The following post is from our founder, Chris Krause, who regularly contributes to our blog. Chris founded NCSA Athletic Recruiting after his experience on Vanderbilt University’s football team, when he realized that other players at his North Chicago team were also talented enough, and just needed help to identify how to play their sport in college.
Wednesday night I had the awesome opportunity to be the weekly guest on a sports talk show hosted by my longtime friend and former Vanderbilt teammate, Coach Gerald “Boo” Mitchell.
Boo, who played many years in the NFL, currently owns a sports performance facility in Georgia. He’s also been a youth football coach for over a decade. More than that, Boo is an everyday reminder to me of the power of sport through the bond and friendship Vanderbilt football gave us so many years ago.
Here’s part of the interview where I was able to talk to parents of recruits about some of my favorite things: NCSA Athletic Recruiting, how college athletic recruiting has changed, and Athleadership, empowering ourselves and others through the life lessons of sports.
Listen to the full interview by clicking play below, or read a partial transcript of our Q&A.
What is NCSA?
CK: NCSA is an online network where student athletes and families get information on the recruiting process, and where college coaches come to search for the right kind of talent. Our database is currently tracking over one million student-athletes at all levels of high school in 28 sports. We also have over 42,000 college coaches from all divisions that use our database for recruiting. They search almost like a match.com – grades, athletics, positions. They can hit like buttons just like Facebook. We really expedite the process for coaches looking at opportunities. We’ve gotten almost 60,000 kids scholarship money in college and have now started to link them with internships and jobs. A job is why they’re going to college anyway, to get that degree and be contributing members of society.
How many have found a scholarship through NCSA?
A little over 60,000 to-date, this year’s graduating class alone will be 20,000.
Is there one sport or another that dominates the NCSA netowork?
Our ratio of student-athletes is pretty much in line with the ratio of participants at the college level. That leaves football dominating simply because there are more college football opportunities than any other sport. Just over 700 colleges play football with a 100-man roster, so football is naturally our biggest sport. 90 percent come in what we call the Big 8 – football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, and volleyball.
Geographically, does NCSA help a particular area of the country more than another? Is there a particular concentration?
Our concentration is in line with the U.S. census. There are a lot more people heading to southern states to live, Texas, Georgia, California, so you could say more of our student-athletes and families come from these states, simply due to where people are living. However generally speaking, our network is filled with kids from across the country.
Tell us about your book, Athlete’s Wanted
The book is really a complete guide for maximizing college scholarship opportunities and athletic potential. It’s available free digitally on our website and is also sold paperback on Amazon.
What is the parent’s role in the recruiting process?
Well I think the first thing to be crystal clear about is that in recruiting, the most important person is the student-athlete. They are ultimately who the college coach is going to be looking at. They want to know what their grades are like, what kind of person they are, their athletic ability. Because if a coach is making a $200,000 investment in a kid, they want to know who that kid is first and foremost before they sign on the dotted line.
The parent is the support system. Their job is to get as much information as possible on the recruiting process, to be realistic, to have a great relationship with the high school coach, and to make sure that student athlete is really getting a chance to look at all opportunities.
The first thing a parent can do is get as much information as possible. The next thing is be realistic. The biggest mistake families make is being set on Division I, when the reality is that 80 percent of the opportunities out there fall outside of Division I. Eliminating that 80 percent by only going for Division I is the biggest mistake families make. There are unbelievable grant and aid packages available outside of Division I.
How many camps should a student-athlete be attending this summer?
Good highlight video is more important than camp attendance. Most coaches already have an idea of who they are going to be looking at prior to camp, and if your son or daughter is not on that list, it is unlikely they will be discovered at camp. Getting a good highlight video online and out to coaches will go much, much further than spending time and money attending too many camps.
Recruiting is not an event, it’s a process. Start early, be realistic, and initiate contact with college coaches to find out if he or she is really interested in your son or daughter. Building a relationship with the coach will go a long way later in the game.
What is the high school head coach’s role in the recruiting process?
There is no head high school coach that can get your son or daughter a scholarship. That is not their job. Their relationship with a college coach or coaches may be able to get you a look, or open a door, but it’s up to the student athlete to prove him or herself, to impress on a visit, to be the right kind of person and player. The student-athlete has to earn it.
Our scouts are always here to answer questions about your family’s personal recruiting journey. Get started with a recruiting profile.