Scouting the prospects |

Scouting the prospects

Had Mike Callagy known about the National Scouting Report while his three children were hitting the playing fields of Nevada Union High School, he said he wouldn’t have hesitated at signing them up.

Take his son for example.

An all-league baseball player for the Miners, Mike Jr. led his team in home runs and batting average in his senior year.

Yet, he received not one college scholarship offer.

It’s not a unique story. Many high school athletes who dream of taking their sports skills to the collegiate level never get the chance. Or, if they do make a college roster, it’s often Mom and Dad who foot the bill – that is, if they can afford to do so.

Of course, most major college sports programs at the NCAA Division I level aren’t exactly strapped for cash. The bigger schools have bigger budgets, with large-size line items dedicated to recruiting and scholarships.

Typically, though, the names of the athletes targeted by such programs show up on more than one school’s recruiting list. And, best of all, those college scholarship offers literally come knocking on their front door.

But what about the prep players who haven’t been deemed a “blue chip” prospect? Or what about the kids who compete in the “minor” sports, which means essentially anything outside baseball, basketball or football?

That’s where the National Scouting Report comes in – or at least Callagy and his cohorts hope those athletes and their parents will open the door, and their minds, to the services that NSR offers.

Callagy, owner of Mike’s Alta Sierra Market in Grass Valley, said he was so impressed with the NSR after learning of it through a friend in Arizona that even years after his own kids had graduated, he still didn’t hesitate.

He signed himself up.

“I was really into it because I could relate to it so well,” he said. “I had three kids go through Nevada Union and, looking at this now, all three could have got scholarships.

“I thought ‘Gosh, you know what? How wonderful it is to take part in a program that can help student athletes get the scholarships they deserve?'”

And so, Mike Sr. is now working as an NSR area director in order to help the other “Mike Jrs.” in Northern California do exactly that.

The prospect of doing such a service also moved Callagy to do some recruiting of his own. His enthusiasm for the program even brought his friend Stan Meckler, former owner of Bubba’s Bagels, out of retirement to become an NSR scout.

“Mike and I are very close friends,” Meckler said. “When he told me about this, I looked it as an absolute winning situation. The students and their parents win, I win and the schools win.

“This gives me an opportunity to make a positive change in somebody’s life. I was enjoying retirement, but this is something that I am really, really jazzed about. And if I can make a few bucks on the side, that’s OK, too.”

What is NSR?

The Alabama-based National Scouting Report was born in 1980, after founder Bob Rigney had successfully promoted the potential of his own son. In doing so, he saw an opportunity to help the athletes seeking scholarships, the college programs seeking the athletes and, of course, help his own bottom line by building what has become a successful business.

According to NSR, the company is the oldest high school scouting program in the country. It’s certified by the National High School Coaches Association and has earned an NCAA Corresponding Membership status.

NSR knows the NCAA’s rules and regulations and serves its role of “middle-man” between the athletes and coaches in complete compliance, Callagy said.

“We are a vehicle between the high school athletes and college coaches throughout the country,” Callagy said. “The company communicates with college coaches on a daily basis.”

And apparently, judging from the number of coaches they contact, that’s more than a full day’s work for NSR personnel.

From Abilene Christian to Ohio State to Youngstown State, the list of colleges that have sought NSR’s help in finding athletes to fill out their rosters is a long and diverse docket.

Even longer, though, is the list of athletes across the country that have turned to NSR in order to optimize their options.

NSR promotes prep athletes from practically every sport under the sun, from baseball and basketball to archery and equestrian.

But, of course, the athletes must have the skills college coaches seek. And they must qualify in the classroom as well.

Considering the cuts college programs have made to their recruiting budgets over the years, coupled with the limits levied by the NCAA on available scholarships, the amount of time coaches can spend on recruiting has never been more valuable.

That’s why NSR requires its athletes to qualify academically. Students barely making the grade in the classroom won’t waste a coach’s time or their parents’ money through NSR.

The reputation and rapport NSR has established with college coaches, he added, is always at stake.

“We believe in the term ‘student-athlete,'” Callagy said. “We don’t just go out and sign anybody up. If we did, we wouldn’t be as successful.”

“Realistically,” Meckler added, “they need to have a GPA over 3.0 and at least 1000 on the SAT. There are colleges asking for less. But anything less than that, I’d be concerned whether we would be able to help them.”

What does NSR do?

There are 24 services the company provides to its athletes in its “Elite” program.

Those signing up for the top-tier services are promoted through NSR-produced products, including personal brochures, videos, and web sites. The materials are sent across the country to coaches, along with items such as profile resumes, scout evaluations and monthly updates.

The “Gold” level of the program includes 19 services, many of which are included in the Elite contract.

Neither level is exactly cheap, with the “Gold” costing $1,495 and the “Elite” pricing at $2,495, but can be worth much more, considering the potential savings on college tuition, Meckler said.

According to a December report by the Associated Press, the average cost to attend a four-year public university for one year is currently $10,636 – combining room and board with actual tuition. The same report stated the average cost at a four-year private university is $26,854.

“If we can help them save 50 to 100 percent of what it costs to go to college, then that’s a tremendous service we can perform,” said Meckler. “When we sign up a student athlete for our program, we are committed to that athlete all through their high school career – and even junior college, if they didn’t get the scholarship offers they wanted.

“So we could be committed to them for as many as six years. “

Chances are, though, the offers will be there for NSR’s prospects. According to Meckler, placement percentages are high, especially with the “minor” sports. He said NSR has a 100 percent placement record for golfers, swimmers and tennis players. The company also offers the similar services for those seeking scholarships in the fine arts, in which they’ve successfully placed 95 percent of those signing on, Meckler said.

Of course, those seeking D-1 scholarships might find offers tougher to come by. But that’s not what the company is geared toward anyway, Meckler said.

“If we have an outstanding football player at Nevada Union, and I mean a real whiz bang guy, those college coaches are going to know about him already,” Meckler said. “But maybe there’s another player from the same team who’s not as great, or maybe there’s someone from what’s called a ‘minor’ sport.

“This is where we shine – in those sports, women’s sports especially. There are tons of scholarships out there – and our success is based on us getting those scholarships for those students.”

For more information on the National Scouting Report, click onto or contact Callagy at (530) 559-3094 or Meckler (530) 272-2808.

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