TAMPA - For those of you who don't have a Twitter account, I suggest getting one (follow @prospectwire for PW updates). Some really interesting stuff comes by if you follow the right people.
One such thing came by the other day when the Indiana Yankees travel team posted a $3,500 bill for a single player entry fee to an event.
And that's fine. Event organizers have every right to create a product or event, and invite people to them and give them a great experience. And these types of events aren't for everybody. If you have the money, and you want to do it, there is nothing wrong with that - have fun. But there is a difference between wanting to do an event because you have the money, and thinking that you need to do an event or else you are missing out on an opportunity.
It got me thinking: If parents play travel ball for 4 years, join these types of events, camps, showcases, etc - at what point does the family breakeven or even lose money in investing for their son to earn a college scholarship? What I mean by that, is if the typical college scholarship is in the 30% range, and the player earns that scholarship for 4 years.....
Would all of the events that the player attended in his high school career cost more than what he earned from his scholarship? At what point did it cost you $15,000 in 4 years of travel baseball, showcases, camps, and other events to get a $12,000 scholarship?
There is a line parents and families have to draw in the sand and say "we aren't attending every event we are invited to." You need to be selective based on the interest your son is receiving from schools. Getting no interest or limited interest? Attend a few more things, and be proactive in the recruiting process. Getting tons of interest? Pull in the reins, and be more selective.
You're never going to read this stuff anywhere because, frankly, it's bad for business. Most event organizers are so busy plugging their own events, they never stop and think about the person on the other end.
With these thoughts in mind, I wanted to list 3 event types to question if invited to, or avoid altogether:
1. The College Showcase Camp
This event type hires college coaches from different schools to work the event as a coach. The college coaches are on the field with the players killing two birds with one stone: recruiting players (getting to know them) and coaching players at the same time.
This event type is out there, and PW has been associated with some of them. The ones we were associated with were run the "right way."
What is the right way? If you are "invited" to this type of event, they can be beneficial. But there are two key questions to ask:
A. Of the coaches promised to be in attendance, how many actual head coaches or PAID ASSISTANT coaches will be in attendance? These events are typically filled with volunteer assistant coaches, and most universities do their recruiting through the paid assistant coaches or head coach. The volunteer assistant usually does not make any decisions in the recruiting process, making this event-type a mirage. We helped scout an event like this in Orlando a few years ago, and they did a great job of getting actual assistants who could make decisions (i.e. Mike Martin Jr from FSU and a very small sample size of volunteer assistants.)
B. How many D2s, JuCos, NAIAs will be in attendance? Most of these camps will hire a bunch of big time D1 coaches making the player think, "Well ONE of them has to like me." Players and families often make the mistake and think that because a school is out of state that they aren't as good. The University of Arkansas, Wake Forest, Boston College, Rice - these are big time schools, recruiting big time players. If the camps you are attending don't have a cross-section of schools, and all it has is D1s represented, then there are only a few players that are actually going to benefit - if that. Make sure small D1s, D2s, JuCos and/or NAIAs are also present so you leave the event with interest from someone.
2. The Winter Showcase
Many parents aren't up to date on the NCAA Recruiting Calendar, and they probably don't understand what a quiet period or dead period is. Basically, the NCAA has a calendar of rules in place. There are certain dates or seasons that colleges are allowed to recruit...and there are certain "dead" periods and "quiet" periods when they can't. That means that they cannot attend events as a recruiting trip. They can work camps and things like that, but they can't go to a showcase or a tournament and stand behind a fence and observe.
The "winter" (November to March) is the biggest range out there. So when someone runs a Winter Showcase, who exactly are you showcasing to? Just make sure you ask.
NCAA rules don't apply to certain groups of people like JuCos, NAIAs, and Pro Scouts to name a few. They don't need to follow NCAA rules - so those groups of people can attend winter events.
But if you are invited to a showcase and your main goal is to be seen by D1s, you'll be surprised to see when you get there that none of them are there.
3. Any event or service that is based upon the guarantee of providing you college placement
Guaranteeing college placement is an NCAA violation.
126.96.36.199 Talent Evaluation Services and Agents. A prospect may allow a scouting service or agent to distribute personal information (e.g., high-school academic and athletics records,physical statistics) to member institutions without jeopardizing his or her eligibility, provided the fee paid to such an agent is not based on placing the prospect in a collegiate institution as a recipient of institutional financial aid."
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