Last week in this space, I wondered why there was no society for people in personnel and scouting. There’s no trade association where people can meet and network, and maybe even get job tips. This seemed to spark interest, so I thought I’d flesh out what I’d think such an organization would involve and offer to members.
Here are my thoughts.
- You can’t start an affinity group without establishing guidelines. I’d want to develop a ‘club’ for people who either (a) currently had jobs in scouting, (b) at one time had held jobs in scouting at the NFL level, or (c) were currently working personnel jobs at FBS schools. This makes for a rather limited group, and perhaps this would be expanded, but to me, the group loses its identity if half of the members are wannabe scouts rather than actual ones. Maybe I’d open it to people working in scouting in indoor leagues and overseas leagues, as well. I’d have to think about it some.
- Obviously, any kind of serious interest group has its own seminar or convention. Any serious gathering of scouting professionals would have such an event. Choosing a date would be important, so we’d have to schedule it at a time that members of college personnel staff could attend. I’ve been chewing on this schedule and looking at potential times. It looks like the best chance to bring everyone together would be late July or early August, immediately before players return for camp.
- Seminars would have speakers from the game that could address topics related to scouting and evaluation. We set up the template for that earlier this month with the College Gridiron Showcase Scouting Academy presented by Inside the League. We’re working on getting the film for that event and putting it online. We had four former scouts that spoke about the job of scouting and the life of a scout, and it was outstanding.
- We already have several interviews with scouts on my site, Inside the League. We’ve interviewed former Cowboys scout Jim Hess, who helped ‘discover’ QB Tony Romo; former 49ers scout Oscar Lofton, who has some good stories about legendary DC Deion Sanders; former Saints scout Barrett Wiley, who describes how Saints Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson had a role with his getting a job in scouting; and several others. These are all quite lengthy, relaxed and conversational. They are a lot to listen to for most general football fans, but I’d think this kind of video (or podcasts) might be a key part of a society for scouting enthusiasts.
- Every organization worth its salt has to have some kind of awards as a way of bringing its members together. I’ve always wondered why no one honors the team that has the best draft each year. That would seem to be a fun way to unite members and give them something to debate. We’d definitely make that an annual ritual.
- Naturally, any such organization would also provide some kind of jobs network. I’m the first one to say that finding employment in scouting is not very linear, and quite different from other jobs. Still, to be an honest organization, we’d have to at least give it a try, and we would.
- There’d be a cost to join, but we’d keep it low. I’d think $75 would be affordable for most anyone.
- As we moved forward, I’d expand the number of people eligible to join, or maybe start alternative groups for aspiring scouts, students, etc.
What do you think? Do these ideas seem valid? Am I way off base? Is it a good start, but you think I might be missing something? Please let me know on Twitter or even via email. Thanks for reading.