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Staff Blog: The recruiting system is broken


A nine-year-old boy’s father recently posted a video on YouTube of his son playing basketball with hopes it will catch the eye of an NCAA recruiter. The young boy is actually very good for his age, and the clip has already been viewed more than a million times.


University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer sent hundreds of text messages to recruits to avoid the NCAA limit on phone calls, and found another recruit’s girlfriend a gymnastics scholarship at UF just to sweeten the deal, according to a Gainesville Sun report.

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What do the two have in common?


They are both examples of how NCAA recruiting has gone too far.


Coaches, Athletic Directors, scouts and even parents are violating NCAA recruiting policies and often going unpunished.


The NCAA prides itself on being extremely strict in punishing schools that clearly break the rules.


But what about Meyer?


He wasn’t even fined for his infringement – just given a slap on the wrist.

The NCAA also overlooked the Reggie Bush case.


Bush was allegedly given more than $1 million from corporate sponsors while attending the University of Southern California.


To date Bush or USC hasn’t been punished.


Alonzo Mourning also recent released his book titled “Resilience” which touches on how Mourning was recruited as a star high school player. He writes that Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech all recruited him intensely and courted him with clothes, shoes, dinners at ritzy restaurants and a trip to a strip club.


“Everyone understood I could have gotten money at any of these places,” Mourning said. “The message was sent.”


Texas football coach Mack Brown also acknowledged that recruiting violations are an increasing problem during a recent press conference.


“You’re always going to have violations by schools, and that’s in every profession not just ours, because some coaches are going to cheat,” Brown said. “That’s the way they’ve made their living. You’re always going to have some families that buy into that, and you’re always going to have a certain level of families that look you right in the face and lie to you.”

The problem doesn’t just lie with the schools, but also with the families that seek these bribes.

Often times these star recruits come from poverty-stricken areas and their families have a hard time putting food on the table. So when a coach flashes around some “freebees,” you can’t expect these families to simply turn them down.

But coaches and recruiters understand this, and that’s why they will continue to cheat.


Unfortunately there’s no immediate solution to the problem.

But it would be a start if the NCAA would recognize that a serious problem exists, and start spending some of the billions of dollars it receives each year toward a solution.


Nearly every star player in collegiate sports from football to swimming acknowledges that there are many schools breaking the rules.

Yet the NCAA just sweeps the problems under the rug in hopes the fans will forget.

Then, when a case is brought to light, the NCAA will suspend the player, fine the school and place the school on a probationary period as almost to say “see, we have it all under control. There’s no real problem here.”


I think the student athletes at poverty-stricken Glades Central High School in Miami will agree it’s not a problem, because to them it’s a solution.



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  • R

    RyanDec 14, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Can he come and play for our basketball team right now? Maybe UNF should try to recruit kids like this.