I’m blessed to coach football where I do. I don’t have to concern myself with recruiting NCAA-style.
There’s nothing more unappealing than the thought of courting high school graduates for months, begging them to choose your college. The attitudes of student-athletes have deteriorated enough without treating 18-year olds like royalty to please choose your school. Like a high-priced dating service. The number of prima donna rookies I’ve coached who believe that they are indispensible has skyrocketed in the past ten years. The growing hysteria about National Signing Day is one of the causes. Making high school grads believe they are saviours for university programs is one of the top reasons why athletes have the messed-up notion they are socially elite. It’s wrong. The money spent by NCAA football programs on recruiting is a travesty. Check the cost of tuition for the average student. University education costs a fortune while football coaches spend millions and get paid millions in their never-ending courtship of teenagers. There needs to be a spending cap on recruiting. The savings should go toward lowering tuition.
I just read an article that an NCAA D1 football coaching staff erupted in wild celebration when a high school player announced he chose their team. Wow. Unbelievable. Embarrassing. Imagine grown men cheering wildly that a high school grad picked you. Skewed reality. It’s not real-life. Many top university coaches have never had to work outside the sidelines of the artificial, insular environment of post-secondary academics. If they did, their attitude toward recruiting would change dramatically.
I’ve coached football for 40 seasons. Loved it as much as anyone else. Loved my teams. But football is not the most important thing in my life. Never has been, never will be. I never have and never will recruit players to my team. All my recruiting is done by word-of-mouth, voluntarily without inducement. I will talk to any recruit, answer their questions, give them all the information needed for them to make a decision but I never have and never will plead for them to choose my team. My recruiting policy is simple – OPEN-ADMISSION. That’s my mission. I take anyone who wants the opportunity to work, get better, and try to get to the next level. I don’t recruit elite players to make my job easier. My coaching objective is to develop any player, especially the lost causes. No guarantees, no hardcore recruiting in the traditional sense. Whether you choose my team or not has zero impact on my happiness. No wild celebrations either way. Those who choose my team will be guaranteed one thing – equal opportunity. That’s it. No red carpet treatment for any rookie. Earn it. Just like in real life.