A look at technology Part 3: The Recruiting Game

"I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me and he said: "Well,Walt, we took a look at you and you weren’t any good."

Walt Garrison - Oklahoma State


Recruiting has changed vastly in the past fifteen years.  Technology has had a huge effect on not only the players being recruited but also for fans that follow the recruiting process.  The recruiting industry is a multimillion dollar business now that keeps growing every year. 

Fan, coaches, parents and players have more information available to them thanks to these advancements in technology.  With so much recruiting information now available it has expanded to a worldwide level.  Players of all sports are recruited from across the globe to play at American universities.  

Let's take a deeper look at these advancements and how they help those on the field and in the stands.

Impact On Athletes

Getting discovered just got a whole easier thanks to major improvements in technology.  A few decades ago recruiters would scour the country looking for elite athletes.  They would spend endless days driving to out of the way locations and still athletes would fall through the cracks.  Game footage was a rare commodity and once they got a hold of the footage it could be hard to share with the rest of the coaching staff that could be several states away.  

With the creation of VHS tapes players could send out their game footage much easier to schools in order to create interest in the student athlete.  They are hundreds of schools out there so it is nearly impossible to make sure that every coach has a chance to see that athlete play. 

Now with the further development in film and recording applications athletes can create and burn DVDs to share with prospective coaches.  Even faster than that is posting your highlight and skill tapes on the internet where any coach in the country can see the skills of an athlete right away.  Just post a video and send a link to the coach - quick and easy!

Highlight tapes used to be fairly grainy and shot from a single angle.  Now video editing options and high quality cameras can create action packed videos that use graphics and cut scenes to create a better impression.  Prep athletes now create huge buzz with their highlight videos before they even sign a letter of intent.  There are even websites like PlayNextLevel.com where players can create their own profile on the web and add videos so that schools can recruit them.  

Last year Travis Bogard from Redmond, WA created his own website in order to boost his recruiting for football.  The site worked as Bogard signed with Wyoming and his redshirting this year as he prepares to help the Cowboys offensive line in the future. 

An increasing number of athletes from Europe or elsewhere on the globe are playing in the NCAA. Wyoming has signed three recruits from Germany in the past two years.  American football is a very small sport in Germany but these athletes will be playing in Laramie because the coaching staff was able to view their highlight and workout videos on Youtube.  There is no way they would have flown all the way to Germany to even look at those players. 

When a player is deciding on what school they want to attend they can do a lot more research on the school, team and location much easier than before.  This can help the recruits make the right decision for them by have more information available to them.

Impact On Fans

Originally the newspaper was the only source for recruiting news.  Then came a few specialty publications that only came out a few times a year.  Next 900 numbers were created so fans could call in to get the latest scoop on recruiting news.  With the explosion of the internet and recruiting sites fans have instant access to their teams future stars.

Rivals and Scout are now the two leaders in the web based recruiting biz that has grown tremendously over the last decade.  Fans can browse profiles on recruits and see who else has offered as well as visit dates.  The actual football season only lasts three to four months.  Now recruiting news can fill that eight month gap between each season.  And recruiting happens pretty much all year long so there isn't a big slowdown.  

When an athlete does sign with a school then fans are able to find a highlight video and see exactly what they are capable of and make their own analysis.  Plus they can share the news with other fans via blog, message board or social media site.  There are now weekly shows on television that purely cover recruiting news and information.  

Highly recruited athletes will appear on these television shows and make their college decision in front of a national audience instead of just the local newspaper.  High School football games are also broadcast on cable networks in order to provide fans with early glimpses of future stars.  Often times people don't want care who wins the game they just want to see what "X" player can do on the field.     

***

Recruiting has changed dramatically over the last decade and will continue to evolve in the future.  Allowing more athletes to chance to earn a scholarship and get an education.  Fans are able to get the in depth information they crave on their team and keep holding on to that belief that next year their team really will be a contender next year. 

Well that concludes our three part look at growth in technology and sports.  If you are interested in reading the first two entries then check out the Enhance Your Experience section of Cowboy Altitude.

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