When you start a business and things look promising you get really excited about your hard work and earned feelings of success then BAM, 2020 hits, and you are left holding onto your family and friends. How did Bryan Bedford handle 2020, how did he create something bigger than himself, how did he use technology, knowledge, and experience to authentically communicate with concerned parents, students, athletes? Find out on this episode of the UNSCRIPTED, UNFILTERED, UNDEFEATED Defining Moments Podcast.
You can also find Bryan on Twitter @Bryan_Bedford @BedfordAgency @Recruit_Route or on Instagram @Bryan_Bedford @Recruit_Route
Bedford Agency unveils Recruit Route and Recruit Route Elite products to help educate student-athletes in college recruiting and name, image, and likeness journey
Recruit Route Elite product offers premium level of service with hands-on, customized approach with CEO, Bryan Bedford
Bedford Agency launches Recruit Route Partner Program
Oklahoma City, OK – Bedford Agency, a college sports recruiting company, announces today the introduction of a new set of products and a partner program to help educate, inform, and guide high school student-athletes as they navigate the college sports recruiting and name, image, and likeness (NIL) journey.
Data from the NCAA shows that out of all high school student-athletes, less than 10% go on to play a sport in college. This is not for lack of interest. There are many young and talented hopefuls that don’t have the experience or tools needed to help them stand out from the competition.
With the recent decision to allow compensation for NIL of college athletes, NIL is also growing in relevance for high school recruits and families, impacting the way they approach the recruiting process.
Bedford Agency’s new product line, Recruit Route, offers education and resources for these student athletes and their families in an easy-to-consume manner. It is a fully digital recruiting and NIL subscription model, combining digital learning and education, CRM-style tools for managing the recruiting communication process, and the ability to build out their personal micro-recruiting website. In addition, Recruit Route unlocks access to over 50,000 college coaches’ emails, a digital recruiting checklist, and expert-hosted virtual learning sessions for recruits and their parents.
For a more customized experience, Recruit Route Elite is also available to athlete’s and their parents and includes the same subscription services as Recruit Route, paired with personalized guidance from Bedford Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Bryan Bedford. The concept of Recruit Route Elite has been in place as an advisory service at Bedford Agency for over 5 years but has been re-designed as a premium offering for those wanting or needing a more hands-on approach. A subscription to Recruit Route Elite also includes additional content, one-to-one coaching, evaluations, additional exposure, direct communication portals, and more.
Both Recruit Route and Recruit Route Elite will be sold both directly to customers and through partners nationally on www.recruit-route.com.
Today also marks the launch of the Recruit Route Partner Program. Under the program, partners of Recruit Route can position this product to different groups of youth athletes through clubs, associations, school districts, performance coaches, and rights holders who are taking various offerings to market as partners. Our initial set of partners include Heart of a Champion Sports, Maine Athletic Performance and National Amateur Sports (NAS).
“NAS is excited about Recruit Route because it aligns with our objectives, which is to provide best in class products and services that bring value to our students and communities,” said James Shipley, CEO, National Amateur Sports. “Recruit Route focuses on education and empowerment which gives parents and students the information they need to navigate the recruiting process and make it a rewarding experience, without any false expectations about getting your student athlete recruited.”
“The Recruit Route and Recruit Route Elite products are a phenomenal set of products to address the needs of student-athletes and families when they reach the intersection of college sports recruiting and the name, image and likeness journey,” said Bryan Bedford, Chief Executive Officer, Bedford Agency. “Having the ability to make this process simpler and more enjoyable for student-athletes and their families is a pleasure, and we’re excited for them start taking advantage of our new products, services, and partnerships today!”
About Bedford Agency
Bedford Agency provides actionable insight and expertise for student-athletes and families navigating the College Sports Recruiting process. We are uniquely positioned to offer expertise, educational content, and technology to transform the college recruiting process like never before with our products Recruit Route and Recruit Route Elite. Bedford Agency was founded by CEO Bryan and Desiree Bedford. Bryan has over 25-years of College Sports Recruiting Experience serving as Division I Recruiting Director at TCU and Division II Recruiting Director Southern Nazarene University as well as an executive at some of the leading sports video, recruiting evaluation and fortune 50 tech companies.
As always, we are looking out for our clients and leveraging the top technology to help our student-athletes and families get exposure.
The concept is pretty simple at AIR, as they are trying to build the “Linkedin for College Recruiting”. (Some might even think of it as a dating app for recruiting). This app is designing itself to connect players, coaches and what they call liasons (like our Recruit Route Elite offering). If you could, take 5 minutes and add your profile, I would appreciate it. If will ask if you have a liaison (Bedford Agency) so answer yes so I can follow and connect with you.
July 2021 has introduced a whole new era with Name, Image and Likeness. We have fielded countless calls already on this topic. So to help streamline it, I wanted to create my 10 #NIL Tips for College Athletes and High School Recruited Student-Athletes to consider to help guide families and student-athletes right out of the gate!
1. Slow and Steady! Don’t be quick to chase a buck! Doing a mad dash for cash now, could have major implications to you in the future. For those of you not in college NIL is a piece of the puzzle but be grounded.
2. Focus on why you are a recruit or student-athlete in the first place. School and sports. That should continue to be your focus. If you are not producing in the classroom or on the field, no one will care about you as a brand spokesperson! Keep the priority the priority!
3. Realize that NIL will likely be pretty-messy for a few years while details, process and more come into place. While it’s exciting, please be careful. Ask someone you trust to help you. In the meantime, each of the colleges have initial platforms and education to help you. Start there. Don’t do things rogue right out of the gate!
4. Business Plan. Develop a plan that is written down that states your goals, brand vision, timing, how you will manage endorsements and sponsorships, legal and tax planning. When you write this plan and beyond you SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS. Ask them. Nothing wrong with asking lots of questions as you enter the NIL space! #FollowThePlan
5. Set up a true business entity, foundation, or corporation. We would recommend you work a CPA to help you set up a business that aligns to your business plan. This can be started at any age, as the benefits could be significant for any student-athlete with a solid plan rooted in common-sense.
6. Control your Intellectual Property! Buy your personal brand (name) website ASAP. I.e. YourName.Com You want to control this as it’s a way to control your brand long term. If you have a personal brand logo designed already or planning one in the future make sure you have a copyright for it! Clean and scrub all social channels to ensure credibility and to showcase you completely, not just as an athlete. Control your personal brand at all costs!
7. Personal Brand Vision Statement: Make sure you have planned and aligned what you personally want to represent. Are you into fashion, farming, or whatever, then your vision statement should align to that statement? This guide will help you know what you should and shouldn’t do (can help with recruiting honestly). Having this will also align your social activities or endorsements you might consider.
8. Less is more. While its great to chase commercial deals, you likely won’t have time to do a bunch of these, especially balancing school, training, practices, games and whatever is left relative to a social life. Be smart in the early stages of NIL. Remember not every deal is a good deal (short and long term). And please don’t tweet out “My DMs are open” …. because honestly just like in life, you should want to be picky with who you do business with!
9. Put money back! Hopefully when you do enter into a NIL agreement you do that with a true business plan in mind. If you don’t, please ensure you understand the tax implications. Holding some money back on each deal to ensure you are covered from a tax perspective is important. In addition, consider any expenses or tax write offs associated with your new ventures.
10. Review EVERYTHING andBe careful with agents. First and foremost, have someone read the legal terms of these agreements. These could be attorneys, agents or family business friends. These resources can be useful but their are a lot of areas to be eyes wide opened about when considering an agent or marketing representative. If presented with legal documents, make sure you have someone else review it. This could be very damaging very quickly, not to mention the implications on agent selection beyond moving into any professional sports career. Be smart, do your homework!
We’ve served as an advisor for years in the College Sports and Recruiting Space and are fielding a variety of questions and advising families on recruiting and NIL. If we can help you, please drop me a note directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message @BedfordAgency.
For years college sports recruiting had been evolving naturally will little fanfare unless, like me, you inspect the details of it with a fine-tooth comb. This natural evolution saw the evaluation process start earlier and earlier (College Football can thank Mack Brown for that), rapid expansion and investment into college facilities, the rise in cloud-hosted video (@Hudl) making it easier and easier to watch and evaluation student-athletes and then of course social media (feels like Twitter is basically a recruiting app some days). But now, the College Sports Recruiting process is about to shift into overdrive! Why you ask? Name, Image and Likeness that’s why! You see, now a student-athlete can profit based off the right to publicity. This means starting on July 1, 2021 a student-athlete’s decision about where he or she might attend college is no longer just about the degree, the facilities, location, the shinny gear and the cool coaches. Now a student-athlete and family must consider all sorts of other factors around personal monetization, branding and more. In short starting on July 1st, a student athlete could earn money (and thus think about these things when deciding about college fit) by doing the following:
Social Media Posts/Brand Endorsements
Open a small business
And much more….
Honestly that’s just the tip of the iceberg of things, I expect kids to see and experience with these new rules. And while many are thrilled to see these evolution, I can promise it will be messy coming out of the gate. Expect to see some bold things as anytime new opportunities present themselves people will push all the boundaries they can. So expect to see these two worlds collide. Honestly….they already have.