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VOL. 38 | NO. 19 | Friday, May 9, 2014

RecruitTalk gives high school athletes a promotional tool

By Joe Morris

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Anyone who’s ever attended a college football or basketball game knows that for every player on the field there are two or three more on the bench who seldom see action.

These student athletes are an integral part of the team, however, despite not grabbing the headlines or moving on to a pro career.

And because there are lots of them, the competition for scholarship money, and a roster spot, is fierce.

These young men and women are the focus of RecruitTalk, a Nashville-based startup that offers MyStory, a web-based tool that works with high-school athletes to put together a portfolio of academic and athletic highlights and then get that in front of coaches at colleges around the country.

The company also offers OnTrack, which outlines steps student athletes need to take in the process.

RecruitTalk recently brought on former Lipscomb University coach Scott Sanderson as national sales director. He, along with CEO Rob Humphreys, act as brand evangelists and are focusing on getting out in front of secondary schools to talk about their product and how it differs from others on the market.

“We’re trying to help kids be seen from an academic and social standpoint, as well as an athletics standpoint,” Sanderson says. “We are working with them on all the things that factor into getting recruited. It’s easy to find the high Division 1 players, but there are a lot of other kids who need to find a way to get their story out there.”

After 29 years in coaching, Sanderson says he’s familiar with the obstacles many student athletes face, not the least of which is not knowing where to start.

“There are so many things that the kids and parents don’t know, and this enables us to give them a better feel for the process, and at the same time put all their information in one central location for their current coaches to send on to a college coach,” he says.

“A lot of kids don’t figure out that academics are important until their junior or senior year, and then it’s too late. This tool helps them make sure they have academics, athletics, videos, everything in line if they want to continue to play after high school.

RecruitTalk is currently being marketed as a package to public and private schools, both for student usage and also as a marketing tool for their athletics departments to distinguish themselves from competitors.


“We’re not saying, ‘sign up with us and you’ll get a scholarship,’ but showing how we can help students keep all their info in one place, and save the administration time when it’s time to send info out on their kids,” Sanderson says.

A similar package is offered by NCSA Sports out of Chicago, which was founded by Vanderbilt football player (1984-87) and grad Chris Krause in 2000. NCSA also works to connect colleges with players by offering its services to parents and students, Krause says, with the same goal of helping athletes stand out from the pack.

“We’ve built a digital platform that connects all the top college programs and opportunities with qualified student athletes around the country,” Krause says.

“We do that through our education platform, which is a speakers bureau of former athletes and former college coaches who go out to high schools and big combines to meet people. From there, we evaluate and identify athletes, evaluate their realistic athletic and academic capabilities, and activate them into the network.”

The company has grown significantly over time, demonstrating the possibilities in what is becoming a crowded field.

It now has more than 1,700 coaches using its data, and about 1,500 roster openings a month, according to Krause.

It has around 1.5 athletes in its database, or almost one out of four students who are headed to college, Krause says,

On the financial side, NCSA’s revenue stream derives from college coaching operations, as well as premium tools and services marketing to the families of student athletes. Its next growth phase will be connecting college athletes with internships and employment opportunities, so it can continue its interaction with them as they near graduation and enter the job market.

“For the athletes, the first step is to get discovered, and they have to be realistic in terms of what level they can play at,” Krause says. “Families need to understand that they can cast a wider net, which may mean looking at schools they have not heard of, but that have great opportunities.

Both companies say that sports are excellent to have on a resume, and by using their products athletes can more successfully leverage those skills to, and through, a college playing career and onward.

“We are working with the kids who fit into my story, which was that I walked on and played baseball in college,” says RecruitTalk’s Humphreys. “I was just looking for an opportunity to play, and the best opportunity was the chance to walk on at a school that had no money for me.

“For me, playing organized sports from an early age all the way through college was influential and informative for my life,’’ he adds. “We are providing that opportunity to help parents and kids, and all those with a vested interest in those kids, to get some clarity around what’s involved, and then being able to walk in at the next level.”

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