Recruiting Process

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					    Division I Men’s Basketball Recruiting
Strategies: Separating High-majors from Mid-
                    majors

           Chad Seifried, Ph.D., RAA
           The Ohio State University
     Introduction

• Competitive advantage and organizational effectiveness
• Better at recruiting = create and sustain competitive advantage
• Institutions must continually seek to gain or sustain competitive
  advantages against their rivals by resolving or creating recruiting
  inequities.
• Practice innovative and effective recruiting strategies
• Imperative for those involved in the recruiting process to
  understand the strategies competing institutions utilize to influence
  prospective student-athletes choice of institution so they may better
  align themselves in the competitive recruiting marketplace.
• Frequently, this pursuit triggers schools to dedicate a tremendous
  amount of their athletic budget toward recruiting (Cunningham,
  2003; Funk, 1991).
      Purpose and Significance

• Identify tactics and strategies Division I men’s basketball programs
  generally employ to attract/recruit prospective student-athletes to
  their institution and a rationale for their use.
• Differentiate those strategies employed by “high-major” and “mid-
  major” institutions
• Process of recruiting student-athletes receives little attention by
  research investigators and even fewer investigate the strategies by
  which institutions attract/recruit student-athletes to their institution
  (Bouldin, Stahura, & Greenwood, 2004; Klenosky, Templin, &
  Troutman, 2001).
   – The limited literature demonstrates no one specific strategy or
      emerges as appropriate for the recruitment of all student-athletes
      because numerous factors influence student-athletes choice of
      institution (Baumgartner, 1999; Bouldin et al., 2004; Fizel &
      Bennett, 1996; Hultz, 1998; Klenovsky et al., 2001).
• Vital information to athletic programs to help them design their
  recruiting game plans
      Method

• Purposive sample used from 30 Division I men’s
  basketball institutions in 20 conferences
   – Purposive sampling acts as a powerful method to gather subtle
     and important information or behaviors from a specific and
     generally difficult to recruit group (i.e. coaches).
   – Generalizability and Limitations
   – Utilized personal contacts screened for eligibility
• Materials asked for included: recruiting philosophies,
  strategic plans, and any paperwork developed or
  required to assist coaches during the recruiting process.
   – Follow-up phone calls to arrange for materials and clear up what
     “recruiting materials” encompassed
• High and Mid-major label
      Method

• Content Analysis- systematic examination of written, audio,
  or visual policy, guidelines, and philosophies to express the
  special intensity or depth of feeling describe the work
  communicates (Holsti, 1969; Salant & Dillman, 1994;
  Stemler, 2001).
• Triangulation of materials from institutions
• Overall, seek to extract themes from the materials collected
• Utilized expert reviewers to examine the recruiting
  information obtained.
   – Three expert reviewers are former/current assistant coaches in
     Division I men’s basketball. These individuals possess over 40
     years of experience and recruited hundreds of student-athletes to
     their institutions. Furthermore, these individuals all worked at
     institutions labeled as high and mid-major.
    Develop a Plan of Attack

• Establish areas to recruit based on previous success
   – Schools are very specific because they have to be
     (not everybody’s wallet is the same size)
      • Southeast High-major v. Pacific NW Mid-major
   – Limiting variables
      • Money
      • Academics match
      • Travel
          – Domestic
          – International
        Early Identification

• What age group are we talking about?
• Direct Observation
   – Members of Coaching Staff
   – Friends of Program
   – Former Coaches/Players
   – Scouting Services
       • High-majors more likely to utilize/comment
       • Make comments about ability of players (position, athletic
         ability, skill level, etc..)
       • Some are better than others
       • Some positioned better for certain types of areas or student-
         athlete (i.e. junior college or high school)
   – Current Div. II, III, and High School Coaches
       • Mid-majors more likely to utilize
      Early Identification

• Camps and Clinics
   – Some are better or more highly thought of than others
     (Nike, ABCD, Five Star for Basketball)
   – Chance for Direct observation live or through video
   – Team, Individual, Position, and Evaluation camps
   – Chance to build contacts with high school and other
     coaches (i.e. special guest speakers)
   – Frequently held during school/sport quiet periods so it
     gives institutions/schools a chance to talk when they
     usually wouldn’t be allowed
   – Unanimously cited and used by all programs surveyed
       Player Evaluations

• Personality match with program/institution
   – Needs of program (Graduation, improve team chemistry or
     overall talent, strip rivals of talent, enhance future recruiting
     possibilities)
   – Common Demographic Data
   – Height, weight, test scores, g.p.a., important family members
   – Institutions will vary on thoroughness
       • Some more personal information and some more athletic
         information
• Prospect’s Athletic Ability
   – Scoring Range
   – Quickness
   – Aggressiveness
   – Position(s)
   – Coachability- what is this?
   – Other general skills (practice player?, physical appearance)
   Mailings

• Questionnaires
  – Sent out in 10th or 11th grade
  – Much like evaluation information
  – Other information includes; other outstanding
    players competed against, AAU/JO events and
    Camps attending, name of school and coaches
  – Are highly valuable because they are easily updated
    from one year to the next
  – All programs utilized
     Letters

• Hand Written vs. Form/Computerized
   – Hand perceived to be special
      • More utilized by High-major
   – # of personalized letters dependent upon desirability
     of recruit
      • Highly prized (3 handwritten), next level (1
         handwritten), all others (computer)
   – Accompanied by news article clipping
      • Focused on coach, player’s position, institution
         itself
     Phone Contact

• Sell strong points of program, institution, city, academic
  program
   – All programs utilized
• Make call from a comfortable place
• Record every piece of information
   – This helps the staff later for the building of better
     conversations with recruit
   – Education on sales techniques
• Data Collection
   – For NCAA
   – For Personal Records
   – Highly valuable for building personal relationships
   – Recommended all coaches get involved
       Home Visits

• Confirmation Letter and Phone call prior to visit
• Tailor presentation to recruit
   – Friend of family and others
   – Academic Catalog
   – Handouts about recruits academic interests
   – Address questions about class size, academic monitoring, grad.
      rate, etc..
• Discuss housing options, tickets, travel, schedule, television,
  tournaments, success of conference or institution etc..
• Negative Recruiting?
• Address scholarship and playing time
   – Be honest
• Check NCAA rules and regulations
     Campus Visits

• Itinerary
   – Detail every aspect of trip
   – Important because of limited time NCAA allows for
      official visit
   – What are some items you would include as part of the
      itinerary?
• Meet important people in academic and athletic programs
   – Instructors/professors
   – Coaches
   – Trainers (Athletic and Strength)
   – Academic Support
   – Prospective Teammates
        • Player Hosts
    Summary

• For the most part, recruiting practices appear similar
  between high and mid-major programs.
   – Commonly created a strategic plan to identify the
     types of student-athletes they want and where they
     intend to recruit.
   – Established organized lines of communication
     through the different mailings, evaluation forms, and
     telephone conversations to identify recruits and
     evaluate a potential match to their needs.
   – Created attractive “sales” presentations for home and
     campus visits also surfaced as a major tactic.
     Summary

• High-majors appear more knowledgeable about specific
  scouting services
• Mid-major programs appear more likely to rely on lower
  level programs than high-majors.
   – Lower division programs often compete for the same
     caliber of student-athlete mid-majors recruit.
• Mid-majors generally appear to possess significantly
  smaller recruiting budgets
   – Spend little recruitment money towards the national
     scene. Instead spend their valuable time and energy
     on recruiting close to home and identifying talent as
     early as possible.
   – Relationship building terribly important
     Summary

• High-major programs appear to utilize the handwritten letter more
  than their mid-major counterparts.
   – Finances and mid-major programs typically possess less
     auxiliary staff members than their high-major peers.
   – Some institutions admitted they possessed little time to produce
     a preferred larger number of letters because of other
     administrative demands.
• Negative Recruiting
   – Tactics used against competitors to discredit their reputation.
     Dixon et al. (2003) found institutions discredit their competition
     by attacking their academic reputation, travel accommodations,
     facilities, and coaching staff members (Dixon et al., 2003).
   – Found nothing addressing this concept
   – Literature suggests it occurs during recruiting practices (Dixon
     et al., 2003).

				
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