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September 14, 2015

Do College Recruits Really Consider Their Best Options?

by Larry Leek
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Autzen Stadium, Oregon Ducks

When college recruits finally decide on a school do most of them REALLY consider whats in their best interest when deciding on which university to commit too?

The thing that gets me about college recruiting and the recruits are the reasons that more than half of them base their final decision on when they choose a school to attend.

The fact is that most of the time when deciding on a university MANY recruits don’t  stop and THINK about whats best FOR them at all, but instead they go more by what LOOKS the best TO them.

If they REALLY love the game and are totally dedicated and have a REAL dream of making it to the NFL or NBA or what ever sport, you would think that they would do whats best FOR them and their future but in many cases they do not.

The fact is that most recruits do NOT do their homework when choosing a school but instead they are look for what they THINK is their best chance at either winning, winning a national championship OR getting noticed by NFL/NBA scouts.

If their only goal is to gain a football or basketball career and they are NOT choosing the school because of the academics the school provides, but instead they choose the school because they think it provides their best chance for exposure and if they are getting a free ride on top of it and in the end their intentions all along are not so much to earn a degree but to showcase their talent in order to reach that dream of playing professional sports are they even worth a professional teams investment? In MANY cases the answer is no.

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Boston University, College Of The Arts

For Example how many college basketball players these days actually make it four or six years at their respective universities?

Well it depends on which method you believe. A colleges ability to ensure student athletes earn degrees are assessed by two measurements, the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR).

The FGR is the more stringent of the two—it takes into account the percentage of full-time college student athletes who start as freshmen and finish at a specific school within six years. In comparison, the GSR takes into account that students might transfer to another college, either for a different major or for more playing time. As long as players leave a school in good academic standing, the university isn’t penalized.

According to the more generous GSR, 100 percent of the members of Duke’s men’s basketball team who started there in 2007 graduated. While that’s impressive, don’t cheer too loudly just yet, because the federal numbers aren’t so kind. Only 67 percent of male ball players who began at Duke graduated from the school six years later, according to the federal measurement.

How many male Kentucky Basketball players make it past the first year? The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team had an impressive 38–0 winning streak this season, but when it comes to ensuring that the players win at earning a degree, the results are mixed. According to the GSR, 89 percent of Kentucky players who started at the school in 2007 earned a diploma. But the university’s federal rate is shockingly low: Just 40 percent of male basketball players graduate.

Maybe the additional 27% graduation rate advantage Duke’s men has over Kentucky’s is the reason the Wildcats couldn’t close the deal this season lol.

This Is Whats On My Sports Mind  about this subject:

First if I was a coach for a professional organization for me to even consider spending a valuable draft pick on an athlete you can be certain that I would test not only his physical skills but more importantly his mental capacity.

So for an athlete to toss a free education to the side over money, NO matter the amount tells My Sports Mind that as far as his mental capacity is concerned, he has NO interest in increasing it. I’m sorry but not only would I want athletes that play for the love of the sport and are willing to work hard to achieve perfection I also want smart players that not only can use their feet but can think on them as well.

I’ve seen schools like Alabama get the top recruiting class 3 years straight (Not that I’m knocking Alabama or their coaches because to them it’s a job, a lively hood so of course they want to succeed) and also every coach realizes how important depth can be so they would much more prefer to have top notch backups on standby when injuries or other issues occur.

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Brown University, Hope College

But in the end is it fair for the recruit if he is so overwhelmed by so much talent that his playing time is limited or non existent for part or most of his tenure there.

The first #1 class and the recruits that are part of it I can see as no issue at all for them personally but If you are a recruit in year 2 or 3 when you look at the BIG picture those students that are part of the 2nd or 3rd straight #1 class for example are usually committing to the school it for 2 or 3 main reasons.

Because they feel with all the recruiting success or maybe the success the teams had on the field or maybe its the number of championships the school has won over the years gives them their best chance for success. So in many cases the SCHOOLS achievements are the main reasons why they commit and NOT The the possible achievements THEY can receive from the school other than from the athletics program.

Because they simply feel its their best chance to get exposure thus getting noticed by NFL scouts.

To me that only shows that they are not taking into consideration exactly what are the most important steps to take in order to see their dream become a reality and are NOT taking their best interest at heart and in most cases they get caught up in all the hype and the thrill of playing on the BIG stage when many times their best opportunity could very well be found on the smaller stage.

As I said earlier they fail to stop, take a moment and look at the BIG picture.

If I recruited a student and during his interview he told me “I want to come here because you get all the great recruiting classes” or “Because I want to win a championship” instead of telling me that his #1 goal was taking advantage of the free collage education he has been so blessed to receive it’s highly likely that it would be our last interview and I would seek someone with a better sense of responsibility, intelligence and determination to spend my scholarship on.

Look at it this way, say for example I’m this great coach at this high profile university and the last two years prior I had the pleasure of winning back to back #1 recruiting classes and now I am in the process of signing my 3rd straight.

For me the coach that’s great. But if ANY of those recruits from the third class were really Stopping and looking at the big picture. IF they really LOVED the game and IF they TRULY have the ultimate goal of playing in the NFL/NBA  at heart.

They would realize being part of a 3rd straight #1 recruiting class means more than likely that unless they are a VERY gifted athlete the chances of them starting in year one are almost ZERO & also very slim in year two as well and if you are good but not great you may not even start in year 3, Especially if you are a QB.

Because with two top classes coming in before you plus any seniors or redshirts still on the team from year four there’s obviously going to be very few starting positions open and in many cases they end up #3 on the depth chart.

How many times have you seen a QB spend his first three seasons on the bench behind the upperclassmen waiting for his chance to start only to finally get his chance his senior yr. I can’t count all the times. So is this situation, considering your NFL goals that you really would want to put yourself in and are willing to risk? The correct answer should be, Hell NO!

I would actually question your competitive spirit if you were content sitting and waiting for 3 yrs. to finally get the chance to play.

You might not be as dedicated or determined to succeed as you think nor the competitor you say you are because NO true competitor in My Sports Mind  would prefer sitting for even a second if they knew there was somewhere else they could play and contribute immediately.

What if the team should win a National title like you wanted and the possibility of it happening was the reason you committed to the school and BUT it happened during a season you were warming the bench how special can that be?

Its like that mountain you always bragged about climbing one day but in the end you rode on someones back to the top. Boy what an acomplishment!

You might get LUCKY and earn a starting position quickly but its not likely and sitting 2 or 3 years certainly don’t help your skills any.

If you have ANY knowledge of the NFL  or NBA and getting to that next level IS you ultimate goal, then you know with out a doubt that MORE exposure is a GOOD thing, Less is NOT and It don’t matter if you play for The University Of the Bottom Of The Barrel in Hicksville N. Dakota, or The University Of Alabama  in Tuscaloosa, AL If you are are good enough count on it the NFL and NBA scouts WILL find you.

So the distorted idea that going to a high profile college, playing on a winning team OR winning a championship is the best chance you have of making it to the next level then you are fooling yourself.

I’ve felt for the longest that the NCAA should abandon recruiting for a draft similar to the NFL for many reasons that would benefit everyone involved and It could be done as long as the students best interest’s are #1.

I even wrote an article on my sports blog about one way that it could be set up. Here’s the link if you care to check it out. Please leave comments, your thoughts on the idea or if you think you have a better idea I’d love to hear it.            http://whatsonyoursportsmind.com/2015/02/08/what-if-college-football-coaches-could-finally-put-an-end-to-recruiting/

They said for YEARS that playoffs in college football would never happen because it wouldn’t work because of all the Bowl games, I said YEARS ago “Why can’t they let the Bowl’s BE the playoffs” and now after just one year of having a playoff system the only two question’s My Sports Mind has are, WHAT TOOK SO LONG? and how soon do we expand to eight teams?

Imagine how much coaches would appreciate not having to compete for players that they spend years recruiting trying to convince to come to their school and all too often in the end they loose them to coach’s who recruit them illegally by promising them gifts or money or the chance to play on the BIG stage.

Here’s a prime example of what I’m taking about: At the beginning of the 2014 college football my favorite college football team, the South Carolina Gamecocks  had the #5 ranked recruiting class in the country at that time but national signing day was still 5 months away.

Two years ago the Gamecocks had just completed their 3rd straight 11-2 season and things were looking great or so it appeared and the previous three seasons of course had a lot to do with the recruiting class ranking so high. the previous two seasons the Gamecocks had also boasted 2-top 10 recruiting classes.

After South Carolina was MAULED in their season opener last season by Texas A&M 52 to 28, where the Gamecocks defense allowed 648 total yds of offense by A&M, I became concerned that the Gamecocks might start losing recruits if they didn’t turn things around QUICK.

The Gamecocks managed to win their next three games and things were still ok but we had slid from the #5 ranked class to the #9 class the week after the A&M loss.

After they won the next three games then they wound up losing five of their last eight and ending up 6-6-0 (3-5-0 SEC).

Our defense was absolutely HORRIFIC all season allowing a total of 374 points in the 12 regular season games giving up an average of 31.2 PPG and by then many of the top recruits in our once great recruiting class had got scared and reneged on their verbals and the ranking fell from #5 all the way to #21 by signing day.

But the thing that gets me is the fact that the TOP NOTCH defensive recruits that had given verbals failed to THINK before they hastily changed their minds going to schools like Auburn and other major universities where they are currently (YEP you guessed it) enjoying watching the STARTERS play from the sidelines.

My Sports Mind tells me they probably are not very bright to begin with and were NOT worth wasting the scholarships on.

Also the conclusion I came to is that if these kids are gonna back out on their WORD when there is controversy and prefer to go warm a bench elsewhere vs playing because of it, what will they do in a game if the going gets tough? My Sports Mind  can only think of one word, QUIT….

If these immature kids had just let someone with some BRAINS explain to them that IF they want to get to that next level little or NO playing time for 1, 2 or 3 seasons GREATLY reduces that possibility and NOT the way to go.

If they would have just kept their WORD and stayed with their original verbal the possibilities are GREAT that they   would have walked right into the stadium and right out on the field the first game. How do I know that? Because so far after the first two games this season it OBVIOUS that our defense hasn’t improved one bit and right now as I speak the Gamecocks 2016 recruiting class is currently ranked a dismal #29.

So Finally after 2476 words IF you are still awake, Whats On Your Sports Mind about this subject?

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