How to Get Recruited Guide

Lessons From the College Admissions Scandal

The college admissions scandal is so ludicrous you’ve probably laughed – at least once. Can you even imagine sending in photos or game film of someone else’s athlete in order to get your own teen recruited? Would you consider writing a check for a $200,000 bribe? I bet most of you wish you had that kind of money in your bank account but would never consider blatantly lying and cheating to get your kids into college.

If you’re a Recruiting Code reader your kid’s a REAL athlete. However, the college recruiting process is hard, confusing, and stressful. You may never pay bribes or falsify documents. But it’s easy to lose sight of the most important qualities in a recruit and cheat your child in the process.

The qualities that matter guarantee you’ll never be the butt of the joke. When your teen puts in the hard work, focuses on character, and honestly markets themselves to college coaches they’ll have a college position, and a life, they can be proud of.

The Cheaters

Madison Malone Kircher at the Intelligencer did a remarkable job compiling a list of what every kid in the college admission scandal knew about the scam.

Here are the juicy tidbits about the families whose kids were “recruited” to play sports. There is a lot more information about these families, how they manipulated the system, and cheated on ACT and SAT scores.

As the parent of a real athlete, what do you think when you read these?

  • A family falsified a soccer player profile to get their daughter into UCLA.
  • How about using a cheerleading photo used to be admitted as a lacrosse player at USC?
  • Or instead, use someone else’s pool photo, and a bribe, to get the USC water polo coach to recruit your daughter.
  • A bribe of $200,000 was enough to have a daughter listed as a USC basketball recruit. Of course, a fake injury would be the cover story to explain why she never played in a game.
  • Your high school doesn’t have a football team? No problem. Try Photoshop.
  • Whether you have ever rowed or only posed on an ergometer for a photo doesn’t matter when the picture comes with a half-million dollars attached. The USC crew team will “recruit” you.

None of these kids had the academic prowess to be admitted to Georgetown, UCLA, USC, or other schools based on their own – their real – test scores. Along with falsified test scores, the parents used the athletic recruiting process to get their kids admitted to these colleges.

When a coach needs a player, that affects the admissions process. That’s real life. These coaches took money and lied about recruiting the applicants, paving the way for the fake athletes to be admitted to the school.

None of these kids ever saw the court or the water. In real life, these kids weren’t pretending to be athletes. They couldn’t have.

Are you pretending?

Is your teen pretending to be something they are not?

I am certain none of you are involved in cheating to get your children admitted to colleges or bribing coaches. If you were, you certainly wouldn’t be putting in the work to learn how to get them recruited. You wouldn’t be reading The Recruiting Code.

But is your child pretending to be a better athlete than they are? Or a better student? Is your child aiming for an athletic program far beyond their ability?

Let me recommend three things to you as you approach the college recruiting process.

1. Work hard

First of all, nothing replaces hard work.

“Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.” John Wooden

If your child wants to play in college, there are no shortcuts. If they want to be the best, there is no easy way. Nothing replaces hard work.

Your child needs to put in the very hard work at practice every day. Your child needs to work hard in the classroom. There is no easy way.

In order to be a top recruit, there is no shortcut. You work at recruiting – real recruiting – the same way your child works at athletics and academics. This kind of hard work will never be trendy, but you’ll never end up in the middle of another college admissions scandal. You’ll know what real success feels like.

Real success may never make the headlines. But then again, it might.

Imitate great athletes

Two of my basketball favorites are Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Their hard work is as legendary as the success that followed them. (Yeah, I know. Maybe not great in every way. But on the court…)

Searching for examples of the kind of work that made them great, I came across an article by Scott Davis in Business Insider. I thought it was fabulous. I pulled a few examples from Davis’ superb article. If your athlete wants to be great, have them read Davis’ article and ask them if they really want to put in the work greatness requires.

Read it point-by-point. Quote-by-quote. Ask your teen if they work like this? Is this something they can imitate? What can they change?

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever. Kobe Bryant idolized him. In return, Jordan said Kobe was the only one to ever work as hard as Jordan.

Kobe Bryant worked hard

Kobe’s work ethic first showed up when he was in high school, long before he was an NBA player. He would show up for practice at 5 am. He practiced longer and harder than every other player.

And this continued throughout his NBA career. His workout schedule is legendary. He practiced making shots, hundreds of times over. He was in the gym hours before the other professional players rolled out of bed. Former NBA coach Byron Scott commented,

“I heard the ball bouncing. No lights were on. Practice was at about 11, it was probably about 9, 9:30. And I go out to the court and I look, and there’s Kobe Bryant. He’s out there shooting in the dark. And I stood there for probably about ten seconds, and I said, ‘This kid is gonna be great.”

Kobe Bryant didn’t just show up for hours of extra practice, he put in the effort to take care of his body as well. He ate foods like chicken, vegetables, Greek yogurt, quinoa, and green tea. He drinks water. Missing from the list are things like sugar, chips, and pizza. Bryant told ESPN:

“There aren’t really any supplements that I’m taking from that perspective. What I’ve done really is just train really hard and watch my diet. I think that’s the thing that catches guys most. They don’t do self assessing.”


Are you and your teen willing to self-assess? Assess your child’s work ethic: on the court, at their school desk, or in front of the fridge.

But that’s not enough. Ask yourself if you and your athlete are willing to put in the hard work to get them recruited. I’m not talking about photoshopping skills.

I’m talking about doing things that are even harder. Making phone calls, sending emails, and building relationships with college coaches. I’ve written hundreds of blog posts coaching you through this. I’ve told you exactly how to do it in How to Get Recruited. You don’t have to worry that you’re doing it wrong and missing opportunities. How to Get Recruited can give you the confidence to know you’re doing it right. You put in the hard work.

No shortcuts. No easy way. Just hard work and genuine success.

2. Character matters

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden

Cheating, lacking integrity, taking shortcuts, or having a bad attitude will all eventually catch up with you. You may shortcut your way to apparent success, but in the long term, you will have to look in the mirror and face up to the fact that your life is a fraud. If you are lucky, it will only be you and the dying heart within you that must face reality. More likely, as in the case of the admissions scandal, other people will find out that your success has been a fraud and it will come crashing down around you. Your status as a Youtube influencer suddenly doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Be honest. Avoid lies. Avoid stretching the truth. Never have your teen pretend to be something they aren’t.

Tell the truth

In How to Get Recruited I layout how to design a player profile, create highlight film, and talk to college coaches. I never tell you to lie. I never tell you to boost your stats or lie on your profile. The college admissions scandal is all about lies.

There will be a real temptation to pretend that your athlete is more than they actually are. While most of us will not go to the extreme of paying five- and six-digit bribes, we will be tempted to bend the truth.

Don’t go there.

The truth will come out. I hope your athlete doesn’t end up on a team where they don’t belong. I hear a lot of stories of kids who make a college roster and are done within a year because they couldn’t compete at that level. For your child’s sake be honest with coaches from the beginning so your child ends up at a college, and on a roster, where they fit in and can enjoy their athletic career.

A common adage is, “Fake it, ‘til you make it.” This may work in some areas of life, but not athletics. You can only fool a college coach for so long. When the truth comes out, on the court or field, your child’s world will fall apart.

3. Your child needs to market themselves

Finally, your child needs to market themselves, not sell themselves.

Don’t sell the soul of your child’s integrity through the recruiting process.

So, what is the right way to get a college coach to recruit your child?

Most importantly, getting recruited is all about being proactive and building relationships. College coaches won’t know your child is alive unless your child lets them know, sometimes repeatedly.

Build relationships with college coaches

College coaches recruit kids with whom they have a relationship. Starting today, you need to give your athlete a strategy to develop that relationship. In How to Get Recruited I have given you a complete roadmap to the recruiting process. You can be confident that your son or daughter will be offered a roster spot or a scholarship. There are just two variables. First, you need to make an honest assessment of your child’s ability and contact the right kind of schools. The second variable is your work ethic. Will your child contact coaches and work to develop relationships?

Sorry, third-party recruiting agencies, are just that: third parties. Coaches don’t want a relationship with your child through a third party.

Sometimes using a recruiting service makes sense, though it always costs a lot of money. A good recruiting service can “introduce” your child to college coaches. The service may have access to a great coach. But there are a lot of bad recruiting services out there. The bad ones will make you promises that are all lies. Choose carefully. Always consider the recruiting service the starting point, then be willing to have your child put in their own effort.

Trust is a key component of athletic recruiting

Coaches want to get to know your child. Again, I emphasize, college coaches invite student-athletes they know onto their teams. They offer scholarships to young people they trust. Trust earns your child invitations to quality schools and scholarship offers.

If you’re ready to put in the hard work and get your athlete recruited, but aren’t sure where to start, check out the How to Get Recruited Guide. It gives you a step-by-step process that gives you all the knowledge you need to help your child become a college athlete. You can be confident you’re doing the very best for your teen!

Or you can fake it. Maybe you won’t notice when the real athletes are laughing at you.


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