How to Get Recruited Guide
So you want to play in college

So You Want to Play in College?

Interview #82 Part 2

In the first part of our interview with Cheri Naudin, she gave us incredible information about Verbal Commitments. Today she is going to tackle several issues including the role of the parent, how to recognize a good college fit and how to tell a good from a bad recruiting service.

Cheri Naudin is the owner of College Sports Advocates. She has been connecting high school players to college coaches for decades. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience working through the recruiting process. Her company is Collegiate Sports Advocate; a National Company designed to utilize their 40 years of Sports-Specific experience, guiding, consulting, recruiting, coaching, and training Student Athletes that desire to play Collegiate Sports.

What is your advice to parents throughout the recruiting process? What is their role?

This is the hardest part for parents to understand as it is a business on the back of their Student Athlete getting a valuable education and enjoying playing a game throughout the process. Parents want to insert themselves in and try to manipulate and sell their Student Athletes to the colleges. I have not met a College Coach, especially in the early recruiting side, that wants a parent calling or marketing their Student Athlete. Remember, this is where the parents fall down as they have a hard time taking off their parent glasses and seeing where their Student Athlete really “can” play. They are hopeful for the best possible outcome and usually by the Division not recognizing that their Student Athletes level of play is not to that particular standard. 

Parents also try to do the letter writing and investigating of the potential colleges and that is not a good method either. What the parent wants may not always be the right fit for the Student Athlete. Many times, the parents want the Student Athlete to stay close to home so they can go to games and still be a huge part of their lives, but sometimes it is in the Student Athletes best interest to go to the University that values them and gets them the best education available. 

I always use the questions, “So you’re saying if your Student Athlete gets an opportunity to compete in the Ivy League, you’re going to say it is too far to go for 4 years? That usually opens up a better discussion. CSA advises them according to their Academic fit too which gets them a better education than staying in their local area, sometimes. 

Parents need to hire an Agnostic Advisor, “Advocate” as putting their entire recruiting process in the hands of a travel coach or club is risky too because most Student Athletes change teams at some point during this elongated process. It is also risky to verbal with one travel coach and then go to another program to complete their travel ball career as the College Coach trust that coach in which they were playing for when they did verbal.

We try to support the Travel Ball Coaches, sending College Coaches over to see the Student Athlete’s play. We try to make the Travel Ball Coach the point of contact helping them gain relationships too. We are humble and consider ourselves part of the process as we want our Student Athletes playing for the best coaches in the business. 

What are the most important factors prospective college athletes and their families should consider when trying to figure out which schools might be a good fit?

We covered in many other parts of the questions but:

Academic Fit: What is their ACT/SAT? We advise Students to take these tests their first semester of their freshman year and we know they’ll learn more. This is a stake in the ground to have CSA advise them utilizing the trends we’ve seen in the past and recommend programs to help them get raised high enough to obtain their individual goals. We will recommend appropriate tutoring. If they wait to take it when their Academic Advisor suggests in their Junior Year, it puts pressure on the tools available to make a significant jump to being accepted. We have seen Student Athletes miss out on offers because they had not taken their tests yet, thus making it difficult for a College Coach to make them a presumption on whether they will get accepted in the University.   

Academic fit is so important as they will be a Student Athlete not just a regular attendee. The pressure is significant and most Universities have great resources to help them. However, you have to compete in the classroom too and obtain grades to maintain eligibility. 

There are so many questions to ask but the one that is most common is parents leaving the Student Athlete life because they didn’t get in to their school of choice instead of being a Student Athlete and getting a degree from another program. You can attend your school of choice for a Masters but missing out on being a Student Athlete wherever you can play I will always tell you is a great decision.

I heard a high level, high academic coach advise parents that if you don’t have the grades and test scores necessary TODAY and haven’t been told by a credible source that you CAN play at my program, please do not email me or come to my camp. Parents ignore the strict requirements academically that many of these programs have and think that they can overcome it by just studying. It is many times pure capabilities and educational preparedness not desire.

Financial costs: Most players do not receive 100% scholarship as the size of the teams are also larger than in the past. Many power 5 conference teams have rosters as large as 30+ and are sharing 11 scholarships. I have seen Universities with a 72K tuition per year. 

Faith based: Don’t be fooled by the religious name of the University’s door. The culture is more important and whether the staff is teaching the faith and culture that your Student Athlete desires. Some Universities don’t state a faith based approach but the Coaches live and breathe it so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Coach’s background and style: Have you seen them Coach their team and instruct their players? Usually this step is hard to see because Student Athletes have a harder time getting to their games during the same playing season. CSA strives to know the coaches and their styles to help determine a great fit. We believe this is where a lot of dissatisfaction happens for the Student Athlete as they see and interact with the College Coaches in the pursuit part of the recruiting but the reality of the College Coaches coaching style and the playing time and the actual game while in College might appear different when you’re wanting to be there versus actually being there. 

We see a lot of “Freshman Whine” where they get to school and now the amount of work and pressure and expectations is a lot more than what was perceived.   The parents aren’t there to make their lives perfect and the Student Athlete now has to earn it on their own under a new set of pressures and Coaches demands. 

Time Management and Life Coping Skills: The Student Athlete really has to be elite in all categories. It takes time management and life skills to make it through a Student Athlete’s journey. Parents need to teach these skills and accountability before they get to College. They need to know how to overcome obstacles and to compete in and out of the classroom. 

The helicopter parents: These parents are now being called snow plow parents because they have a reputation of coming in and clearing the path for these Student Athletes. We hear excuses in the journey as they didn’t have time to do something that is a priority because they had homework but they surely had time to be on Social Media. They need to learn to prioritize their time.

Social Media: This is one of the most talked about subjects with so much at risk and the Student Athletes continue to amaze us. “Helllooooo, your social media tells a story, it is your brand, it shows who you hang out with and what your priorities are and what you value”… At their age it is a hard lesson but we have College Coaches telling us daily stories of Social Media disasters. Parents need to teach all the Social Skills and we are also asking our Student Athletes to be on our pages so we can further guide them on appropriateness. 

Recruiting services cost a lot of money. In what ways do you see recruiting services being worth the cost?

I think this is where CSA was strategically developed as we overcome a lot of the flaws of other recruiting methods. We develop an individual path and instruct each Student Athlete on their own individual journey and stay with them through Graduation of College. This is a paramount benefit and worth every penny because of all the aspects of the 8-10 years in the recruiting process.

If they can’t afford CSA services we find it hard to believe that they can afford college. The chance of a Student Athlete going down the wrong path or making big decisions without a lot of knowledge can be costly. Many spend our fee just chasing the initial camps never understanding why they’re not getting offers. Others think that the more national brands have history but find that the staff turnover leaves Student Athletes in portals waiting to be found by College Coaches.

We’re told over and over by College Coaches that they do not organically search into databases unless it is a last ditch effort and even then they’re reach out to their credible sources to help them find the Student Athlete. This is a relationship business built on years of credibility and results and the College Coaches know who to trust.

When athletes and their parents are looking into recruiting services, how can they tell a “good” one from a “bad” one?

We always advice parents to do their homework. Don’t just listen to a strong pitch and believe what they say, investigate it for yourselves. Credible firms post their verbal’s, commitments and graduates! Many firms are built on the income and numbers not on the results. READ their contracts and make sure it matches their sales pitch. It is a relationship business built on credibility and reliability and results. Measure them with facts!

Cheri Naudin has provided such incredible information for us. I wanted to give her a chance to share about her company, Collegiate Sports Advocate. I receive no benefit if you use her service and don’t have a recommendation for if you utilize Collegiate Sports Advocate. I can tell you, I have known Cheri online for a while and recently had the chance to speak with her on the phone for an hour. She is an intelligent, outgoing and wonderful lady who cares deeply for the athletes she works with.

What are the specific or unique benefits for an athlete to use Collegiate Sports Advocate?

  • We create an individual plan for each Student Athlete.
  • College Coaches love us and know our brand, they love and recognize our logo, we’re consultative, not pushy, we get them to see our Student Athletes play. We don’t sell false metrics to try to impress College Coaches.
  • We’re all about the relationship.
  • We know our sports, we all played College Sports, Coached College Athletes or have been recruiting for many years.
  • We are honest and genuine with our families. Parents need us as much at the Student Athletes just to understand the journey. We provide valuable information to families
  • Accountability Partner, we are guiding them on when and what to email and check in on their grades and requirements. Even their Social Media is viewed by us.
  • We are truthful as to where the Student Athlete “CAN” play.
  • We promote our Student Athletes out bound promotion.
  • We develop our Student Athletes skills.
  • We attend tournaments that our Student Athletes play in and THEN talk to College Coaches.
  • We make the Travel Ball Coaches the hero.
  • Our focus is on the Student Athletes, not ourselves.
  • We create relationships with tournament directors and camp hosters.
  • We are humble, and supportive.
  • Everything we do is to make the Student Athlete the WINNER!
  • We attend College games so we know where our Student Athletes CAN play.
  • We dress professionally. We are proud of our image.
  • We are clean cut and conservative.
  • We’re honest and real with our evaluations.
  • We ask the College Coaches for feedback.
  • We’re approachable to College Coaches and Families.
  • No Territories because we’re about the relationship with the family.
  • We work together as Advocates, as a team to support each other.
  • They love our Calendar as we teach our Student Athletes time management skills too.
  • We are about the RELATIONSHIP.

What is the role of Collegiate Sports Advocate with a family, once they have signed up with you?

We connect every week and text depending on the events before and after each game. We have quarterly reviews. We guide them through the camp process, the Unofficial and Official visits. We guide them through the offer and the signing process. We are there for them when and if they run into issues in College. We are available to help counsel and guide the families through their unique journey.

Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes as they navigate the recruiting process?

We are always encouraging them to be the best ATHLETE, eat and train like a Collegiate ATHLETE. Get the grades necessary to be a STUDENT ATHLETE. Be the best Teammate and be open to learning and growing to be the best YOU. It is an elite opportunity so trying to be a multi-sport collegiate athlete is probably not a great approach for the mass but enjoy your high school sports but fine tune and hone your athletic skills to be recruit-able. Most of all be a QUALITY human being.  Having quality character will take your farther for the rest of your lives.


College Sports AdvocatesCollegiate Sports Advocate is a National Company designed to utilize their 40 years of Sports-Specific experience, guiding, consulting, recruiting, coaching, and training Student Athletes that desire to play Collegiate Sports. CSA develops an individual plan for each Student Athlete that helps them navigate the recruiting experience as each Student Athlete has their own path and their own journey. We proactively communicate with College Coaches by attending major tournaments and events. CSA utilizes updated marketing and training techniques to provide the Student Athlete with the most dynamic exposure in the industry. We are truly an Advocate for the Student Athlete guiding the entire family through the process.  Our goal is to see the Student Athlete Graduate College and “enjoy” their Student Athletic opportunity by helping them find the right match!

Next, check out: Are You Sure You Are Really Being Recruited?


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