Recruiting Promises to Players

Submitted by StephenRKass on December 2nd, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Over Thanksgiving, I spoke with two nephews from Ohio who played college ball, both at lower Div 1 schools. It gave me a much different perspective on recruiting. What I understand better is the interplay of different priorities in a high school player choosing a college.

Here are some of the factors that go into choosing a school:

1) Playing for a generally highly rated Div. 1 school.
2) Playing your favorite position.
3) Distance from home.
4) Coaching Staff.

What I found out was that if they had been given a full ride to go to one of the schools rated in the top 40, they probably would have gone.

However, short of that, distance from home and playing the position they wanted to play weighed more heavily.

If, for instance, they had been offered a full ride from Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Florida, Oklahoma, etc., they would probably have taken it. However, to go that far from home for a MAC level school wouldn't happen.

I also got the sense that the coaching staff made a big difference. They seemed to believe that at all levels, from Div. III through Div. 1, promises were made which weren't intended to be kept. Specifically, offers were made for one to play receiver, but the intent was a position change. In other words, recruiting felt slimy to them at many levels.

This sliminess meant that trusting the coaches . . . both to keep their word, and to be competent, was more important than going to an in-state school or a school they were a fan of.

I really get the feeling that to some degree, many athletes are mercenaries. They know they're being used by coaches, which is ok if there is mutual benefit. However, love for a college was secondary to being on a team with coaches and teammates they liked. They would sooner go to a "rival" team if the coaching staff was honest and was competent, than attend a school they had been a lifelong fan of.

In reference to Michigan, they had very high regard for Rodriguez and for his recruits. Even though one of them is currently a student at OSU, and has friends on that team, that didn't mean they despised Michigan. It was very interesting, to say the least. I came away very encouraged for our future. Apparently, OSU players know that Rodriguez and Michigan, given the time to succeed, will be a very serious force to be reckoned with.



December 2nd, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

I can't fault a kid for factoring any of that into what is a life-defining decision. And as much as we have a tendency to hate the kid who chooses the Escalade over a program where things are done right, they definitely have the right to choose where they are going to spend what could be the four most important years of their lives.

Obviously, choosing a dirty program over a clean one reflects on the character of the player, but if everything else is equal, a kid would be somewhere between negligent and stupid to not take position, PT, position on the food chain, and distance from home into consideration when making his choice.

I would prefer to see academics be in that list, though. It would definitely help schools like UM if academics were one of the most important factors considered.

Ultimately, though, a kid with a mercinary attitude is a mercinary. A team player is a team player. A student-athlete is a student-athlete. Whatever the case, it is the kid's choice how he wants to live his life.


December 2nd, 2009 at 3:49 PM ^

It's interesting how the perception differs from male to female student-athletes. Female student athletes all care about academics significantly more, pretty much across the board. Male student-athletes in draft sports (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) care about academics significantly less than their non-draft counterparts, because they will either A: Go Pro or B: Coach, since they went to Michigan. It's fairly universal - Omameh (football) and Elmblad (hockey) are the only two players in draft sports that I know as engineers offhand, and there are very few others that I can think of that are not in either sports management, kinesiology, communications, or some similarly low-work LS&A major.


December 2nd, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

I really wasn't thinking of mercenary as a derogatory or negative term. More, what I was trying to say was that they want to go to the best school for them, and fandom doesn't play into that a whole lot.

Ultimately, even though someone might have followed a team their whole life, it isn't the right place for them to play ball. This is why Michigan has Mealer, from Wauseon Ohio, who grew up going to OSU games and being a big fan.

As much as we hate seeing someone we're recruiting go to USC or ND or OSU or UF OR PSU, I fully understand and support someone choosing a school where they'll get PT and where they like the coaches and where the schemes and way the school will use them is "right" for that particular player.

Also, being mercenary doesn't imply that they're being paid under the table (getting the Escalade.)

I'm sure that academics plays in to some degree. For my nephews, one in particular, he would want to go to a "good" school academically, as well as going to a "good" school in terms of football teams. This would rule out Harvard, on the one hand, and maybe some of the lower tier SEC schools, etc., on the other.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

My impression of RichRod is that he is one of the more honest ones and that may cost some recruits. I don't know him and this is just an impression but I think at his core he is sincere - he just does not project sleaze as some of the contras contend.

In his short time here I believe he has generally been on the short end of the negative recruiting. I would rather have him remain above it and lose a few. It makes it easier to stand behind him.

I'm sure this will get negged - just my opinion.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:58 PM ^

I have to disagree. After the way he left WVU I wouldn't play for him because I don't think I would be able to trust him. If I had a choice I would pick a coach like Paterno but then again his so freakin old I wouldn't be able to count on him being there for my entire career either.
Then again it's not like any coach would have recruited me in the first place.


December 2nd, 2009 at 4:17 PM ^

I'm not sure what you do for a living but lets say your current job broke promises with you. Another opportunity came along that paid 3 times as much, offered unlimited resources to do your job and had the financial capabilities to fairly compensate your success. On top of all this, your new position would have much more prestige and the name of the new company alone attract bigger ticket clientele. Would you have still stayed at your old job? Rich Rod saw a better opportunity and took it because a school like Michigan is one of the top of the mountain coaching positions in all of college football. Your reasoning is ridicules and quite frankly, nothing in life is stagnant.


December 2nd, 2009 at 5:05 PM ^

It's not the fact that he left. I can appreciate why he did it, it's how he did it that's always bothered me. He praised the school and the state and said that it was his dream job and turns right around and runs off. Again, I have no problem with why he left I just think the way he left speaks poorly of him.


December 2nd, 2009 at 6:51 PM ^

and then the AD at WVU decided they wanted to dick him around so he found a better job and left. you must not like any coaches at all outside joepa if you think this reflects poorly on RR. every coach that leaves one job for another does almost the exact same thing RR did.


December 2nd, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

It seems like the main point of the observation is that every high school payer is unique with respect to being recruited. And, you cannot blame said player for making a decision based on their needs/wants. It's been repeatedly stated that every player must do what's right for him/her. That's all there is to it.