College athletics is big business. From the teams to the players, from the media to the fans, there are many people involved in this industry.
Regardless of the sport, every team does its best to recruit top of the line student athletes. While the “big name” schools with the best reputation (and a long history of success) often find it easiest to attract top talent, others are finding a way to level the playing field.
Here are just a few of the many ways that teams are getting better at recruiting:
The Use of Technology
Just the same as recruiting employees to a company, coaches rely on technology to get in touch with athletes.
For example, the use of text messaging and social media is becoming more prominent. With both things at their disposal, coaches find it easier to connect with recruits as the rules allow.
Go back in time 20 years and neither of these things was used to recruit student athletes. Instead, on and off campus visits, combined with direct mail, were the preferred methods of contact.
It will be interesting to see how technology changes recruiting over the next 20 years.
The Use of Recruiting Coordinators
There was a time not so long ago when coaches were solely responsible for recruiting. While this remains true to a certain degree, many teams (especially those in high revenue generating sports) have a recruiting coordinator on staff that is responsible for overseeing the entire process.
Recruiting coordinators use many tools to help coaches make the most of their time and recruiting efforts. From online surveys to direct mail, from text messaging to video marketing, these professionals do whatever it takes to one-up the competition.
The Use of Interns
There are only so many people on a college program’s coaching staff (there are rules that govern this).
However, many programs can use interns to their advantage. When searching for an internship, some students are attracted to the world of college athletics. This gives them the opportunity to get their foot in the door.
Interns can help with a variety of tasks. For example, they can send letters to recruits on behalf of coaches. They can also assist with things such as creating recruiting videos and organizing schedules and on campus visits.
Most interns are willing to go beyond for the good of the program, which makes life easier on the coaches and administrative staff.
More Efficient Travel
Much the same as many small business owners, success in recruiting often comes down to forming relationships.
While it’s possible to get a lot done over the phone and via email (and social media), there always comes a time when meeting in person is an absolute must.
Coaches are always looking for ways to travel in an efficient manner, as this allows them to make the most of their time.
An example of this is the way that many universities are using private planes to their advantage. This makes it possible for coaches to see more recruits in a shorter period. Plus, it provides the ability to be on campus more often, which helps push the program forward as a whole.
Many years ago, recruiting was all about getting in your vehicle or flying commercial. While these methods of travel are still used extensively, many schools are seeking ways to improve efficiency.
Recruiting is the Key to Success
Even though a good coach has a lot to do with whether a team wins or loses, it all comes down to the players on the court or field. Therefore, college programs are spending an extraordinary amount of money on recruiting.
With each passing year, sports teams continue to get better at recruiting. While some are more proficient than others, each one is hoping to improve. By doing this, it’s much easier to beat the competition and bring exposure to the program.
Do you have any personal experience with the way sports teams recruit athletes? Are there any other ways that these programs are getting better at recruiting? Share your experience and knowledge in the comment section below.