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Spartan Great Ty Garland is Still Making a Difference

Garland was know as much for being a ferocious player on the field and as a gentleman on it.

Garland was know as much for being a ferocious player on the field and as a gentleman on it.

Many Spartan fans may remember Ty from his 14 tackle effort against Michigan in his junior year, but Ty’s story doesn’t end with that outstanding game.

Ty Garland may not have been the biggest player on the field when he played in the 90s, but there was no questioning that he had one of the biggest hearts of any player in Spartan history. Garland said of himself, “I was 5’11” on a real good day and about 215 pounds, so I wasn’t the biggest guy but on every single play you never saw me give up on anything.” And Garland hasn’t lost that heart either. When he watches some players not giving their all today, it makes him cringe. “You can see when guys aren’t putting out the 100% effort, and it’s hard to not run out there,” said Garland.

Garland also reflected on his blue collar reputation. He said, “For me, every time I got on that field it was all business and I wanted to play my heart out, because you never knew what the coaches were thinking and if you’d see the field the next day.” As for his favorite memory as an MSU football player, he couldn’t pick just one, but beating both Notre Dame and Penn State especially stood out in his mind. He said of the monumental victory over the Nittany Lions: “We didn’t even know what the Land Grant Trophy looked like before that day.”

As anyone who knows him would have expected, Garland hasn’t left football behind him. Today he works with the Chicago company National Collegiate Scouting Association. Ty describes finding the NCSA as “pure luck.” At the time he was working in the mortgage industry and happened to walk by the NCSA offices walk walking around Chicago. On a whim, he stopped into the offices and met with the CEO where he discussed how the company worked. Shortly after that meeting, Garland signed on to work with the National Collegiate Scouting Association.

Garland said that one of the most important things that NCSA does is help families start the recruiting process.   He explained that most families who contact him have no idea how the process works. He went on: “People don’t realize that the majority of opportunities to get an athletic scholarship are outside of Division I. Many kids and their families don’t know that things like Division II, III, and junior colleges even exist.” Educating both athletes and families as to the realities of college recruiting is one of the most important functions NCSA serves.

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Ty described his work as “using sport as a vehicle to help kids get a better education.” He works primarily to help those student athletes who are somewhat overlooked by college coaches. “So many kids get overlooked, the landscape of recruiting is so different nowadays, the combines and camps didn’t exist in the early 90s so I didn’t have to deal with all that crap,” he laughs when describing the differences in college recruiting today and when he was in high school. However, Garland doesn’t think the biggest challenge in his work is getting through to the kids, it’s trying to educate their parents. He said, “Biggest things that people have to understand is that parents have to be educated more than anybody. Just because a mom or dad went through this process in the 60s, 70s, or 80s a lot of them don’t realize the process has completely changed.”

Ty went on to explain that the NCSA strives to bring on student athletes who are the most marketable to college recruiters. The NCSA is free to college coaches, and this serves two functions. First, since athletic budgets are tight providing its services free to coaches helps to include as many colleges as possible. Secondly, if there are more colleges using the NCSA as a recruiting database, there are more options for the student athletes who the company is trying to help. It’s the second option, helping the student athletes through a difficult process, that keeps Ty interested in the job. He says: “A lot of these kids think that all they need to do is play well and Tom Izzo is going to show up on their doorstep, but that just isn’t the case anymore. With the internet and other things like camps, a lot more goes into being recruited today.”

Ty said that it’s incredibly rewarding to show families all of the options available to them. He recounted the story of the most rewarding client he had ever worked with. He was working with a young man who was an outstanding student, and a good football player, but not up to the caliber of BCS conference schools. Unfortunately this student’s family didn’t have a lot of money, so some type of scholarship was going to be his only way to go to college. “We never turn down a student for monetary reasons,” said Garland, “that’s something we think is extremely important.” When meeting with the young man, Ty let him know that even though the NCAA restricts the number of times a coach can contact a player, there are no limits on the number of times an athlete can contact a coach. That athlete took the advice to heart and began contacting smaller college coaches, eventually resulting in a football scholarship to one of the best schools in the nation, Yale. Ty said “There’s no way he could have afforded to go to Yale without that scholarship, and that’s something that’s really rewarding to me.”

Without a doubt Garland is a true Spartan, and spoke highly of the current state of the program. He had especially high praise for current head coach Mark Dantonio, who was on the staff when Garland was making the turf of Spartan Stadium his home. When asked about Coach D Garland was clear: “He was there when I was there, and I think he’s doing a great job with recruiting and bringing on good character kids. He’s doing a great bang up job, and I think the best is still yet to come”

Ty Garland may not be a name that some of the youngest Spartan fans remember, but he’s one they should learn about. His tenacity, drive, and heart define what it is to be a Spartan, and Michigan State is better for having had him suit up in the green and white.

*If you would like more information on the NCSA please contact Ty Garland at