CSA Partner and Director of Business Development, Mark DeSalvo, discovered his passion for college sports recruitment through his personal experience as a father to successful student-athletes.
My friend called me and asked if I could help his daughter with the recruiting process; Jordan was an exceptional athlete, a nationally ranked rock climber who had discovered a passion for pole vaulting as a freshman. She approached her training with vigor and consistency, continually pushed by her coaches, and inspired by the more experienced jumpers in her high school program.
As her teammates continued to receive accolades and college commitments, Jordan remained focused and determined, seeking more significant improvement in the gym and utilizing alternative vaulting instructors and strength trainers to help her get to the next level.
She worked daily to reach the heights required to jump at a top academic university. Her growth as an athlete was undoubtedly indicative of an upward trend, yet as Covid-19 came to affect the nation on an unforeseeable scale, "recruiting norms" shifted dramatically.
There is a common misunderstanding among high school parents that you need to be an "elite" athlete to compete at the collegiate level, but sometimes being good enough is, in fact, good enough. Parents get deterred, overwhelmed, and ultimately mismanage the recruiting process, letting the opportunity to play collegiate sports and, debatably more crucial, use these sports as leverage into superior academic universities slip away.
I have been through the baseball recruiting process (twice), and I am currently working with my 10th-grade daughter as we navigate through the recruiting waters of college swimming.
The recruiting process varies depending on the sport; this much is undeniable. Though I don't possess firsthand experience in regards to Track and Field, more specifically, pole vaulting, I was able to formulate a plan specifically for Jordan based on prevalent, overriding aspects of the recruiting process.
I scheduled a conference call with Jordan later that night. I was already aware that she was a student of high academic caliber and based my assumptions on the types of schools and collegiate programs that would fit her and her family. As I researched some of the top schools (Ivy Leauge D1) (Patriot League D1) and NESCAC (D3), it became clear to me that she cleared the proverbial bar both academically and athletically, and could help secure crucial points in a meet for all of these teams.
During our conference call, we decided to target twenty top D1 and D3 schools. I helped draft an introduction letter highlighting Jordan's academic and athletic accomplishments, attached some recent video of her jumping, and emailed all the head coaches and any assistants involved in the recruiting process.
It wasn't long before the coaches started to reach out, most replying to her emails, many commenting on the videos, and a handful personally calling to express their interest.
There were a few schools that didn't answer at all, and as we dug deeper, it became apparent that she didn't yet meet the minimum height requirements to make it onto these school's radar screens. Once the spring season got canceled, our recruiting plan concerning these schools needed to adjust accordingly. With only two years of jumping results, I advised the family to circle back now, stressing 3rd-year projections based on Jordan's significant year to year gains.
Jordan currently has six elite academic schools actively recruiting her.
I remember the elation I had when my sons began being actively recruited, and ultimately committed to playing baseball at WashU and Georgetown. I am privileged to be in a position to share my knowledge of the recruiting process with aspiring athletes such as Jordan and help families through an otherwise murky process. At the core of College Sports Advisors (CSA) is a father with a lifelong love of sports, and even though I never had the opportunity to play at the collegiate level myself, I believe I possess the tools necessary to help others fulfill that dream.
Updated January 28, 2021
Jordan committed to Amherst College, and will be joining their 2025 Track and Field team.