NAECAD Interview: Rick Suarez, Stay Plugged In

August 30, 2021

NAECAD had a chance to connect with Rick Suarez, Managing Director for Stay Plugged IN (SPIN), to discuss the organization's impact on collegiate esports recruiting.

NAECAD: Can you tell us more about SPIN?

Rick: Stay Plugged IN (SPIN) is a recruitment platform. Our goal is to connect the right students to the right schools. More than ever, high school students have shown a passion for gaming. At SPIN, we aim to help educate the student and their family on what opportunities lie ahead collegiately in the esports space.

NAECAD: How is SPIN helping high school students navigate esports and the opportunities of collegiate esports?

Rick: We stay focused on what is in the best interest of the student first. We will look at gameplay abilities, but we will also focus on academics, locale, and tuition costs. We want to be sure that once that student steps on campus, they feel at home and will enjoy campus life thoroughly during their stay. Many colleges offer scholarship dollars, and many have club-level teams. At SPIN, we intentionally provide both students and their parents with the correct information to make the best decision possible. Lastly, we make sure to communicate consistently with both students and parents so that the messaging is clear and consistent as to what opportunities lie ahead.

NAECAD: What is SPIN doing to educate and engage parents about the opportunities of esports with their students?

Rick: SPIN has multiple "council" meetings with college and high school esports coaches/directors. We solicit feedback on their programs to help parents understand exactly what is happening in the esports space. We will also frequently host panels and engage parents with colleges or other ambassadors in the esports space. Ultimately, we realize a learning curve for most parents to truly understand what esports can mean for their most precious asset, their children. 

We take every measure to communicate and get the parents in front of leaders in the esports industry to get as much information as necessary to help them navigate this process. We always make every effort to ensure parent participation as they become the backbone of support for their son or daughter in the recruitment planning.

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