Recruiting game going younger every year

  • 07/22/2007 10:52 am in

ncaa_basketball.jpgIf you haven’t noticed, the kids giving verbals pledges to the school of their choice are getting younger and younger. In today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, recruiting guru and our good friend, Jody Demling, takes a look at the issue.

Of course there’s two sides to this story. You’ve got those who think it’s necessary to recruit eighth graders, like USC coach Tim Floyd. And then you’ve got the coaches and critics who think offering a scholarship in the eighth grade is just ridiculous. For example, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings:

“I have a daughter going into the eighth grade, and I don’t think I would let her commit to any place,” he said. “But I guess if a college coach is silly enough to offer an eighth- or ninth-grader a scholarship, then I guess a kid could be silly enough to accept it.”

I happen to agree with Stallings. The onus here is not just on the coach, it’s also on the kid kid’s parents. What parent would allow their kid to accept a college scholarship before starting high school?

When I was an eighth grader, I was more concerned about beating acne and braces than making a college decision. But apparently times are a changing. Just last month, USC took a commitment from freshman-to-be Ryan Boatwright.

Furthermore, the schools take a big risk on getting burned by a prospect not panning out when they take an early commitment. After all, the guys who are the best players in eighth and ninth grade are usually not the best players by their senior year.

Apparently, Billy Donovan agrees with me:

“When you make decisions further out in the process, so many things can change,” he said. “The further out in the process, there is the likelihood for more mistakes.”

So what is YOUR take on all of this? Is it okay for a kid to make a college choice as an eighth grader? Is it even acceptable for the schools to be courting kids this young? I’m interesting in hearing your thoughts.

Filed to:

  • BobbyBeingManny

    I don’t think it’s okay, simply because of timing issues. How can you seriously evaluate talent that won’t step on campus for another 4/5 years? Unless they are a physical freak (aka Greg Oden), there’s no good way to project their talents that far down the road. If someone says they can, then they are lying.

  • BobbyBeingManny

    I don’t think it’s okay, simply because of timing issues. How can you seriously evaluate talent that won’t step on campus for another 4/5 years? Unless they are a physical freak (aka Greg Oden), there’s no good way to project their talents that far down the road. If someone says they can, then they are lying.

  • Zach

    It’s absolutely ridiculous for an eighth grader to be committing to a university, before they step foot into a high school. And with the example of the USC kid, he knew where he was going to college before he even decided on a HS! And apparently he claims USC is his second favorite school, with the first being UNC. I wonder how long he’d stay committed to USC, if Carolina came calling.

    Another couple points against this are with the way of the times, the coach you’re committing to might not even be there, by the time you’re graduating from HS. And juniors and seniors in HS change their minds on commitments so much now that, how can you put any stock into a verbal from someone that young?

    For all the ridiculous rules the NCAA has to “protect” the best interests’ of the student athlete, I’m surprised there hasn’t been much done to address this issue.

  • Zach

    It’s absolutely ridiculous for an eighth grader to be committing to a university, before they step foot into a high school. And with the example of the USC kid, he knew where he was going to college before he even decided on a HS! And apparently he claims USC is his second favorite school, with the first being UNC. I wonder how long he’d stay committed to USC, if Carolina came calling.

    Another couple points against this are with the way of the times, the coach you’re committing to might not even be there, by the time you’re graduating from HS. And juniors and seniors in HS change their minds on commitments so much now that, how can you put any stock into a verbal from someone that young?

    For all the ridiculous rules the NCAA has to “protect” the best interests’ of the student athlete, I’m surprised there hasn’t been much done to address this issue.

  • Newt

    Jody’s Demling coverage of IU recruiting is getting better. But college basketball fans in Kentuckiana have no idea how good things are getting in Bloomington. The C-J doesn’t even have an IU beat writer even more…I can get in the “know” with premium message boards than reading the CJ.

  • Newt

    Jody’s Demling coverage of IU recruiting is getting better. But college basketball fans in Kentuckiana have no idea how good things are getting in Bloomington. The C-J doesn’t even have an IU beat writer even more…I can get in the “know” with premium message boards than reading the CJ.

  • Big A

    I think Jody does a great job covering a bit of everything with his recruiting blog. The fact that the C-J doesn’t have an IU beat writer is a bit disturbing, considering the large number of IU fans in Southern Indiana. I guess you can attribute the lack of an IU beat writer to the fact that the paper is owned by Gannett. They’d rather just use the material from Hutchens in the Indy Star and save the money.

  • Big A

    I think Jody does a great job covering a bit of everything with his recruiting blog. The fact that the C-J doesn’t have an IU beat writer is a bit disturbing, considering the large number of IU fans in Southern Indiana. I guess you can attribute the lack of an IU beat writer to the fact that the paper is owned by Gannett. They’d rather just use the material from Hutchens in the Indy Star and save the money.