Valenti: ‘Recruiting’ Has Become A Disturbing Sham
By Mike Valenti
I figured today was as good a day as any to re-affirm my hatred and disdain for “recruiting” and fan obsession with it.
Why? Because my beloved Spartans lost their prized recruit for 2014, Mr. Drake Harris, and many figured my entire life and the Spartans program was destroyed.
First of all, I wish Mr. Harris all the luck in the world and hope he finds whatever it is he is looking for. What that is — who the hell knows, and frankly who cares?
With that said, Harris is just about all that is wrong with what recruiting has become, sans a hat dance, which may still be coming. Whether it be the commitment/de-commitment “game” these kids are now playing to not having the balls to call the coach you de-committed from and instead having your high school coach bite that bullet (Come on man! In Irvin voice), it’s all become a disturbing sham. Give your word then turn around and bolt? Commonplace. I don’t even know why any kid commits before their senior year. Seriously, why?
Honestly. Take trips. Get girls. Get courted. Just don’t commit early and do this silly dance. Bad look. Oh and don’t get a tattoo of said school only to turn around and go to the rival (Reuben Foster and, yes, it’s real).
Across America a Drake Harris happens everyday. Simply put there is no “commitment” in commitment. There is no honor amongst thieves (college coaches) and the parents and high school coaches are an entirely separate chapter of this nonsense. Twitter games, press conferences, awkward halftime announcements — You name it, kids are doing it.
Hell, I’m waiting for a kid to unveil a live Tiger or Eagle at an announcement for flare only to be killed by said animal. Put that on ESPNU and have the analysts breakdown hip turn and shuttle times. The entire process and coverage it receives is disgusting. The only thing worse is grown men tweeting kids threats or outright offers of devotion depending on their choice. GET A GRIP, GUYS.
Used to love it, spent a lot of my early 20s obsessing on it. Complete waste of time that I’m embarrassed I ever bothered to follow. I’m ashamed frankly.
The process has now gone from recruiting seniors and taking an early look at juniors to recruiting 15 and 16 year olds … yes, you heard right. Sophomores in high school nearly THREE YEARS from seeing the field minimum are now being offered and interviewed by websites. What? Not sure how many 15-year olds you hear speak but those interviews must be illuminating I’m sure. Also we all know nothing changes from the age of 15 to 18 right? Disaster (See Texas and Mack Brown).
You always want the best players and schools like OSU, Michigan, Notre Dame etc. have always and will always get those players. MSU has found a way just like programs like Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon, and many others in spite of those facts. Its not the easy path and will always be an uphill battle. But stressing at every turn, every recruit, every “star” ranking and certainly every drama filled commit and subsequent de-commit is just not something I suggest for general health or well being. The rankings are murky at best and downright phony in many cases. Wild how schools with huge subscription bases get the “best” kids or those kids get a nice “bump” to appease the masses of psychotic fans or basement dwelling virgins isn’t it?
So why bother? I don’t anymore. Watch/go to a game. Drink whiskey. Celebrate wins. Curse losses. Repeat. At 32-years old I have zero time for this crap anymore. God, I feel dirty even writing this, but Powers breaks my balls for a blog once in awhile and people really wanted this. Now leave me be.
Recruiting much like the sport it fuels is headed down a dark path. That’s the one sure thing in all this nonsense.