Robin Parker and her husband Brian are typical parents who always want the best for their kids. Cameron, a Class of 2020 rising athlete at Washington’s Bethel High School, and his little sister Preslie are both great athletes. The family had good reason to be optimistic about Cameron’s future by the end of the 2018 football season. He was named a PCL 1st Team All League-wide receiver and racked up close to 900 yards and had 11 TD’s.
Cameron can really play football and his highlight film has makes that evident. So Robin and Brian took to social media and began to follow coaches and recruiters and media types. As they watched they saw the same things all parents and players see. There are a lot of offers and announcements on social media of athletes moving up. They quickly understood that following coaches and athletes and recruiters might be a way to get their son out in front. Unfortunately, just like 90% of the parents out there with a rising athlete, the Parkers did not have a proper grasp on what they needed to do. Very few parents get the Recruiting 101 talk that a few of us give. If they would have what happened next would never have occurred.
According to Robin as the season ended they received contact from NCSA which is the largest and one of the most aggressive recruiting services in the country that parents can employ. After all of these years watching NCSA and studying their methods I am still not convinced they hold much value. At least they have had a consistent process and a website with information about what they offer. NCSA mailed the family a packet and an offer to work with them right after the season ended and frankly they target all 1st Team athletes and never see their film most likely; more of a cattle call numbers game. The family did not bite.
Then Robin got on Twitter and everything evolved. She posted her sons film and highlights and tagged college coaches in an attempt to get attention for her son. Not a bad strategy but it rarely works as coaches simply do not have the time to watch. Not to worry, other people were.
Robin remembers that he messaged her and she had never heard of him nor the company.
” It started when Randy messaged on twitter asking how Cam’s recruiting was going.. also asked if he had any offers yet. He approached me.. I had never even heard of his company.”
This intro was enough to get her to look at the SleptOnRecruits.net website where many many promises are made. Promises that will cost a family $500, $1000, or $2500. Money that is aimed at raising the exposure for the athlete. These claims are universal at all of these types of websites it seems. What stands out to me right on the front of the website is that the company promises to use their connections to get action- to get you in front of college coaches and to somehow use and inside track to speed things up.
One big problem with that- Coaches can not speak to anyone in media or a recruiting service about a specific kid and his / her future. Does it happen once and a while? Yes, I can tell you it does. But not in a way that it is quid-pro-quo. Not in any way like what their materials say- you can not get a recruiting service to manipulate the process and influence coaches. Beyond that, services like SleptOn will never disclose to the parents (clients) which coaches they have supposedly talked to nor will there ever be any confirmation from the schools. The NCAA bans such contacts and manipulations and therefore it is a big No-No!
NWPR TIP #1 – Paid Recruiting Services have no inside track and no ability to short circuit or expedite offers. Period.
Robin and Brian agreed to hire SleptOn and paid for the Deluxe package according to them. Like all parents, they want the best for their athlete. When my own boys came up I paid about $350 for a service (who did nothing) and I believe that not all services are bad. The Parker’s did what most folks with a talented player would do. They paid up. The Parkers were sent this commitment by message at or about the point of payment according to Robin.
Some of this is pretty standard and some is pretty iffy in my opinion. They are saying the athlete will get a 247 sports football profile which would mean that someone in the company has access to the 247 Sports admin database or an editor who they can use at will. Believe me that after writing for Rivals for the better part of a decade, most athletes are not going to be added to the database like that. I would challenge such a statement.
At this point, the Parkers were signed up and looking for a perfect fit for the talented Cameron. Something amazing for you all to know about this young man, who I believe is a solid D2 to D1AA prospect, is that he is a pilot and is close to having his license to solo fly. He could fly himself to an away game this Fall. Robin, who has her Masters from St Martins and was a 2 sport scholarship athlete, told me that Brian went to Central Washington University and was on track to be a commercial pilot. Colorblindness ended that dream but Cameron wants to carry that torch and is well on his way.
Robin tells me that the SleptOn staff zeroed in on this and immediately understood that CWU and Utah State would be target schools. As time went along messages went back and forth between Robin and a @SleptOnRecruits staff member. On 7/3/19 Robin discusses wanting to see some action and the staffer says in the message;
“you guys signed up for the deluxe package and its only been 1 week. If you guys wanted faster results you should have selected the supreme package ($2,500).”
In a litany of copied messages provided to me between Robin and SleptOn staff, which I will not publish here but could, there is mention of a conference call with the Southern Utah staff. Robin says all the recruiters would say is that it went well. This was frustrating for her because the answers were hollow and this is another top school for Cameron.
Then the entire situation gets ugly. In a string of messages with Coach Randy of @SleptOn, Robin and Brian are told in writing that there is a position open for an athlete at CWU for one of the recruits but that there is a Finder’s Fee of several thousand dollars that the family needs to pay to @SleptOn if they want Cameron to be the lucky recipient of a full-ride offer.
Think on that- a Finders Fee- pay to play. Does that seem like something a college would do let alone one of the best D2 football programs in the Nation? Please- this is snake oil sales at its very nastiest. Reprehensible and fraudulent, possibly criminal behavior; if there is no proof of anyone at CWU making that offer then that is what this is.
Lest you doubt me here is that message provided to me by Robin and I publish this with her written permission after making several attempts to reach the @SleptOn staff via twitter messaging with no response. They were told I need input for my story and have not replied despite best attempts.
Now I do not know who the “Owner” is. But here is what I do know.
- Coach Fisk at CWU has personally stated to me that there is no connection with this person or service/SleptOn in any way shape or form at CWU. I think highly of Coach Fisk and love the program and what they are doing. Please NOTE– this story is not about CWU but about what happens to good families when the wrong people prey upon them.
- CWU Compliance has copies of some of the messages and is making sure to cover their bases.
- This is totally outlawed and for anyone to pay a finders fee is preposterous.
- Robin and Brian knew when that finders fee was asked for they needed help and she called me because she thought I might shoot straight. I did and I am. I do not relish writing this. I do not want Randy Hymes to look bad but if this company and their people or anyone for that matter are going to hurt one of our families financially and psychologically I am going to let others know. This has to stop. He has to do better and the company needs to own up to what they are doing.
- The Parkers are owed back their $1000 dollars from @SleptOn and we all need to stand with them. I expect that from all of you I have helped and who share my values and goals. I have never met the Parkers, do not know them, and I get nothing from them but their story to share with you all.
- The Parkers put themselves out there coming forward and Cameron as of the writing of this story is for the most part unaware of what has happened. He is focused on his school, pilots work, football and baseball.
- Cameron should go to CWU and or Southern Utah. He can play at either and is good enough and this recruiting service has no effect on that.
NWPR TIP #2 – Look up who you are dealing with. The @SleptOnRecruits website has no one identified at the site. No Owner, no staff, no phone number, no address, no info at all. Just a lot of fancy words. Always confirm who you are dealing with and that they are real- real services and real people do not hide behind fancy words and bravado. Look also at the claims they are making and what if any references they are making. If your son or daughter was up at 2 AM talking to someone at a service like this would that be ok? Would you put your child’s life in their hands? Their futures? Use that critical eye to make those decisions – and trust your instincts and your heart. Robin and Brian got took a little but they woke up after a few short interactions.
Ryland Spencer’s Input
All of you reading this should know who Ryland Spencer is. He is at CascadiaPreps which is a big part of the 247 Sports Network. Ryland and I see eye to eye on almost everything. We have a very seasoned view of things and have seen it all. He is a great person and a great advisor and so I have asked Ryland a couple of others to weigh in on this Finders Fee matter as well as what parents can do to really handle things right. Here are my questions and Ryland’s thoughts to share with you all.
Ryland, should I publish all the Tweet messages provided to me to really show how this goes?
I would absolutely post these tweets. Families all over are getting scammed by people just like this and people need to see what it is before they get similar DM’s.
Given this situation of what happened here can I have your first impressions, thoughts, and reactions to share in my story?
My initial reaction is anger. Too many people pray on vulnerable families that think there is no other way. They use catchy names like “Slept On Recruiting” to make people think they are in it for the kids when they suck you in and suck as much money as possible.
What would the 3 best things for parents to know that they SHOULD do to get recruited?
Three things I tell everyone…
A) Use your guidance counselor to help with academics, use your coach to help with football. Counselor makes sure you have the right classes and are doing the right things in the classroom. Head coach makes sure your film is right and can give you the best idea as to what level of play you should be looking at. Both of these people are the best resources you have available. You can schedule a meeting with them at any time. That’s why they are there.
Ok here are some closing thoughts
- The WIAA and OSAA have an obligation to have a process to stop this as do our State’s Atoorney Generals Offices. I believe we have to have all entities who do any sort of recruiting work, and that includes private coaches, be registered and have a background check. We also need policies to sanction them form being in such business when they breach regulations- this would prevent services like this from coming in.
- I am thankful for the Parkers honesty and already I can tell you all this will save other families from losing money in this way. Imagine what would have happened if they would have paid another $4,000 or more.
- Cameron is a fine athlete. CWU will probably be hearing from him as both Ryland and I are advising him to take over his process. If he can fly a plane he can sure and the heck fly his recruiting process.
- SleptOnRecruits and services like this have no place in our amateur and youth sports with this sort of behavior. In my opinion, they do not offer very much value and when something like this happens they need to own up to it and improve. Again I wanted to call someone- no phone number at the website and no one person’s name shown as manager or owner. That may change by this afternoon but I have screenshots to prove it. I would stay away from this service…miles away.
- Robin knows she was being “that-mom” and I get it because I was “that-dad” and we all go through it. This story should help bring attention to her son in a good way and her willingness to help speaks volumes for she and her husband.
- CWU did nothing wrong and they were not a part of this- I am 110% a fan. Anyone should be lucky to attend CWU and play for a program like that and for Coach Fisk!
I hope this helps some of you and I appreciate your support over the years.
May all of you beware and support the right and just ways we can, as an NW Football Family, be 110% in it for our kids.
All images procured by screenshots of public posts and websites from Twitter, the WWW, or provided by Robin Parker for this story