Deciding on an Investment in Recruiting Publicity

With 7% of high school athletes making it to the NCAA level, athletes and their parents can use all the help they can get. Recruiting publicity services are athletic profile websites available for free or for a fee. But how do you know which one will best serve you?

Is there an advantage in paying for a publicity service? 

Per the NCAA, a recruiting/scouting service is "any individual, organization, entity or segment of an entity that is primarily involved in providing information about prospective student-athletes." We call these "recruiting publicity services," given that is their product.

While some paid recruiting services are smaller and sport specific, others are huge companies. There plenty of options with varying degrees of value depending on the athlete. That said, the fact is most qualified athletes can find a spot on a college roster without a recruiting publicity service.

Sparks Consulting is not a recruiting service; we do not contact college coaches with your information. As former college coaches, we know publicity services serve as a second-tier resource. 

Students who take the initiative to contact coaches directly are almost always more successful in the process. This is particularly true with selective universities. We live in a world where much occurs with the click of a smart phone. College coaches want to know whether recruits are mature enough to take the initiative and have the ability to invest in the process.

About Recruiting Publicity Services

Sports fall into two categories in their primary mode of talent identification: objective and subjective.

When talent is identified objectively, (metrics like speed, etc.) athletes do not require publicity services. Sports that identify athletes subjectively may benefit from added exposure provided by recruiting services.

What's the benefit of a recruiting service for objectively evaluated sports? 

If it's free, it can provide some orientation and intelligence value as to the level of recruiting at particular institutions. Don't expect it to draw a lot of high-level coaches' attention though. Use the service to gain a more intimate understanding of the recruiting landscape such that you can pursue it independently. works well for this however they do have user data-sharing agreements with other services - including NCSA Sports - which tends to sell aggressively. 

Otherwise, seek services where you can gain perspective by looking through the profiles and stats of other athletes in your sport. All you need are free online profiles and search. 

If I'm in a subjectively evaluated sport, which service should I pay for? 

Sport-specific services are generally best given they do certain things (i.e. showcases) much better than generalist services. If a sport-specific recruiting service doesn't exist in your sport, you may need to ask yourself why prior to paying for a more general service; e-mails will most likely go a lot further insofar as helping you accomplish the recruiting process. 

Take a look below. We've broken down some options for you. 

We provide college counseling for athletes seeking admission at selective universities. Our clients succeed in the recruiting process while going beyond it to find the best college fit for the rest of their lives.

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