Error 502 Ray ID: 17dd44ddd4ab0862

Bad gateway








What happened?

The web server reported a bad gateway error.

What can I do?

Please try again in a few minutes.

Coaches get outside help for recruiting, but should buyers beware?

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2012 - 6:45 AM

Recruiting services assist schools -- including the U -- in finding players, but there are drawbacks.


Gophers football coach Jerry Kill

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jerry Kill is no different than most college football coaches when it comes to receiving outside advice in recruiting. He wants to make his own evaluations, see things with his own eyes, formulate his own opinions.

"I'm going to make my own assessment of who I think is good and not good," the Gophers coach said. "Some people say, 'Well, that guy is a five-star guy.' Well, who's rating that five-star guy? I'd rather look at them myself."

But many schools, including the Gophers, also rely on recruiting services to do some of the initial legwork, often at a hefty price. College programs devote a portion of their budget to purchase biographical information, videos and scouting reports on high school recruits around the country in an effort to crosscheck their own databases and save time in recruiting turf wars.

As the recruiting season inches toward the Feb. 1 signing day, coaches are focused more on finalizing classes than evaluating talent. But recruiting services operate year-round hoping to aid the process and, yes, make money.

Opinions vary among college coaches on the usefulness of recruiting services and their true benefit. That industry gained national attention this past year after the NCAA launched an investigation into Oregon's involvement with Houston-based talent scout Willie Lyles.

The NCAA is investigating whether Oregon paid Lyles $25,000 for legitimate recruiting material or to steer high-profile recruits to the program, including running back Lache Seastrunk. Lyles had a mentoring relationship with several current and former Ducks players. The recruiting information Lyles provided Oregon reportedly was outdated.

"Here's the problem with recruiting services: There are a lot of different entities in the industry that are lumped under this classification," said Randy Rodgers, who owns a scouting service focused solely on Texas prep football.

Rodgers puts 30,000 miles a year on his pickup truck scouting talent across the state. He estimates that he visits 12 to 15 high schools each week to talk with coaches, watch practices and games and study videotape. He writes a one-page scouting report on prospects he evaluates -- 743 total last year.

Rodgers offers just one of many scouting services that focus on a particular area of the country. The NCAA does not require recruiting services to be sanctioned or registered with the governing body, so it's difficult to know exactly how many exist. The NCAA is considering a proposal that would require football and basketball recruiting/scouting services to be approved on an annual basis.

"It's like anything else, common sense should prevail," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said before the 2011 season. "If something should cost $5 and a guy is charging $100, you might want to ask a couple of questions."

Big money at stake

College football is big business, and recruiting services represent a piece of that. Schools routinely spend tens of thousands on recruiting information each year. Some services charge only a few hundred dollars for their material. Others can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 per year.

The Gophers spent $140,000 total on recruiting services over a three-year span beginning in 2008, according to data provided by the school. The Gophers spent significantly less in that area once Kill took over last season. They allotted $27,500 for the 2010-11 school year.

Purdue spent roughly $274,000 on recruiting services, Wisconsin $145,000 and Iowa $62,500 during the same three-year span, according to those schools. Even Michigan ($105,000) and Ohio State ($77,400) -- two schools with a tradition of success and a national brand name -- utilize scouting services.

That's not unusual even for powerhouse programs. Newly crowned national champion Alabama spent nearly $220,000 total on recruiting services the past three years, according to the Birmingham News.

"Everyone purchases recruiting services," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "It's a good practice, a good procedure in the recruiting process. There's been some instances where it's been abused some. But a recruiting service is no different than buying a catalog from Cabela's when you get your fishing equipment. Or Sears when you want to buy your appliances."

As long as the rules don't become blurred, coaches say, the relationship can be mutually beneficial.

"When I first started recruiting South Florida there used to be a packet this guy would sell and everybody was getting it," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "I got it because it had great information. It had [recruits'] addresses, their birthdates, all this pre-packaged information. The guy was trying to build a relationship with me. I said, 'Hey, I already bought your package, I don't need to [be friends].'"

Saving time costs money

Rodgers started his scouting service after coaching football for nearly 30 years, including a stint at Inver Hills Community College and later as recruiting coordinator at Illinois and Texas. He retired from coaching after Texas fired John Mackovic in 1997.

Rodgers saw a need for college coaches and a way to make money using his recruiting expertise.

"The hardest thing for college coaches to do is to evaluate players during the season," Rodgers said. "It dawned on me that there is a business model here that the NFL has. The NFL has coaches and they have scouts. In college, coaches and scouts are the same guys. What they really suffer from is time availability."

Rodgers charges schools $3,000 to $6,000 annually for his material. He said he has 45 to 50 clients in Division I, including the Gophers, Michigan and Ohio State in recent years.

"I'm going to save you time," he said. "Time is precious because the NCAA legislates time for coaches on the road. If you're Minnesota and you're coming to Texas, you don't want to waste time going to view players who aren't good enough to help you win in the Big Ten.

"By the same token, you don't want to waste a lot of time chasing after guys you're never going to have a chance to recruit because Texas and Oklahoma are after him. No offense to the Gophers, but they're not going to beat Texas head-to-head on any kid in Texas."

Coaches say advances in technology -- specifically video -- enable them to make better use of their time. Recruiting services enable them to streamline their game plan once they hit the road.

"That's why everybody can go into anybody's area and make some hay recruiting-wise, because they can do their homework sitting right there at their desk," Hope said. "In the old days, you had to get a road map, brown bag with some lunch meat and stuff to eat and had to travel around to all the high schools and hit it door-to-door. It's not that way anymore."

Even with that benefit, Kill still describes himself as a "people guy," meaning he relies more on relationships formed with high school coaches over the years than recruiting material provided by outsiders.

"If I was younger, maybe I'd have to do more of that," he said. "But I'm old enough now that I know enough people that we're going to do it off people that we know."


  • related content

  • Chart: Michigan's recruiting service costs

    Tuesday January 10, 2012

    College football programs use recruiting or scouting services to purchase biographical information, videos and evaluations on prospects across the country each year. Here, for example, is a breakdown of Michigan's...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question