make sure you can get the highest GPA you can and take both the SAT and ACT tests as many times that it's offered because many student athletes wait until the last minute to take the test and holding off on this will kill your chances of college athletes.

Now, back to this young man from a small town in Ohio who wanted to play football in college. Most of the junior college programs are in places like Kansas, California and Mississippi. Some of these schools are in very small towns that are very far away from home.

Now what I've been told by football coaches on that level is that they are recruiting players who can play at the major college level but are there to get bigger, faster, stronger and better players and lastly because of grades. Grades are a factor but when the junior college programs are getting players, it is more about talent. A lot of these programs bring in well over 100 players and only 11 can play at one time. So you are better off working vary hard in the classroom and on the football field so you can be recruited by a higher level college program.

This young man from Ohio ended up going to a junior college program in Buffalo, New York but because there were over 100 players in that program, he was not given a fair chance and because he was not on scholarship he could be let go at any time and he was. I also advised him to get an Associates degree. That way he could be somewhat marketable to the Division II football programs. Sad to say that he did not listen to a word I said so I just moved past him and told him good luck.

A lot of junior college football programs, in my opinion, bring in as many players as they can. It's like a business in a way because the more paying students you can bring in, the more it will help that program's bottom line. It's a business.

In all my years of running this college recruiting service we have work with 1000's of high student athletes and there parents.

Most of the time I give my professional opinion on what direction a parent should go in and for many years I've done that. The frustrating part for me is when I advise a parent or a student athlete on something, they do the opposite of what I said and it turns into a major problem for them.

For example, I will tell parents to get 30 to 40 copies of a DVD made to have ready when college coaches begin calling. Sometimes parents listen and sometimes they don't. The reason is because most college programs are not coming to that many games anymore and it's easier to evaluate huge numbers of student athletes on DVD. Sometimes what happens is that parents are slow in getting a DVD done or they don't have a video camera or they can't get a copy form the high school coach. If college programs can't see you play, they can't recruit you. Think about it.

Going to camps is a big one. I talk to parents about this all the time. No matter what sports camp you attend, ask yourself this question: why are we going to this camp? The one rule of thumb I use is how many college coaches will be working at this camp? The key point here is who is watching you play. If the answer is no one or not very many coaches are there then this is a camp you probably are not going to want to attend.

Before you even go to a camp, ask who is going to be there and find out how many college coaches will be at the camps. Why is this so important? Because if no one is there to see you and to evaluate your talent, then how can any college program recruit you?

Most college programs have camps of some kind every summer and it's really just another way for that college program to make money. Here's an example of this point: Some years ago, there was a basketball camp in the town that I live in. This college program was a mid-major program and had a big-name coach who won a national championship. Now they were advertising this coach's basketball camp and it was all over the radio and T.V. The cost I believe for one week was $200 dollars. Now people where signing up for this camp. When the camp began, the head coach of this college program was not there and neither were any of the assistant coaches.

The camp was headed by some players and it looked like some students of that college were working this camp. So the people, who believed that this big-name coach would be running the camp, really didn't get their money's worth. These people where mislead. Overall, it was just another way to make money for that school's basketball program. There where people who complained and they were given their money back. So the moral to this story is to check out the camp before you pay.

A lot of parents are misinformed on many issues as it relates to college recruiting. This is why I believe they (parents) make so many mistakes. Sometimes it's who do you trust and maybe what should you believe. Sometimes the parent's mistakes have cost the high school student athletes' college opportunities.

My job has been to help parents and student athletes in the process of college recruiting.
Oftentimes, parents will take my recommendations and use it for their own benefit. Then there are times when parents will make the wrong decisions and when they do mess up, many will try to back-track to fix the problem.

Once, a parent gave me a hard time about signing up with my service. This man said things to me like "the coach will help us" or "we are in great shape" or "if we need you we will call you". He was very mean sounding and would not let me say a word.

Now keep mind, I've been in this business for a lot of years and know just about everything there is to know about the recruiting process. If you are a high school student athlete and you are not in the top 1% or 2% of the best athletes in your state, then you will need college recruiting help.

Now this man would not listen to anything I had to say. I think partly was money. At the time, I was charging a fee for my service. I also think it was trust. But for whatever reason, this man would not budge. I was even giving him free advice and he still thought I was crazy or that I did not know what I was talking about.

So I just moved on and left him alone. I didn't call him back and it was over. Months passed by and one day out of the blue this man called. I mean, I knew who it was even though he kept telling me over and over whom he was and did I remember him. He said that the letters stopped coming in, the phone stopped ringing and that the high school coach did very little. As he was telling me this, I just kept shaking my head. I knew what he was going to say next because I have heard all of this more than a million times before.

For years and years parents have back-tracked because they felt everything would work out. I tell parents and student athletes to get moving on the recruiting process now, not next week or next month! You see a lot of people and we are all guilty of procrastination at some point in our lives. This man, who is now back-tracking and trying to get this problem fixed, now needs my help.

Sorry, but I told him that, "I tried to tell you what was going on and how the recruiting process works" he then asked if I could help. I told him, "yes, I could help you but I won't." My reason was this: I put myself way out there for him and he just kicked me in the teeth. He kept saying he was sorry and "please don't punish my son for his stupid dad." Again, I said I was sorry and wished him good luck.

Parents, are you listening? I'm a college recruiter and my job is to help high school student athletes and parents in all areas of college recruiting. This is who I am and this is what I do!

http://woodsrecruiting.com

? 2007 Al Woods

Leadership
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Leadership
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles