Ahead in the Count

Haywood JaStopRecruitingMe

by Brendan Sullivan

1/17/08

The NCAA Division I Legislative Council recently passed “emergency” legislation http://www.ncaa.org/wps/ncaa?ContentID=43882 aimed at prohibiting seventh and eight-grade boys’ basketball players from being recruited before they enter high school.

The Legislative Council was forced into action by a current recruiting landscape that features, among other atrocities, national rankings of players as young as 10 years old and prospects making oral commitments to play at top schools before they’ve completed their freshman year of high school.

Double-Dribble

Billy Haywood,#4 Ranked Three-Year-Old in Pacific Northwest. Toilet Training Pending, Verbally Committed to USC

As with many problems in amateur and youth sports, this senseless and aggressive expansion of the recruiting process can be easily traced to a pervasive win-at-all-costs culture that exists in many corners of the sports world. The pressure to win basketball games and take teams deep into postseason play in many Division I conferences has created an atmosphere where coaching staffs choose to spend more and more time  on the road searching for their next star, meanwhile leaving their current student athletes, many in desperate need of constant coaching, mentoring and guidance, behind. How would you feel as the parent of a student-athlete who is struggling to stay eligible, knowing that the men who promised to care for him were spending their time watching middle school hoops?

Recently, the coaches at both Kentucky and Southern California recruited and secured verbal committments from future players while they were still enrolled in ninth grade classes. Ninth grade!! Meanwhile, both teams made the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats marched into the Madness sporting a graduation rate of 23% (9% of their African-American Players). The Trojans did much better: 29% overall and 22% African-American.

But those 14-year-old recruits that the coaches are text messaging every 15 minutes can really play!  Just wait until they hit puberty.

Advertisements

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized, written by Brendan Sullivan | 1 Comment