Majority of middle school athletes participate in online recruiting because of parents, according to NCSA Athletic Recruiting
Internal data from the company further illuminates trend toward recruiting younger and younger athletes
CHICAGO, Illinois—February 19, 2015—Parents were responsible for the majority of athletic recruiting activity for middle school students, according to internal data released today by NCSA Athletic Recruiting.
The analysis comes after two sixth graders’ profiles joined the ranks of Rivals.com football players’ database, sparking many conflicting—and emotional—reactions to the prospect of evaluating young players at such an age.
According to data from NCSA Athletic Recruiting records, the number of profiles for students younger than high school freshmen in NCSA’s online recruiting database—where student-athletes can upload their qualifications, track their progress and interact directly with college coaches, within NCAA regulations—remained steady between 2013 and 2014. However, the percentage of parent-submitted information has risen in that time from just over half to 71 percent in Q1 2015.
“All the changes that have brought recruiting onto digital platforms enable college coaches to communicate with student-athletes and their families in new ways that didn’t exist even five years ago,” Izell Reese, executive vice president at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, said. “So the trend is driven by both college coaches and parents. When college coaches start offering younger athletes, parents look for opportunities to learn more about recruiting and how to get exposure.”
The prospect—and pitfalls—of courting younger recruits has become a perennial topic, particularly for young female student-athletes. In January 2014, NCSA Athletic Recruiting analyzed commitment data for the New York Times, finding that less than 5 percent of either men’s basketball or football players commit to colleges early (before the official recruiting process begins), while 36 percent of women’s lacrosse players and 24 percent of women’s soccer players do.
“I walked onto the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s football team because I didn’t play the recruiting game,” Reese, who went on to a seven-year NFL career playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills, said. “Ultimately, the explosion of various technologies is changing the face of college athletic recruiting. And—I say this from experience—families need to be realistic in managing their expectations, and proactive in educating themselves about recruiting.”
About NCSA Athletic Recruiting
NCSA Athletic Recruiting believes in the transformational power of sport. NCSA’s network connects millions of student-athletes to approximately 50,000 college coaches. The NCSA team includes more than 300 former college and pro athletes offering personal guidance through the recruiting process and enabling students to find and afford the right college. Since 2000, NCSA has helped more than 60,000 student-athletes commit to colleges with awards totaling nearly $4 billion in scholarship and aid.