How much does a good marketing plan help you in the athletic recruiting process?

A few years back I was talking with some people about recruiting rankings.  When discussing the athletes, my evaluations made it obvious as to which athlete should be ranked higher.  They had more scholarships, put up bigger numbers as a junior, and seemed to be liked more by a variety of college coaches than the other recruit. 

But the other person, who had some bias with the second recruit, said that the only reason the recruit I favored had those offers is because they marketed themselves to college coaches and did everything possible to get their name out there.  Yes, it was true that he did do this but does a good marketing plan have that much of a difference?

In my very, very, very, very, very (let me add another very for emphasis) strong opinion, a good marketing plan will be the difference between student loans and a college scholarship.  It can be the difference between Division I-AA and Division I-A in football recruiting.  It can be the difference between low major and mid to high major in basketball recruiting. 

The second recruit that I mentioned who was ranked lower decided to not much of a marketing plan.  He was going to get whatever interest he came his way, send out recruiting highlight videos that his coach made, and then see how the dust settles.  This recruit did have an advantage because his father was a major Division I player back in the days.  In the end, things actually ended up going pretty good for this standout as he held a handful of major Division I offers.   

The other recruit and his father called multiple coaches, made lots of highlight videos, took trips to colleges, and did everything you can imagine that a family can do to market their son in the football recruiting process.  They did have an advantage in terms of money and resources but these are things any family can do. 

When the athletic recruiting process is complete for your children, do you always want to have doubts in the back of your head thinking they could have gone to a higher level and saved you money in the process?  Marketing is to consider all your options.  Maybe you realize late that your son can’t play Division I basketball or your daughter isn’t talented enough to play Division II volleyball. 

In the end, it would be much better to know that you opened as many doors as you possibly could for colleges.  The more you market your children, the better opportunities that different doors will be open.  And that is what will allow you to look back fondly following all the work that you have done and be grateful that you actually decided to go the marketing route as opposed to the “coaches will find them” route which doesn’t work. 

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