Let the Good Times Roll

Put Me In, Coach!

How many home businesses require entrepreneurs to watch and enjoy sports?

Collegiate Sports of America (CSA) is a pioneer in the sports biz, requiring sports viewing and appreciation for success. CSA franchisees Ron and Marsha Barnes (below), both 33, found they could combine the best of all worlds as they helped young people gain sports scholarships to colleges all over the country. The Barnses ultimately act as liasions between college recruiters and high school athletes ready to graduate.

It all started in a brief meeting with CSA franchisors at a Cincinnati franchise show. They began their homebased franchise as a part-time gig in October 1998, while still keeping their jobs as restaurant managers. By the end of 1999, the couple was devoting all their time to CSA.

There are many rewarding aspects of their CSA business--such as being able to stay at home with their children (ages 1 and 3), and spending time learning about sports and NCAA recruiting rules. But the best part, according to Marsha, is "having the young athletes call us when they hear from a school they've been looking at. [It's the] excitement in their voice."

And while they feel each athlete is special, Marsha remembers one young woman who particularly benefited from the Barnes' CSA expertise. The student's father had passed away, and her mother was reluctant to trust anyone with her daughter's future. But Ron and Marsha immediately set the family at ease, marketing the young Volleyball player's talent with gusto. The girl received a full ride and, says Marsha, "is doing very well."

With projected 2000 sales of nearly $80,000, Ron and Marsha are not only in the game--they're hitting the ball out of the park.

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This article was originally published in the April 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Let the Good Times Roll.

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