If you are a junior or senior high school marksmanship athlete and are interested in moving on to the collegiate level, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has created a new online service with you in mind.
College Connect, an addition to the CMP’s Competition Tracker software, is a venue for athletes to indirectly connect with NCAA coaches. Similar to recruiting for college football or basketball, the versatile program allows users to regularly update online profiles with current educational and competitive info for college coaches to observe. Likewise, the service provides a central location for coaches to maintain awareness of potential team prospects.
“It’s a resume, basically,” said CMP’s smallbore manager, Brad Donoho, who helped create the program. “It’s meant to be a passive connection between prospective athletes and coach.”
The service is currently live and available to junior and senior student-athletes, with free use. Though there is no actual contact between athletes and coaches through College Connect, the service will allow for athletes to provide their contact information for coaches to contact them during permitted recruiting periods.
“If my name is on a page like this, and all of a sudden I’m shooting some decent scores – a coach might look at that and go, ‘Wait a second. This kid’s pretty good. Maybe I should contact them,’” Donoho explained.
The idea for College Connect came to Donoho after being frequently contacted by a number of coaches asking about specific athletes. He wanted to find an easier way to bridge the gap while, in turn, promoting the NCAA opportunities offered within the sport of marksmanship.
“The most important part is, first off, there’s a lot of shooters out there who have no clue that shooting is a college sport. I was one of them,” said Donoho, who is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky rifle team.
“The cool part is that, before, coaches had no central way of viewing a shooter’s results. They’d have to comb through match after match . . . keep their own notes,” Donoho explained.” This (College Connect) takes the hard work out of it.”
Since July 2021, Donoho and CMP software developer, Jared Kail, have worked together to generate the College Connect online medium that will now allow coaches to stay current on an individual’s achievements while also allowing individuals to showcase his or her accomplishments in an easily accessible forum. The pair also worked openly with NCAA coaches to ensure their personal athlete criteria was displayed through the service.
“We’ve done pretty much everything for the coach and shooter,” Donoho added.
Juniors are eligible to sign up for College Connect if:
- Their graduation is the current year and the current month is July or earlier,
- Their graduation is the current year + 1 (e.g. 2022), or
- Their graduation is the current year + 2 (e.g. 2023) and the current month is May or greater.
Enrolling in the service is simple. Users on CMP’s Competition Tracker will find the “College Connect” prompt on the Dashboard welcome page. Once signed up, students may enter a variety of valuable information that college coaches see as priority, such as bio details, GPA, test scores, colleges an individual is interested in and competition scores. On the other end, NCAA coaches will be able to access the pages of all registered athletes. There, they will be able to make personal notes and even create their own watch lists.
The service is meant to act as an aid to athletes attempting to gain the attention of colleges while also making the recruitment process a little less complicated for coaches. It’s a growing program with the unique and useful ability to change along with the budding sport.
“I think we can really expand on it and really make it an even better program,” Donoho said of College Connect. “It’ll hopefully be pretty popular. I think it will be.”
If you have questions on the College Connect service or have suggestions for improvement, contact Brad Donoho at email@example.com or 419-635-2141, ext. 730.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.