I'm not addressing CSA Prepstar here because I have no speific recollection of their service.
However, what I do recall is that when contacted by a representative of a service that wanted to "Send [my] son's information to ALL Division I programs," the first thing I'd think was: "Why would ANYONE want to do that?!!"
Doesn't that simply invite the coaches who receive what is obviously a mass mailing toss it directly in the trash can?!
Wouldn't it make a lot more sense that my son carefully select the schools that were appropriate for his interests and abilities...and that he make a concerted effort to (1) let the selected schools know of his interest and (2)make certain that he play where he knew they'd be represented?!
Is there anything there that any of us can't do on our own with the right amount of dedicated effort?
Ultimately under nearly any scenario, the college coaches will need to evaluate your son in person...they'll need to see him play. As Prepster says, get your son to events that will put him in front of the schools he's interested in. The people here can help you every bit as much as a marketing service.
This topic has been beaten to death with a stick on this board, and as I said a few months ago there is no right answer.
I know several recruiting services that are not worth the paper their services are printed on and are a complete waste of time and money. I know other services that will handwalk you through the entire process from start to finish, will help you find schools that are a good fit, and usually have developed a network of college coaches that they can recommend players to.
If a college coach has a relationship with a recruiter who has sent them players in the past, you have a much better chance of getting in that same pipeline than a player who simply calls a coach on his own. A college coach will at least listen to someone whom they have knowledge of or a relationship with and will often call the recruiter on his own and say "got any players I should look at."
Having gone through the process, and written about the process, I can tell you that most families are not prepared, despite the fact that they think they are. I can also tell you that finding a school that is a good fit for you (athletically, academically, socially) is extremly important and very hard, and anyone or anything that can help you do this is worth the small investment you may have to make, even if you don't get a dime in scholarship money.
The problem right now is that there are so many bad services giving good services a bad name that everyone tends to get lumped together and I kno a lot of services that are just flat-out lying to peoples faces and taking their money, which is sad.
But, I find very few people getting help from their high school coaches and even less help from their guidance counselors who are clueless as to the athletic aspect of the college selection process, and this often leaves parents in a difficult spot. And along comes the recruiting company and many families will listen (and pay for) to anyone that knows more about recruiting than they do. That is why many services continue to thrive, despite the fact that they are not doing much.
I am not a supporter of recruiting services that simply mail and email mass marketing packages to college coaches, I think this is a joke and shouldn't even be legal. College coaches hate this junk and its a waste of their time and your money and you don't have a prayer at getting recruited this way. Coaches want kids who are interested in their school and program, not kids who are looking for a fast scholarship to any school in the country.
I am a supporter however, of people that work with kids who are qualified to play college athletics, who get to know their clients needs and desires, who teach the families what is required of them, who evaluate programs before making suggestions, who tell parents that their son has no chance of getting a scholarship despite what they think, but could still play in college somewhere. What a fair price for this is is up for debate. But I can tell you the price of not going to the right school!
I would consider using a service if......
If you can easily afford it. Some can run $2,500 or more.
If yo understand that paying $2,000 might not get you one recruiting contact or one cent of scholarship money.
If you understand that many schools the service will recommend are schools that they have a previous relationship with the coach. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but its an easy way out for the service, they call coaches they know who express interest and if you are not interested n those schools, the service can still say they did something for you.
If you live in an area where there is very little exposure to college coaches.
If someone else (who wasn't paid) has determined whether or not you can already play at the college level and that someone is qualified to make that determination.
If your high school coach is willing and able to endorse you for the college level.
If your parents have little knowledge of the college recruiting process.
If you or your parents have very little time to research different programs.
If it comes with personal consultation and guidance and you can pick up the phone any time and receive as much assistance as you need at any time.
The service doesn't send out mass marketing packages to colleges. These get thrown out faster than they are sent. Also ask how information is sent, by you, by email, in a bulk package that promotes hundreds of athletes at the same time?
If the service works with a select number of student-athletes each year.
If you are afraid to pick up the phone and call coaches on your own.
If your high school coach can't tell the difference between Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson when it comes to athletic skill.
If you cannot afford travel teams or athletic showcases.
I'm not a fan of franchises either, but if you find a franchise recruiting service, ask the other questions that relate above.
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