Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bluechip featured in Sports Business Daily article - 2/4/09

Bluechip Athletic Solutions was featured in a recent article in Sports Business Daily.
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Entrepreneurs Entering College Football Recruiting Process

Published February 4, 2009

Today marks National Signing Day for high school football players, and there is a "new breed of entrepreneurs inserting themselves into college football recruiting," according to Evans & Thamel of the N.Y. TIMES. Brian Butler, who serves as the trainer and manager for top high school football player RB Bryce Brown, on a Web site "sells updates of Brown's recruitment for $9.99 a month or $59 a year." Butler also "seeks contributions that he says are used to take players on a tour of colleges each summer." Some observers have said that Butler is "navigating gray areas of NCAA rules and brokering his clients' futures for personal gain," but others have said that he is "providing his clients with exposure they would not normally receive by leveraging connections he has made ... to create a market for lesser players." Many people in college football "question whether it is ethical for recruiting advisers to sell information on their players." ESPN and Scouts Inc. National Recruiting Dir Tom Luginbill: "We've got to the point where a handler or a street agent starts a Web site to charge money for an update. I'm not in line with that. I think that is a precedent that could become very scary and very ugly." Butler said that he would "explore the possibility of Brown's skipping college and going to the [CFL] next season if approached by a team," and he "mentioned the idea of a team paying Brown $5[M] a year for three years." But Evans & Thamel note the "salary cap for entire CFL teams" is C$4.2M (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). Butler said that Brown "receives none of the profits" of his efforts. Butler: "If they want to make sure that every flow of information is being written correctly, this way they are saying exactly what they want to say" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/3).

OUTSOURCING: In Raleigh, Ken Tysiac reported college football programs increasingly are "outsourcing their recruiting homework to private companies willing to provide game film, player evaluations and potential recruits' contact information for a price." A "huge majority" of Football Bowl Subdivision schools are subscribing to "at least some recruiting services." Companies like Bluechip Athletic Solutions and Cybersports "help college coaches build computer databases of prospects and facilitate contact with recruits via mail or e-mail." Others, like Scouting Evaluation Association, Forbes Recruiting Evaluation and Levi, Ray & Shoup "provide game film, evaluations and contact information on prospects." These companies "provide college coaches a legal end-around on NCAA restrictions, offering valuable recruiting information at times when coaches are prohibited from scouting the players themselves." NCAA Associate Dir of Public & Media Relations Stacey Osburn in an e-mail said that NCAA rules "allow schools to subscribe to scouting services as long as the service is made available to all schools and the same fee rate applies for all subscribers" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 2/1).

GETTING DIGITAL: In Denver, Paul Willis reported a "growing number of athletes and coaches are gravitating toward the technological trend," which has "eased some of the economic strains of recruiting." Sites like beRecruited.com are offering high school athletes the "opportunity to upload videos, update their statistics and essentially make a pitch to colleges as to why they'd be a good fit for their program." BeRecruited.com has "about 400,000 users," and of those, an "estimated 350,000 are athletes, the remainder college and high school coaches." Other recruiting sites like ncsasports.org and takkle.com also "specialize in matching potential recruits with coaches" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/1). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Iliana Limon reported Bluechip Athletic Solutions has produced www.olearypsiphi.com, a recruiting site for the Central Florida (UCF) football program. Hip-hop artist Young Jeezy's "I Put On" plays on the site as UCF highlights "roll on a small screen," and the "sleek Web site features a wide array of promotional videos designed to reach out to recruits." Bluechip offers "high-end marketing and promotional services known as techno recruiting to 35 colleges" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/3).

BREAKING THE BANK: In Atlanta, Todd Holcomb reports the "cost of luring the top talent has doubled for many schools from a decade ago." Some schools "spend more than $500,000 on recruiting" each year, but they "make more than $50[M] in annual athletic revenue, mostly from football." Georgia's football recruiting expenses for FY '08 totaled $523,056, and Georgia Tech's football recruiting budget was $805,342. Defending national champion Florida spent $506,673 on football recruiting (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/4).

KIDS GAME: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman reported the NCAA Legislative Council last month "lowered the grade-level age of 'recruitable' boys' basketball prospects from ninth to seventh." The intent of the new rule is to "prevent overzealous college coaches from overstepping bounds and getting a leg up in the recruiting process as they solicit middle school students." The NCAA, by "implementing the rule and getting younger players" on its radar, can now "monitor and regulate college coaches' contacts and visits with seventh- and eighth-graders, as they do with high school students." NCAA Managing Dir of Academic & Membership Services Steve Malone: "The need to nip this in the bud was overwhelming" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/3).
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bluechip featured in Orlando Sentinel article - 2/3/09


Bluechip Athletic Solutions was featured in the recent article in the Orlando Sentinel about UCF & George O’Leary utilizing Bluechip’s custom websites to aid  in recruiting. The full article is featured below:

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UCF, state schools using Bluechip Athletic Solutions Web site to recruit
By Iliana Limon, Sentinel Staff Writer

UCF Coach George O'Leary and rapper Young Jeezy are a peculiar match.

This odd couple somehow strikes the right chord on the Knights' recruiting Web site, www.olearypsiphi.com.

Young Jeezy's "I Put On" plays as UCF highlights roll on a small screen. The sleek Web site features a wide array of promotional videos designed to reach out to recruits.

It's all produced by Bluechip Athletic Solutions, a company that offers high-end marketing and promotional services known as techno recruiting to 35 colleges to give them a major leg up in recruiting battles.

UCF, Florida State, Florida and USF all rely on the company to help catch recruits' attention.

The Knights have been clients since 2006.

"I always tell football coaches they have the hardest job in America because they're expected to be a phenomenal coach, savvy marketer to get the community behind their program and a great recruiter, which we all know is really being a great salesman," said Steve Kennedy, the Atlanta-based company's founder and CEO.

"It's really rare that you meet a coaching staff that's at the expert level at all three areas. You're hiring for X's and O's, not because he can create a nice brochure."

High school seniors who select schools on National Signing Day on Wednesday will make their decisions based on more than just glitzy marketing material, but the professionally designed brochures, Web sites and football camp registration forms all help get recruits' attention.

Edgewater senior safety Henry Wright, who committed to the Knights, said he received a lot of recruiting material from the UCF about upcoming games, highlights from previous matchups, academic information and regular updates featuring quotes from famous coaches such as Vince Lombardi.

"I got some of the same stuff from South Carolina, but it seemed like UCF's stuff was a little nicer," Wright said.

Schools are stepping up and paying for that intangible good feeling. Recruits may not always notice the best-looking recruiting material, but it's a big problem when they can pick out the worst.

Kennedy said schools pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from $500 to $4,500 for Bluechip's services.

"We help them develop the best ways to reach their target market," Kennedy said.

Bluechip can constantly update its Web sites, creating new pages honoring the Gators after Florida won the BCS national title game.
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