Recruiting costs for football rising

Derek Dooley closely monitors spending on scouting services

A list of football recruiting services that the University of Tennessee has allocated money to since 2008:

2008

Collegiate Sports Data $11,302

Levi Ray & Shoup $4,800

Richard Lascola $11,025

Norcal Football $1,850

Tom Culpepper $4,500

High School Sports $900

F&B Football Report $550

Rodgers Recruiting Report $4,795

Hi-Tech Video Florida $2,475

Wade Rollinson $2,200

Paul J. Martin $2,200

High School Sports Report $900

2009

Collegiate Sports Data $12,309

Elite Scouting Services $15,000

Richard Lascola $14,255

Norcal Football $18,490

Rising Scout $27,000

Derrick Crudup $10,000

Tom Culpepper $4,900

Tim Hatten $300

New Jersey Scouting $400

Texas Sports Films $3,225

Preptracker $3,995

Rodgers Recruiting Report $4,995

Recruiting Service Amount

Hi-Tech Video Florida $2,970

F&B Football Report $550

Wade Rollinson $2,200

High School Sports Report $900

Video for Athletes $25,000

2010

Collegiate Sports Data $13,237

Levi Ray & Shoup $21,720

Elite Scouting Services $18,000

Richard Lascola $22,335

XOS $55,000

Highlight Reels $5,700

Recruit 757 $4,000

Southeastscout.com $7,000

New Jersey Scouting $2,300

Texas Sports Films $10,500

Preptracker $3,995

Rodgers Recruiting Report $4,995

Hi-Tech Video Florida $3,400

F&B Football Report $550

High School Sports Report $975

Wade Rollinson $2,000

Joe Butler's Metro $1,990

2011

Collegiate Sports Data $14,075

Eye in the Sky $4,999

For three years at Louisiana Tech University, Derek Dooley, multitasking as the school’s football coach and athletic director, had conflicted interests when it came to dumping valuable funds into recruiting services.

On one hand, Dooley, like most Division I coaches who view winning as a necessity to maintaining employment, craved the latest technology that could help his staff locate diamond-in-the-rough players from all parts of the country. On the other hand, he had a cash-strapped budget to balance.

So, he settled for bootleg copies.

“I used to call the big schools and get somebody on the inside to make copies of it and shoot it to me,” Dooley said last week during the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

“When you’re low-budget survival, that’s what you did, man.”

Even though the budget is now seemingly unlimited for Dooley as football coach at the University of Tennessee, his small-school mentality hasn’t totally disappeared.

“We’re not trying to be cheap, but also there’s a little bit of fiscal responsibility in not being grossly excessive,” Dooley said. “It’s easy in these kinds of programs because you’ve got so many people and plenty of money not to have that oversight. That’s where excess can happen.

“There’s obviously no abuse and we’re getting good return on investment. I think every year we need to revisit it, and that’s what we’ve done.”

An analysis of the recruiting services UT has hired since 2008, provided to the News Sentinel and other media outlets through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that Dooley and his staff are enjoying the perks that a program with deeper pockets provides, but they are also closely monitoring where that money is going, and how much is being devoted to certain providers.

In 2008, Phillip Fulmer’s last season with the Vols, the football program spent $47,497 on 12 recruiting services. In 2010, Dooley’s first season, UT devoted $55,000 alone to XOS Digital, which provides the Vols with a deep library of Web-enabled videos of high school prospects from around the country.

When Lane Kiffin took over for Fulmer in 2009, the budget for recruiting services more than tripled. The Vols went from subscribing to 11 services at an average price of $4,317 to 17 services at an average of more than $8,600 — for a grand total of $146,489.

That cost increased by more than $31,000 in 2010 when Dooley took over and raised the budget to $177,697. Though they hired the same number of services as Kiffin and his assistants, Dooley and his staff certainly put their own touch on the group, dropping six of the companies from 2009 — one of which, Video for Athletes, made up for more than 17 percent of Kiffin’s budget — and replacing them with six new firms, including XOS Digital.

Inflation and the increased demand for these services likely played a role in the higher tab for 2010. Eight of the 11 companies UT hired for both years charged more in 2010. Only one — Wade Rollinson — dropped in price.

So far in 2011, the Vols have spent $19,074 on recruiting services.

“The services provide great value in video,” Dooley said. “I think it’s a good, healthy market of business. And it helps all the schools.

“I think the recruiting service, to us, has always been a starting point or a supplement. It’s never been the end-all.”

Despite Fulmer’s relatively thrifty final year, UT has spent $390,757 on recruiting services since 2008. It’s a figure that barely represents a significant portion of the football budget, but is one that tops what some of its SEC counterparts have compiled in the same time span.

According to a report in the Birmingham News, the University of Alabama spent $218,628 and Auburn University paid $99,082 on recruiting services 2008-2010. 2007-2009, LSU spent slightly more than $250,000, according to WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge. The University of Georgia, according to a report in the Macon Telegraph, has paid just $37,619 since 2009.

The perceived dearth of high school talent in the state of Tennessee has always played a part in the Vols’ need to recruit nationally. And that certainly carries over into how much the program devotes to these kinds of scouting services, Dooley said.

Since 2008, 79 percent of UT’s signees have hailed from outside Tennessee.

“We border eight states,” Dooley said. “You’re pulling from the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, West Coast, Southwest. … With us, we do need more. We can’t rely on our state. Georgia doesn’t have to go outside of their state. They do, but they don’t have to.

“You don’t get a recruiting advantage by subscribing to a video service. And if you do, that service shouldn’t be doing business.”

In light of recent accusations that some of these services are doing more than just providing names and film, the NCAA has recently increased its scrutiny.

According to its “Bylaw Blog,” the NCAA in April moved to ban schools from subscribing to services such as Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247sports.com because the “videos of prospects in non-scholastic competition” are not free and available to the general public.

The decision was made less than a month after ESPN.com reported that the NCAA was probing the University of Oregon about the role Willie Lyles of Complete Scouting Services played in highly touted prospect Lache Seastrunk’s signing with the Ducks. Oregon, according to records obtained by ESPN.com, paid $25,000 to Lyles for his service.

Neither Fulmer, Kiffin nor Dooley has ever subscribed to Lyles’ service. The message sent by the story, though, didn’t go ignored.

“It’s no different than all the third-party stuff that everybody is worried about, and they should be,” Dooley said. “These are tough issues. I’ve always felt like when recruiting gets outside the purview of the high school coach and the family, it gets a little edgy.”

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble.

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Comments » 18

RoadTrip writes:

Whatever. If we win, it's a good investment. If we lose it's a drop in the bucket compared to the contract buy out of coaches we have to pay.

FWBVol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am typing slowly because I know many Gator fans can only read slowly. THIS IS A FOOTBALL RECRUITING STORY. I know that is difficult for your Gator brain to comprehend.

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

who cares !!!!!!!! why don't you find a Florida site to post on?

lail#204076 (staff) writes:

in response to bartlett79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Andrew Gribble says $99,082 is correct.

-- jack lail

big_orange_nuke writes:

in response to lail#204076:

Andrew Gribble says $99,082 is correct.

-- jack lail

I think you missed the joke here. Think Cam Newton...

FatherVol writes:

Can anyone explain *why there is a "dearth of football talent" in Tennessee. Do we play a different game? Do we feed our boys differently? Is it genetics?

TKO writes:

I would like to see Auburn's budget for recruiting and for "recruiting."

TKO writes:

Has anyone heard the cause of death for Aaron Douglas?

TennVol01 writes:

Cost of recruiting is rising, yet we are getting only mediocre players. Why spend the money. These guys would come to Tennessee with one phone call. If you start getting real talent, then the money is worth it.

I realize players do not want to come here because of the NCAA sanctions that are about to befall the program. (Plus the team has had little success in many years.) So why don't we wait until these sanctions go away before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on recruiting?

It is not legal to "buy" great players unless you are Auburn.

HoustonVol writes:

in response to FatherVol:

Can anyone explain *why there is a "dearth of football talent" in Tennessee. Do we play a different game? Do we feed our boys differently? Is it genetics?

1: population wise - we do not have the same number of people as Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc.

2: Our state is oddly shaped. UTK is at one end of the state, and one of the largest cities is at the other end of the state - over 6 hours away. That city is closer to 7 other SEC schools that UTK. So even recruiting in state is further than major cities in other states such as Washington DC, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta

3: So the number of kids growing up and only wanting to play for the big orange is dramatically less that UGA, UF, Ohio State, Michigan (state), LSU, Bama or Auburn. That is why they claim we lack a lot of talent. When TN does produce top talent, they are not a lock to play for UTK.

volsfan74 writes:

in response to big_orange_nuke:

I think you missed the joke here. Think Cam Newton...

I got it Big Orange Nuke! I was thinking of posting something similar before I read your post. Something like obviously the Auburn budget does not include the Cecil/ Cam Newton pay to play deal.

volsfan74 writes:

in response to HoustonVol:

1: population wise - we do not have the same number of people as Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc.

2: Our state is oddly shaped. UTK is at one end of the state, and one of the largest cities is at the other end of the state - over 6 hours away. That city is closer to 7 other SEC schools that UTK. So even recruiting in state is further than major cities in other states such as Washington DC, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta

3: So the number of kids growing up and only wanting to play for the big orange is dramatically less that UGA, UF, Ohio State, Michigan (state), LSU, Bama or Auburn. That is why they claim we lack a lot of talent. When TN does produce top talent, they are not a lock to play for UTK.

Memphis is where the major talent is within our state, and West TN is like a total different state then E. TN. I've often jokingly (kinda) that The states should be restructured and E. TN and Western NC should be one state cause geographically they are very similar and W. NC is much different from E. NC. Anyway I know that got off topic but the bottom line is 75% of the in state talent comes from W. TN although Alcoa and Maryville are regular powerhouses in football it is usually done with undersized players etc according to D-1 standards

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to lail#204076:

Andrew Gribble says $99,082 is correct.

-- jack lail

Must be an off day for you guys....Cam Newton.....I are a managor......

Volunatic writes:

in response to bartlett79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Does that include the $180,000?

mhsvol writes:

in response to HoustonVol:

1: population wise - we do not have the same number of people as Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc.

2: Our state is oddly shaped. UTK is at one end of the state, and one of the largest cities is at the other end of the state - over 6 hours away. That city is closer to 7 other SEC schools that UTK. So even recruiting in state is further than major cities in other states such as Washington DC, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta

3: So the number of kids growing up and only wanting to play for the big orange is dramatically less that UGA, UF, Ohio State, Michigan (state), LSU, Bama or Auburn. That is why they claim we lack a lot of talent. When TN does produce top talent, they are not a lock to play for UTK.

I think if you check Alabama's population, you'll find it's about 2 million less than Tennessee's.

MusicCityVol writes:

This is a must have in today's college football world. People get too worked up about numbers like this and fail to realize the hundreds of millions in revenue that the atletic department produces on the whole. This is small potatoes. I can guarantee you this though, our opening day opponent won't have spent nearly that much on a recruiting service.

2011 Schedule Breakdown - Montana
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

VOLSERIOUS writes:

I hail from Bradenton fl. now, and originally Hardeman Co. Tn. The kids here in the Tampa Bay area are recruited unmerciously but I can't help wonder what all that attention will do to a good atheletes head. Manatee and Southeast High are the two top dogs in this county and all the talent is splattered across the Blue Chip Papers. The kids are not living up to the touting. May be if you couldn't
read about yourself every year or week of your of your HIGH SCHOOL life, and went back to the Saturday morning paper which only reported performance, some diamonds would appear in the rough vs the college town lock up.

SilatGamecock writes:

Are thet still getting line men out of Mountain View Youth Correction. Dandrige is a short drive.

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