This is half rant and half question...
Last night my son's basketball team played at a tournament held by a local school. During the game, our team played them extremely close for the first half and was down 27-24 thanks to a late 3pt bucket or it would have been tied.
Second half the home team came out and took control, getting up by 17 with 3 min to go. Our coach pulls most of his starters and their coach then starts yelling at his kids for "get after it", meaning they need to run up the score.
After hearing this, our coach pulls the kids back into a standard 2-3 zone inside the arc. They will not go out and the other team stalls with the ball. Everything is fine so far, it's basketball. Here's where it starts to get ugly...
Their fans start yelling about it and their kids start to taunt our players. Their coach even comments to ours that the coach should, "Take his beating like a man." The ref calls timeout and brings the two coaches together for a talk.
After the timeout, their coach turns into a cheerleader waving his arms and trying to incite the crowd who gleefully chimes in. The players are still taunting on the court too. My son is new to this school (christian school), so he didn't do what the situation really demanded but I could tell he was coming close.
After the game, one of their parents came up to me since I was sitting on their side of the gym to tape. She apologized to me for the lack of class that the coaches and players had shown. Her son had recently started at the school and they were disgusted with the lack of class shown in all sports and would be transferring to a Catholic school next year.
She then proceeds to tell me how things work at this school. The 7th grade team we played was actually all kids that should be in 8th grade, except for the point guard who should have been in ninth grade. She said that parents who want their kids to excel at sports hold their kids back in kindergarden and a few hold them back in 5th grade too. The 8th and 9th grade basketball team starters are all kids held back 2 years.
She confirmed the rumor that had always circulated about the kids being held back.
My question is how common is this practice? It's new to me. I grew up near Berwick HS and it was a not well kept secret that they recruited kids because the head coach could get jobs for parents at the local power plant. I had never heard of intentionally holding kids back just for athletics before. Wouldn't this hurt them as far as college recruiting since they would be 20yo freshman?