The New York Times just published an interesting article about 7 on 7 football and draws comparisons between it and AAU basketball. Obviously, there are significant differences, most notably that 7 on 7 isn't actual football. However, private teams can be lead by dubious characters attempting to become so-called "street agents" and influence players' recruitment.
“I’m sure that it’s hurt us on some players,” (Mack) Brown said. “But I also feel like until everything gets legitimized, I don’t want a player on our team who I don’t know who the parents are. I don’t know who he’s listening to. If you get an agent involved in your program, then he’s involved. That scares me. I worry some about the street agents.”
Obviously Oregon may have been helped by, or perhaps screwed by a couple of street agent types recently. Recruiting is already a filthy business that I largely avoid, although it's mostly because I could never keep that many 18 year-olds' whims straight, but the rise of 7 on 7 with corporate sponsors like Nike and Under Armour promises to make it even worse--especially with gems like these from the coach of The Express, one of the prominent teams:
Asked if college coaches needed to court their seven-on-seven counterparts the way they talked to high school coaches, Drummond said, “They better.”
“I think it’s just as important as high school football,” Drummond said of seven-on-seven. “It makes recruiting easier. You don’t have to search for coaches; they search for you.”
I really doubt 7 on 7 could rise to the level of import in recruiting for football like AAU does in basketball because players still need to succeed playing actual football games with linemen and tackling, but it just promises to make a dirty part of the game even worse. I'm sure a lot of the 7 on 7 coaches aren't going to be interested in riding buses with 20 18 year-olds for the love of passing drills...
From North Miami Beach High School coach Jeff Bertani:
“The street agents are now going by the terms of seven-on-seven coaches,” he said, referring to no one in particular. “Before, these guys were advisers and mentors. Now they can say, ‘I’m coaching the team.’ ”