As a college scout for National Scouting Report, I often get a lot of face time with college coaches, and one of the more noteworthy comments I received over the summer is how much these coaches appreciate our scouts not “chasing the bumper sticker.”
What does that mean?
College coaches see and recognize the value of a scouting organization that focuses more on the athlete and less on force-fitting everyone to only big-name or Division I schools. They appreciate an organization, National Scouting Report, that first and foremost identifies and prioritizes the best college fit for its prospects.
Perception vs. Reality: Identifying the Best Fit
Our primary focus, as scouts in the field, is to identify the perfect fit academically, financially, spiritually, socially, and of course athletically — not to simply shovel every prospect to big-name schools despite the athlete’s (and family’s) best collective interest. As a scout, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a big-time D-I school or a small liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere. What does matter is that the families, when they make their final decisions on a college, are extremely happy with the school that they felt was best for their child.
Many times, athletes are convinced they should go to the highest level possible, even though that might not be the best fit for them. But one of the things we like to do at NSR is make sure the prospect and their family completely understand the situation. Taking all things into consideration, you have to ask yourself certain questions like:
Will I get to play as a freshman?
How will my athletic schedule fit in with my academic schedule?
Do I like the coaches and team?
For most athletes, this is the last four years they’ll ever play, so choosing a school with immediate playing time might be a better option. For others, the ratio of academic options vs. athletics may land higher on the priority list.
Student first. Athlete second.
When you’re searching for a college, be sure to include all the factors in your life. They call it a student-athlete for a reason — you’re a student first. So if you feel a big-time D-I school is the right fit for you, that’s great. But if that doesn’t suit your individual situation, there are more than 4,700 other schools that could be a potential fit. It’s just a matter of finding the right one. When all is said and done, and you choose the perfect fit for you, you can put a bumper sticker on your car and be proud of that.
About Area Director, Brendan Kennedy
Brendan grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, where he started organized sports at the age of four. He was a standout baseball player throughout his childhood. While in high school, Brendan played baseball and football, where he captained both during his senior year, where he was ultimately an All-Area player in football and All-State in baseball. He went on to play baseball in college at Ball State but his career was cut short due to knee injuries from catching. After his playing career, he began to pursue coaching. Brendan started out as a catching coach for Muncie Central in Indiana, and after graduating, he returned to Connecticut where he continued to coach at a variety of levels. He coached AAU, high school, travel ball, as well as ran instructional camps in New York and Connecticut. Brendan currently resides in Kennebunk, Maine with his wife Desiree and two children.