Four Andover athletes have been asked to try out and promote a new sports networking website called TAKKLE.com; the CEO emailed Sean Aaron ’07, Ben Bramhall ’07, Mike Spiak ’06, and Yoni Gruskin ’07 during winter break. The chosen athletes were solicited to serve as some of the first test subjects for the site, as well as to promote the site and attract new membership. TAKKLE.com is a social networking site for sports similar to facebook.com. The website allows student athletes, coaches, and fans from all over the country to view pictures and stats of other athletes, and talk and socialize with teammates and other competitors. TAKKLE.com CEO David Brinbaum said, “We found it pretty amazing that in this day in age that there is no online network where athletes and fans can connect to one place via their common interest in sports, so my vision was to create a new kind of sports community which is TAKKLE.” Howie Kalter ’07 said, “I think it’s good that it gives coaches an easy way to see players, but it also allows players to misrepresent themselves. It’s good to help prepare for games because I would be able to see the stats of my rivals. You can form better friendships with your rivals and meet new people who are interested in the sports that you are.” Facilitating college recruiting is another aspect of TAKKLE. College coaches will have access to all student athlete profiles where they can view a player’s height, weight, shooting hand, and annual stats. Players can also send “TAKKLE sheets” to selected schools and coaches that summarize their best stats and plays. The TAKKLE sheet will also give the coach a link to the player’s home page. Yoni Gruskin ’07 said, “It’s an interesting concept. There’s not many recruiting sites that cater to all different sports.” College recruiters will have the ability to search for an athlete based on any given criteria. According to Mr. Brinbaum, a coach can search specifically for a basketball power forward in New England who is six feet, right-handed, and has over an 1100 in the SATs. Although the chance of college recruiting excites some students, some are doubtful of the honesty of the stats. Owen Remeika ’06 said, “It seems like a pretty cool site and it seems like it has a lot of potential, but it leaves too much up to students. It’s a good idea because it would be a really good database for coaches to look and see players that aren’t on their map, but it’s going to take some time before coaches can trust TAKKLE to base their recruiting on. It’s going to take a little while before TAKKLE can establish itself and figure out if what kids are writing about themselves is actually true. In a few years I think this will be a great site. If coaches are able to trust this site, it will give kids who go to a small school a chance for coaches to see about them and hear about them.” In order to help to prevent players from posting fraudulent stats, TAKKLE has a system built into the site monitoring the accuracy of each post. Similar to ebay.com, users will receive a ranking for the quality of their stats. Observers of a player’s profile have the option to either approve the stats if they are correct or dispute them if they are incorrect. A user’s stat ranking increases with the amount of approvals, and decreases with the amount of disputes. A user with a higher stat quality ranking has the power to alter the stats slightly on the page in question and make them more accurate. Even with these safeguards, some students remain suspicious about the site. Alex Schwartz ’07 said, “I think this site is a good idea, but I don’t think it will become big because people won’t trust a facebook-like site for recruiting. Facebook.com also has most of the people wanting to socialize hooked so it will affect the site’s popularity.” As of now, Andover coaches are staying away from the site. Football, basketball, and lacrosse Coach Leon Modeste said that he wouldn’t “look at the site.” Mr. Modeste feels that the honesty of the profiles is too uncertain and that the site allows athletes to be exploited. He feels college coaches will probably stay with their usual methods of recruitment and not trust an online source. TAKKLE is currently undergoing stages of beta tests with feedback from selected schools around the country. Its nationwide launch is expected later this year.