Monday, December 20, 2010

College Athletics Recruiting - Money Not Morality

Some of the practices in the recruiting of high school athletes to play at major universities around the country continues to cross the line of moral/ethical behavior, especially in the two big sports - men's basketball and football. The teams often bring in millions of dollars, all while the coaches treat the kids (teenagers) like God's greatest gift to the world one minute and then they toss them to the curb the next. All in the name of money and winning at all costs.
Some of the issues I see cropping up:
  • Early recruiting - we are now seeing continued pressure to sign sophomores and juniors in high school. These kids are being ranked as young as junior high in some sports. This leads to a kid worrying about things they shouldn't have to when they are too young to figure it all out. How many kids in the fall semester of their sophomore year are mature enough to decide where they want to go to college 2.5 years later? 
  • Off-season / AAU teams - These teams are not affiliated with high schools. Thus, they do not have the restrictions that the high school coaches/teams do. They have been the center of many problems in recruiting, esp. in basketball. What happens is that these teams have coaches who are often looking to profit off of the kids by getting jobs at colleges. They sometimes encourage kids to transfer to different schools to get a chance to get a college scholarship. They push personal numbers (to pad their stats) instead of a team concept. They also work closely with shoe companies who put on big events in order to influence young kids who might sign shoe contracts if they make the pros. All-in-all, it is a broken system.
  • Over-signing - Many schools now sign so many recruits, they go over the limit for players they can offer scholarships to. Thus, they pull a scholarship from another kid they made a promise to. Some kids have been offered scholarships as early as junior high!
  • Agents - there have been numerous stories recently about how professional agents are out of control in courting (bribing) students to sign with them. These agents are risking the kids college eligibility and if they don't turn our to be as good as they want, they dump them. Shameful.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. College sports recruiting is broken, immoral, and messing up the lives of young people by preying on their dreams. The NCAA should fix it, but then again, the NCAA is in it for the money the schools get too.

I don't expect major changes anytime soon. Watch this video to get an idea of some of the problems and the way the spiral down to change lives negatively.

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