The scouting game enters the digital age with Locker Room Talk

Illustration by Raya Deussen

Annie Weis’ website emerges as an excellent resource for student-athletes

By John Trupin /// Staff Writer

College recruiting has long been more favorable to the recruiter than the recruit. When student-athletes seek to take their talents to the collegiate level, there is often a process of wooing that goes on. Not unlike a dating show, the prospective student-athlete will, depending on their talent level, be recruited by coaches from different universities, each trying to sell their experience as the most valuable to the student-athlete. Eventually, each youth will select their university, often times largely on the word of the coach whose job it is to get them there in the first place. The process can leave many students feeling unsure about their situation and their choices.

What if student-athletes had a way to learn about their potential coaches and programs and recruit them right back? That’s the vision of Annie Weis, one of the founders of Locker Room Talk, a website that began as a class project but has grown into a larger service to provide assistance for current and potential college student-athletes. The site itself functions very similarly to sites like Rate My Teacher and Rate My Professor, where students can submit anonymous reviews of their instructors to give future students insight as to which classes they should target or avoid.

Weis and her two fellow founders were student-athletes at Skidmore College, a Division III institution like Lewis & Clark. While Weis enjoyed her college experience at a student-athlete at Skidmore, she said, “I honestly felt lost … I essentially made up my recruiting process as I did it in high school and really wish I had more guidance on what to do, when to do it, etc.”

By giving student-athletes the ability to see how the pitches being made by coaches stack up to the players’ reviews, Locker Room Talk hopes to provide current and future college athletes with valuable information to help them better select their university.

Locker Room Talk also provides an advice blog-column for student-athletes about the recruiting process, and offers consulting services. Weis also runs the site’s social media accounts, which include a Facebook, Instagram and a Twitter. Each highlights stories of coaches who have excelled or struggled, focusing on a variety of sports, as well as stories about recruiting and coaching in general.

While certain sports like football and basketball often receive more media coverage than other sports, one of the goals of Locker Room Talk is to provide equally valuable information for student-athletes regardless of their sport. Weis, who played field hockey in college, said, “It is equally as important to us to have a student that finds the right fit on a football program as it is for a student to find the right fit on a volleyball program.”

Particularly for students at LC, or prospective students, this focus on programs of all sizes and visibility is important.

There are always some concerns about a site that relies on anonymous sources for much of its content. Weis is confident, however, that Locker Room Talk offers a great deal of value to prospective and current students.

“At this point in time,” Weis said. “There really is no other platform for students to do this. We find this incredibly empowering.”

For current LC students interested in looking at the site and perhaps contributing to, Weis encouraged that students let their voices be heard. By providing students with accurate information on coaches, hopefully Locker Room Talk will help more student-athletes select programs they can fit in with. Providing recruits with an accurate view of the future they are signing up for seems like a fair goal, and hopefully Locker Room Talk can deliver on that directive.

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