There are a lot of camps, combines, workouts, and straight out money grabs in the world of sports, but I'm here with National Scouting Combine’s Jimmy Kibble to let him tell you how the NSC is the genuine article.
Kibble is a former Virginia Tech specialist who was able to make it into the professional ranks for the Patriots, Eagles, NFL Europe with the Cologne Centurions, and in the AFL/AFL2. He is the CEO/President of Beyond Sports, LLC, parent company of the National Scouting Combine®, and President of the Beyond Sports Network Foundation, Inc which levels the playing field for all athletes to receive the same professional testing. The BSN Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation, who's goal is to develop regional combines for aspiring collegiate athletes that play football and provide comprehensive standardized performance testing.
Jimmy, first off, thank you for joining us, I really do appreciate it. Telling us the real story about what a scouting combine is about what a camp is supposed to be, it’s important for players, and everyone involved. Tell us a little bit about the history of the National Scouting Combine, and how you got to where you are?
“Josh, I appreciate you taking time to learn more about the National Scouting Combine, which essentially started in 2010. I wanted to run an event and start testing athletes with the same standards as the NFL combine. I was even lucky enough to be in the NFL combine as a player back in 2000. After graduating from Virginia Tech, and since 2010, my goal was to create the best experience and the best opportunity for athletes to showcase their athleticism and what they're capable of doing, mentally, emotionally, physically.
The whole basis behind the National Scouting Combine, and where it's evolving, has been to give coaches and scouts a more comprehensive overview of what an athlete can do and how well they can “control their body”. We have got a proprietary algorithm that helps us predict what professional level an athlete could potentially compete at. It allows us to give the scouts a chance to say, okay, rather than looking at hundreds of players and their data, we could then turn around and provide direct feedback on each individual’s athleticism with our proprietary grade… whether that be the NFL, CFL USFL, XFL, and various other levels. This proprietary grade also provides a great way to give the athletes a chance to see where their strengths and weaknesses are. At the end of the day, a combine isn't going to get an athlete signed, a combine is going to (more or less) uncover what an athlete can do. Our event is especially special for the small school athletes who miss out on the big NFL opportunities.
While we've tested athletes from every level of competitive football. Our goal is to give the guys that are not on ESPN every weekend, or in the news, or on someone's big board a chance to say hey, coach, look at what I'm capable of doing. And that gives the scout or the coach a chance to further evaluate qualified athletes and reach out for their game film. We've been lucky for over 10 years to help athletes find a path to sign contracts and receive opportunities to play in every professional sport. My passion for finding a better way to analyze the data led to the development of the algorithm. However, during the offseason, and in preparation, if you take care of all the little things, the opportunities become a little easier to come by. This is why the algorithm works, because the “numbers don’t lie” and you can’t hide from the work you never put in. We make sure that scouts from all levels have access to the data. But again, as we invite these players in, and we give them a very unique opportunity, they need the game film to back up their performance should a scout want to learn more.
“What is frustrating is that we've had guys come to the event, who, you would think in this day and age it's impossible to not get film with all the technology out there, struggle to get film. And we tell these guys, look, if you come in and you do well, and you don't have the game film, it's an uphill battle. If you don't have the right person, helping you, representing you, advising you, it becomes a steeper climb. Our goal is to just bring these kids a little bit closer, and provide opportunities that you really can't get anywhere else. Mainly because my biggest pet peeve is, if you've watched as many combines as I have in the past decade, the majority of them out there aren't holding the athletes to the standards of the NFL.
The little things, and the way the drills are run aren't being done correctly, they're not making the athletes stick to the correct way of running through drills; for example touching with two hands on the shuttle, not turning correctly in the 3-cone and so on. Many events, at every level, are not making sure the athlete’s start and finish correctly. Because that matters, and the accountability (when providing accurate data) is critical. “One thing we pride ourselves on, you know, before a player sends their game film is that if we're going to send our results and our data to a parent, a player, an agent, a scout, a coach, any type of personnel, we put our stamp of approval on that this has been done the correct way. And I chalk it up to the people involved because I've got the greatest combine staff around. But that's why the majority of the pro leagues, if not all of them, know that when they get the data from us they can rely on it. “If an athlete comes in for a workout or a tryout and is lucky enough to receive a workout or get signed, they're going to live up to the numbers we sent. There's just not a lot of that out there lately. There's too much “hype” surrounding these events and what they could provide, rather than the accountability and the delivery of real data.”
I'm not gonna name names, but there's one camp, in particular, that is signing a lot of guys, and they're getting a lot of attention. But what prospects are not noticing is the players that are getting those deals, have already been in the league so it's almost as if they didn't need to be there, you know, to actually get those contracts. I've been in a workout, not necessarily a combine, but I have been in an indoor workout where the coaches did exactly what you were talking about. They instructed us exactly how to behave at every position level, exactly what they expected from us and if we didn't do it, we didn't do the next drill. That's so important because at the end of the day, if you can't follow simple directions, you’re not gonna make it very far. SO, I have to ask, why make the decision to work Pro Level Sports Agency?
“Working with Pro Level increases the ability to provide athletes with a unique approach to reaching the next level. Working with professionals from Pro Level Sports Agency to give these guys more options is a win-win for both. Giving the athletes continued exposure & education with guys like Buddy Walters, Dr. Mark "Duke" Lee, and yourself (Josh Davis) will get the prospects the exposure and information they need to hopefully make better decisions in their career. We also want to help athletes learn how they can build their brand, work on their future outside of sports & encourage them to take care of business off the field to ensure they have something to supplement their livelihood while pursuing their dreams.”
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