I used to watch 50 films a day and college coaches, as many as 10 a day in the 1980s and 1990s, used to come to my house during the May evaluation period to watch as many prospects as they could in one sitting without a bag of popcorn. I don't think Roger Ebert ever watched as much film in one day.
But times have changed. NCAA rules have limited the time they can be on the road and I have to be on the road more than ever before, making trips from coast to coast to personally interview the top 1,500 seniors each year. There just isn't enough time to conduct the film sessions as we used to.
So National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) is a natural progression. Chris Krause, who founded the Chicago-based in 2000 and has been in the recruiting business since 1989, has come up with a unique concept that will benefit college coaches and high school athletes.
"We're making a hub for college coaches to come and look at kids from all over the country, particularly Chicago area kids," Krause said. "We're heavy into getting information to college coaches. It will be one-stop shopping for them. We have 25,000 football players in our database and we can accommodate 10 to 15 coaches at a time in our viewing stations.
"They'll be able to look at tapes of the top 5,000 players in the country. They can tell us what they are looking for, athletically and academically, and we'll give them a breakdown by state, by position, by academics and by ability as to the kids that likely fit their needs."
Krause encourages high school coaches or parents to send tapes to Tom Lemming, NCSA, 1415 N. Dayton, Fourth Floor, Chicago, Ill., 60642.
NCSA, the biggest company of its kind in the country, has a state-of-the-art office in downtown Chicago where college coaches can evaluate tapes of thousands of high school prospects and determine if they are good enough to compete in Division I or II or III or NAIA or if they need further development in junior college or prep school.
Coaches can get a lot of work done in a short time. It is a great thing for kids who are borderline prospects because now they will be seen by more people and have a better opportunity at getting scholarships. This process will bring more colleges to Chicago that haven't been here before.
All colleges should be in Chicago--the Big 10, Big 12, MAC, Gateway, everybody. It is a place to change planes so coaches should take time to see kids. Next to Los Angeles, Chicago is the best producer of football talent of any city in the country. But a lot of kids are being overlooked. If you send your film to NCSA, you will have a better chance of coaches coming to your school to look at your kids.
NCSA is in the business of helping kids obtain college scholarships in a lot of sports at a lot of levels. It has 25 full-time, in-house employees and 45 scouts scattered around the country. Bob Chmiel, a Fenwick graduate who once served as recruiting coordinator at Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan and Notre Dame, and Randy Taylor, who played football at Illinois and was recruiting coordinator at Illinois and UCLA, handle football.
Remember, football hands out more college scholarships than any sport. In May, a lot of college coaches will come to Chicago to evaluate tapes. In 1986, Chicago produced a record 141 full-scholarship players. Now the number is half that. Why? Because a lot of schools aren't coming to Chicago because so many kids make early commitments. That's why it is important for recruiters to observe as many players as they can in a short period of time. NCSA gives them that chance.