College Recruiting Websites: Why You Shouldn’t Trust Them

  • The Recruiting Industry is Broken.

    The NCAA college recruiting industry consists of the companies that claim to provide you with services that help you to get recruited to play sport at the college of your dreams. Often this consists of online college recruiting websites which allow you to create a profile and mass email college coaches. The college recruiting process is a complex and stressful time for families and student-athletes and many companies capitalize on this with false promises and a host of unhelpful, yet expensive, services.

    How Is The Industry Broken/Deceptive?

    College recruiting websites lead you to believe that college coaches use their platforms to look at profiles, watch videos, send messages, and recruit players in general. These companies usually scare you into thinking that you will not be recruited unless you have a profile and send messages using their platform. Not only is this untrue, but using a recruiting service may actually DECREASE your chances of getting recruited. Why? Because the vast majority of college coaches don’t use recruiting services to find, evaluate, and contact players!

    Take A Look At This Data.

    Athlete College Advisors conducted an in-depth survey of NCAA college coaches from Division 1, 2, and 3. We asked: ‘How do you NOT like to be communicated with by potential recruits?’; nearly 80% responded that they do not like ‘messages from college recruiting websites’. We then asked ‘How do you LIKE to be communicated with by potential recruits?’; 98% listed ‘Personal Emails’ as a preferred method of communication. Less than 5% listed ‘Messages from Recruiting Services’ as a preferred method of communication.

    When we say that the recruiting industry is broken, we mean that college recruiting websites are making money by promoting strategies and tactics that do not help players get recruited. The majority of college coaches do not have or use NCSA, Captain U, Sports Recruits, NSR, or any the other college recruiting services out there, so why should you?

    Industry Explained

    Not all recruiting companies are dishonest and out to steal your money; some of the best college recruiting websites genuinely want to help student athletes get recruited. However, even the best college recruiting companies fall short in their understanding of how college coaches actually operate in the college recruiting process. As a result, their strategies are seriously flawed.

    Very few college recruiting services are owned and managed by individuals that have significant experience as head college coaches. Most simply employ former student-athletes or people that were assistant college coaches for a very short period of time and claim that they have the expertise necessary to give you an edge in the recruiting process. Being a student-athlete is great, but it is not the mind of college athletes that we are trying to understand — you need to understand the mind of college coaches, because they are the ones making the all important decision to recruit or not recruit you.

    With over 30 years of experience as NCAA coaches, the staff at ACA knows that college coaches put a premium on DIRECT communication. They want to communicate directly with recruits and they want recruits to communicate directly with them. Not only are coaches skeptical of recruiting services/representatives that communicate on behalf of a player, but they are also skeptical of players that send messages through college recruiting service websites and platforms. Even if you send a personalized email to a coach via NCSA, SportsRecruits, Captain U, etc, it is possible that college coaches will disregard it as ‘impersonal’ because of the affiliation with a recruiting service.

    College recruiting services are all competing with one another to attract as many college coaches as possible to their platforms. They send emails to coaches and tell them to create accounts so that they can recruit the players in the database. Then, they tell student-athletes to pay to use the platform because “all the college coaches use it”. Do you see the problem with this model? If there are not any college coaches on the platform, players will not pay for the service. If there are not any players, college coaches will not bother to login to the platform.

    The truth is that no recruiting company has managed to get both coaches and players to use their platforms. Could a recruiting company achieve this feat and get all players and coaches using one platform? Not likely — at least for the next few years. In the meantime, it is very clear that most college coaches choose to steer clear of recruiting services and would prefer prospective athletes to do the same.

    Instead of convincing potential recruits and college coaches to use a recruiting service and platform, ACA focuses on how college coaches actually recruit in order to educate prospective student-athletes and provide a proven and effective strategy to increase your chances of getting recruited to colleges that are a great FIT for you.

    What As Best Fit & How As ACA Different

    Here at ACA, we talk a lot about FIT during the recruiting process. We believe that FIT should be THE strategic driver for your entire recruiting process — that sets us apart from almost every other recruiting company worldwide. Most college recruiting websites will tell you to contact as many college coaches as possible in order to increase your chances of getting recruited. Their thesis is that if you email a ton of coaches, at least a few of them will respond back. While this ‘mass messaging’ strategy may seem appealing, it often does more harm than good because college coaches prefer personal emails…not spam. ACA advocates for a direct, personal and fit based approach to the recruiting process. To learn more about ACA and our Fit First Strategy follow this link.

    Follow the ACA blog to read more about topics such as: Federal Student Aid, How to Choose a College, and College Acceptance Rates.