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FAU Expert: AI Can Change the Course of College Recruiting

A field inside of a football stadium.

As artificial intelligence reshapes much of our daily lives, it could also shake up the way college coaches recruit players to their schools, according to one sports expert at Florida Atlantic University.


As artificial intelligence reshapes much of our daily lives, it could also shake up the way college coaches recruit players to their schools, according to one sports expert at Florida Atlantic University.

AI can give college coaches a leg up in deciding whether they should add a student-athlete to their roster by delivering more information faster during a time when coaches need to be as efficient as possible, said Dan Cornely, assistant director of the MBA in Sport Management at FAU’s College of Business.

Artificial intelligence would allow coaches to quickly evaluate student-athlete performances in a way they weren’t quite able to before, in areas such as player statistics and physical qualities. It could also offer insight into different intangibles such as coachability, consistency, and character that they would want potential players to have in their program, Cornely said.

“It can evaluate the mental toughness of a player by evaluating how the player responds after a mistake in the next play or series,” said Cornely. “That can help a coach give a scale on how the player responds to adversity while playing. Information like that is crucial for college coaches before they decided to give players a scholarship.”

Hagerty Family Head Football Coach Tom Herman at FAU also pointed to the wide range of opportunities AI can offer coaches.  

“Technology has continued to advance the game and it will be no different with AI,” Herman said.  “AI has the potential to maybe model that ideal player that fits our system all over the country and help our personnel staff narrow in on specific targets. It will be interesting to see how this technology progresses. My staff will continue to evaluate any and all technology that could give us a competitive edge.”

The benefits of AI don’t just extend to the coaches, as students could also use it to their advantage, Cornely said. It is likely that AI would allow for more students to be recruited, as it offers a wider database of potential players for coaches. Students who are chosen could also more likely be paired up with the school that best fits their needs.

“I think we are going to continue to see this type of growth within college athletics,” he said. “It can help students in the long run find the best fit and give college coaches the chance to build the particular player profile they are looking for.”

-FAU-

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