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May 26, 2011

The cost of recruiting

Recruiting is a lot different than it used to be.

In the "old days," coaches would simply visit prospects at their school, watch a couple of videos or maybe arrange for a player to make a visit to check out the program himself. Although those are certainly methods programs like Georgia employ to annually restock their football rosters, with increased early competition for recruits, it's become imperative that programs adapt their ways to stay on the cutting edge.

With college offers going out earlier and earlier, so much so that an offer delivered in the spring of a junior year can be called late, the Georgia coaching staff has to use every means at their disposal to maximize their research and scouting results. The trouble is the different recruiting services which provide this technology cost money.

But the Bulldog football program has shown it's not afraid to spend.

In the past three years to date, Georgia has spent a total of $118,256 on various services to provide Mark Richt's program with information, videos, statistical information, and more, on prospective student athletes.

Some it is as simple as reading interviews with the "PSA"s, as they are called in official NCAA terms, conducted by media outlets, in other instances it is exclusive video, and in others information about grades and other details about prospects.

Georgia officials provided invoices of these expenditures to UGASports.com following a Freedom of Information request earlier this week.

According to information received, Georgia spent $42,245 in 2008, $41,849 in 2009 and $21,643 in 2010. So far in 2011, Georgia has paid $12,519.00 to Levi, Ray and Shoup (LRS Sports, Inc.), a company located in Springfield, Ill. which the Bulldogs also paid $4,800 in 2009.

The use of recruiting services by major programs recently made national news when the NCAA started looking at some of the more dubious services after it was shown that the University of Oregon paid Willie Lyles and his Complete Scouting Service $25,000 for video of running back Lache Seastrunk, who eventually signed with the Ducks.

Invoices accrued by UGASports show that Georgia has had no dealings with Complete Scouting Service in the past three years.

"Our policy is that the compliance office reviews recruiting services before being used/purchased," Georgia compliance director Eric Baumgartner said in an email Thursday morning.

So where does the $118,223 over the past three years compare to other SEC schools? According to a recent report by the Birmingham-News, Alabama spent more than $218,000 during that time frame with Auburn spending $99,000.

Georgia's biggest business partner among the recruiting services continues to be Bluechip Athletic Solutions, LLC out of Atlanta. Georgia spent $35,500 on the service in 2008, $35,700 in 2009 and $11,000 in 2010.

According to the company's website, Bluechip Athletic Solutions "provides a unique blend of marketing strategy, technology and support services designed to help collegiate coaches showcase their program." The site says that 20 of its FBS clients finished with recruiting classes ranked in the Top 25. Rivals.com rated Georgia's 2011 signing class the nation's fifth best, behind Alabama, Florida State, Texas and Southern Cal.

Another payment of $1,250 was made to NorCal Football Scouting for DVDs of top junior college prospects from California and Arizona.

In 2008, a payment of $1,995 was made to Rivals.com for staff subscriptions to a program known as RivalsCoach, which according to Rivals.com recruiting editor Chad Carson, included an option for updates on prospects the school followed sent to their email. Georgia no longer subscribes to Rivals after the NCAA recently ruled in a bylaw revision that Rivals and other subscription-based college/recruiting sites fall into the category of a "Recruiting Service" and that its member schools would be in violation of those rules unless the service is also provided to the public at the same rate for coaches. The NCAA stated that the revision was put into place to prevent coaches from subscribing to recruiting services that charge for video showing athletes competing in non-scholastics events like 7-on-7 football competitions and AAU basketball.

"The main issue with the NCAA is the video of prospects, particularly schools paying for video of prospects competing at non-scholastic events and camps," Carson said. "While we don't even run our own events and make our camp video from Nike events, etc. free content, the NCAA is saying Rivals falls into that category and schools should not subscribe."

Recruiting Service Expenditures

2011

February 17, Levi, Ray and Shoup (LRS Sports, Inc.), $12,519
Tier 1 Reports with Video/DVD for Ga., Fla. Tier 1 Reports for Ala., Mississippi., South Carolina, Junior College. All but the Fla. and Ga., services were comped. There was an additional charge for DVDs.

2010

February 2, Collegiate Sports Data, $3,093
Entire states of: Ala., Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C.; Electronic data option.

February 18, Scouting Evaluation Association, $3,050
10 DVD's for Calif. Jr College; 132 DVDs for Ga. High Schools.

August 9, Elite Scouting Service $4,500
2011 Recruiting Services Service for Florida Book.

September 30, Bluechip Athletic Solutions, LLC, $11,000
Recruiting Radar Gold Annual Subscription.

2009

August 7, NorCal Scouting $1,250
2011 Class Junior College Top Prospects DVD: NorCal, Arizona.

August 7, SuperPrep Magazine $99
Regular Subscription

November 2, Levi, Ray and Shoup (LRS Sports, Inc), $4,800
LRS Sports Recruiting System - Florida

September 13, Bluechip Athletic Solutions, LLC, $35,700
Platinum Annual Subscription - Recruiting Radar & Bluechip Services; Comply and Verify Interface.

2008

June 24, Rivals.com, $1,995
Football Subscription to Rivals Coach - Service provides an email to the coaching staff each time that prospects that UGA is recruiting has an update or new video.

August 26, Video Advantage $4,750
Southeast - 2008 Season Video.

November 13, Bluechip Athletic Solutions, LLC $35,500
Platinum Annual Subscription - Recruiting Radar & Bluechip Services; UGA GPA Calculator.

2011 (to date) $12,519
2010
- $21,643
2009
- $41,849
2008
- $42,245

Total $118,256



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