Recruiting camp not good for programs or athletes
Well, the spigots are now open, and summer vacation for high school players and college coaches gets even shorter.
The NCAA has lifted the ban on college football programs running satellite camps. Those coaches who were so adamantly opposed to the alleged shenanigans of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh are now diving in head first.
Can I ask a few questions?
Even though the cost of the camps is supposedly nominal, who pays for the cost of getting a high school player from New Orleans to Dallas?
What effect do these camps have on high school football?
The answer to that question is not good.
A high school player will have less time to work in the summer with his high school football coaches. Remember them? They are the guys who work with a student nearly 12 months a year, only to hear that one of their players went to a camp and was told they can’t believe their high school coach isn’t getting the student more offers.
A high school coach at a prominent Louisiana school, who preferred to remain anonymous, told me he has four main jobs, and none of the four involves making sure his player gets a college scholarship.
He said his first goal is to make sure his player gets a high school diploma. Two is to win a state championship. Three is to run a solid, respected program. Four is to make sure he and his staff teach their players how to be solid citizens.
In the meantime, the high school game itself takes a back seat to recruiting. In some media circles, Player X isn’t a member of a high school team; he is identified as a (fill in the name of the school) commitment.
A Week 7 game in the regular season against an archrival takes a back seat to that player announcing that he has narrowed his choice of college schools down to 10, and, at some point soon, he’ll decide on his five visits.
I have witnessed a lot of really good high school football teams underachieve because players were preoccupied with recruiting.
On the day before a state championship game in the Superdome, I told an assistant coach his best ally in the game was the other team’s lack of focus. The next day, the focused team won. Two players on the other team were supposedly superstars, who in three years were supposed to be surefire first-round picks in the NFL draft. Both have achieved little in college.
They believed the hype.
Over the years, I have had more than my share of parents and their friends tell me that the head coach at a particular high school wasn’t doing right by their child.
One student was a nice high school player who didn’t get any offers after a very solid career at a prominent local school. That athlete is now a doctor, and from what I hear, a very accomplished one.
Turns out that coach knew what his players could and could not do, something you are not likely find out at a satellite camp.