Editors Note: One April 12th of 2012 I wrote this. It stirred controversy, support, hate mail, and calls from all over the US. In the 9 months that have followed this we have seen another doubling of events like these Paid Combines mentioned here in. And I wish you could all know all I know. But you’ll have to take my word for it. The more of these Showcase Combines and “Hype Camps” the less Colleges are paying attention.
If everyone can go and get coverage and be lauded as the next great thing then no one is special. College Coaches have told me flat out that they do not care about combine scores and results because they do not believe them. They do not believe that someone who charges a significant amount of money to a kid and his parents can be or will be objective in what is written or put out there on them.
We asked the last 3 schools we talked to this question:
Do you pay attention to or look closely at the performance a kid has at a combine or showcase camp?
Answers as follows:
Oregon State Answer: No not really. We rarely if every look or even care. We recruit based on what we see from a kid either in person or at our camps primarily. There is way too much bad information out there now.
Boise State Answer: Not really. There is too much Hype out there anymore. We recruit very carefully and will only make an offer on kids we have seen up close and personal for the most part and Combines and Camp articles can not do that. Never could.
Idaho Answer: The results are hard to trust and confirm. A legitimate source maybe we look. But at n time will any recruiting determination be made on this information.
So the Combine in and of itself is not going to do much of anything. Again there are exceptions but very few of them. So please make sure to read the story below and understand there are a FEW that you may get exposure at a high enough level from legitimate Media in order to raise the status of your recruit. But there are Very Few of them.
So as Combine and Camp season settles in have a read or re-read and share this one with your friends and families and your team cause guys are stressing all over the map right now.
Combines Are Cash Registers And Can
Hurt More Then They Can Help!
This article is long overdue. And it is not something we take lightly here at NorthwestPrepReport and our Sister sites at WashingtonPreps and OregonPreps. But something has to be said and this is directed at all you parents and kids in the Pacific Northwest who we have covered and tried to look out for and written about tirelessly for 9 years now.
There is a money grab on. And people are after your money first and for most. Many of them don’t care what they need to say to get you to come out and compete.
You will be made to feel inadequate, left behind, or left out. You will be made to feel as if you have to go or you will have no shot. And you will be told if you come that “your life can change” and that your fortunes can turn in an instant. But the reality is that almost all of that is about ego and getting you to drop that “C” Note and not about reality.
I am talking about High School Football Combines.
They were once rare to find and few and far between and College Coaches used them for major recruiting events. Those days are over! This year alone there have already been several in the Pacific Northwest and by the end of the Summer there will have been at least 20. The issues at hand as we see them are that these events have lost their cache and their importance.
They really have.
And if you don’t believe that just ask any Coach from a Collegiate program.
“We could care less what a kid gets at a combine because we won’t trust those numbers. And that only tells us a little bit anyway. We recruit football players and athletes. Not numbers,” said one PAC 12 Coach we spoke to this week. “There is no reason for a parent or an athlete to get pre-occupied with a combine when the job at hand should be keeping grades up and finding ways to get to know collegiate programs first hand. No combine in the world will do that.”
Well said. But combines which include testing physical skills like the 40 yard dash, vertical leap, 20 yard shuttle, bench press, and broad jump among other things can be run by anyone and can be quite lucrative.
At a recent combine in the NW 60 plus athletes attended paying over $100 each for a chance to test and compete. That is all well good and fine. But there is another one up the road the week later and two in Seattle a week or two after that and soon there is just nothing but a lot of noise and no one paying attention that can really help the athlete sort out what his options are.
And what of the $6,000 dollars that mostly left town with the promoters? How much of that is retained by the public schools who let their Million dollar fields and facilities be used? Tough questions to ask but they need to be because it appears to be very very little.
So here is what we have to offer into the mix and we feel justified in saying these things because no one has seen this unfold here in the NW the way we have.
What you Need to know about Football Combines for High School Kids:
- There are no Collegiate Coaches at Combines. It is against the rules and regs. The only guys watching you are going to the the same guys charging you money and telling you your special. So take it for what it is.
- Your scores may or may not be reported. Everyone claims to send the scores out to Colleges Nationwide but few do. And what if they do but your numbers were bad. Now your chances are Hurt and not helped.
- Your scores can hurt you more then they help you. You can not control what is written down or displayed.
- If the scores are not reported by a reputable source they will never see the Coaches desk nor should they. They will be treated as SPAM.
- If the measurements are not done by electronic equipment they can fool you into a false sense of self. For instance a 4.46 on a hand held time is a 4.65 on a laser timer. This is a real problem for athletes that want to know where they stand with other top recruits in the region. Why pay to go to an event that can hurt you in the long run?
- The formula used by almost every Combine and camp group is to host a regional or small market event and then encourage the athlete to come to more and more and more events that will lead up to the Mega-Event at a location where kids from all of these smaller events meet and compete.
- Combines are held normally by companies who lack credentials and business licenses in the location they are holding them in and are held by people in most cases who have not had to endure background checks or scrutiny normally associated with High School Sports.
- Many are in violation of State laws potentially and have little or no verifiable proof of Insurance.
- MANY OF THESE EVENTS ARE USED AS A WAY TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE KIDS FOR ADDITIONAL BUSINESSES RUN BY THE COMBINE GROUP OR THEIR AFFILIATES. THESE EVENTS ARE FERTILE SOIL FOR UNSCRUPULOUS STREET AGENTS TO OFFER YOU OR YOUR ATHLETE THE RECRUITING PACKAGE. But don’t worry as you will only have to pay a few hundred or more then likely a few thousand.
Are we saying never go to one?
No not at all. Just do not pay very much and certainly take a hard look at what you are going to. By no means does it make sense to go to more and more of these events.
They are what they are; a chance to see how you stack up. But if you have D 1 Visions for your future you better get to a Combine or event like the Army All American Combine where you will be judged based on competition against the Nation’s best.
Here is a real world approach to this process and how you can help yourself.
- Talk to your High School Coach and ask them for their advice and input. Many of these combines and camps sort of sneak in and out of town and do not even contact High School Coaches as they know they will be run off and unwelcome. Go to Your Coach and Talk! In most cases you will get the straight scoop.
- Get to the NIKE SPARQ COMBINE held at Tigard High School. No one can touch Nike and SPARQ on this front. IT IS FREE!!!!! They use the latest and greatest electronic timers and measuring devices so be prepared. And the event is the best you can go to and we have been to them all. You have a good showing there you will raise your stock. The Nike and SPARQ Staff are the most seasoned and most experienced we have met anywhere and they see the Nation’s best every year at these the Nation’s biggest and premier events. We are lucky they come here. Info on this coming soon.
- If there is a Free event go if you have time. If they are charging much money look at the list of critiques we listed above and ask yourself if alarms are going off. Most likely any of these events will have this effect on you and you should immediately rethink your next move.
Lastly here is a great perspective we found from a guy named Joe Kenn who is a Dad, a Coach, a long time trainer, and a guy in the sports business.
“My biggest problem with high school combines is they make a tremendous amount of money on parents who aren’t truly in tune to a real recruiting process. I overheard several parents talking about attending up to five combines and one of their sons hadn’t even played a snap of varsity ball yet. Attending athletes are training specifically for combine tests, and combines are manufacturing results that don’t transfer to the game. Players are leaving themselves open to injury by not preparing for their sport. This isn’t a words win. You want a words win. Produce solid game tape! I should note that there is one caveat to this. If your son is a blue chip recruit, a specific combine may be needed to provide a shot at the main all-American games that are now played. However, these are generally invite-only combines.”
Combines are now a Dime a Dozen, are all about the money for the most part, and they play to the athletes and parents desires and Dreams. The events are not relevant with only rare exceptions. Athletes who are good students and exceptional football players get scholarships. The same guys who have always been at the forefront are still getting the scholarships. No combine will help you be that guy!
Believe me when I say we understand because I did all this stuff with my kids and we chased all these events and went to most of them. After a while few if any stand out as being worth the investment of time and money and we fell into the trap that Joe Kenn talks about above. We had our son train to do well in the combine events and he did that.
But the time and money we spent doing that taught him how to do things that college coaches cared little about and that did not prepare him to be a better football player.
In the end the best thing you can do for your kid is get him in front of Coaches who can help assess where you are at and get game film. If you do not do those things you had better be one of the above mentioned natural born Blue Chips.
We are here for you all you guys to tell the world your story better then anyone can through the Nations largest network. But if my words left you turned off then maybe….just maybe… the truth hit home.
Contact me anytime I can help any of you at 503-799-8383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best from me and the staffs at Oregon and NWPR, WashingtonPreps.com and the RivalsHigh Network!