Recruiting Model: Parent's Perspective

Parents have a unique perspective of the NCAA rules changes as do high school and AAU coaches. Here is what some of them feel about the new rules.

The new rules passed by the NCAA regarding the recruitment of student athletes and how communication is to be between coaches and prospects as well as their families has definitely been a subject of a lot of talk. Here high school coaches, parents, and AAU coaches all share their opinions on what this will be like.

While most of the attention is now on the fact that college coaches can call potential recruits as much as they want, the rule also allows for parents to be called as much as possible as well. That is something that tends to get overlooked as the parents will also share some extra burden.

For Tyrone Wallace Sr., whose son is a four-star recruit and someone who has been heavily recruited by many powers on the West Coast, he feels that this could be crazy.

"The unlimited phone calls and text messages are going to drive some people crazy," said Wallace. "You have a high school kid that has a lot of options, can you imagine that? The phone would never stop ringing. You take a lot of phone calls already but this will make it even more."

Benji Burke is the father of 2011 four-star point guard, and current Michigan player, Trey Burke. Coming up through the ranks the elder Burke wore many hats. Not only was he Trey's father, but he was also an AAU coach for All-Ohio Red, and beyond that served as a mentor to many kids in Central Ohio. So Burke has seen how recruitments function from a lot of different angles.

"I do think it is a good thing for schools being able to text and call more often," said Burke of the changes. "I think that could slow down the transfer rate. The coaches now should know the kids a little bit better. Now in their sophomore and junior year you can build a relationship with the coaches if you are a recruit. I think that will help the recruiting process for sure."

For Evansville (Ind.) Bosse head coach Shane Burkhart, he has a slightly different perspective. He is a high school coach and father to Bo Burkhart who is getting mid-major attention mostly at this point, and also the main person responsible for helping elite 2014 prospect Jaquan Lyle take visits handles the phone calls for him.

"From a standpoint of coaching and knowing that college head coaches and college assistant coaches can get ahold of your kids at any time and not going through you as the high school coach, it puts a bit of a hindrance in terms of getting to know the coach and building a relationship with him," said Burkhart.

He continued, "As a high school coach you spend four years with a kid where you are gaining knowledge of your player, and you can then help him find the best type of program to go to. Now they are still going to call me, but now they can go right to the kid all the time, and that scares me a little bit."

For Burkhart a lot of his concern is that the constant communication with coaches will take away from all high school players focus on their academics.

"A young high school player academically has to keep their head above water and socially they still want to be the social butterfly's that they are," said Burkhart. "Now we are adding them taking phone calls and taking text messages from coaches. The young men are going to have to understand the priority that they have at hand academically. I think it could be a great benefit or a great hindrance."

One theory that will be put to the test when it comes to the added communication is that some feel this will cut out "third parties" who are in the process who can control a kid's recruitment. Burke as a mentor handled a lot of the recruitment for class of 2010 Ohio State commitment J.D. Weatherspoon.

The Burke family and the Weatherspoon family have been extremely close for years, and Weatherspoon's parents asked Burke to handle the coaches, and also help him go on unofficial visits.

"A kid like J.D. whose parents weren't heavily involved in the recruiting process, kids like that are really going to need somebody to help them or else kids will make some major mistakes," said Burke. "They might jump right on the first offer or the first coach that develops a good relationship with them, but a place that might not be the best fit."

He continued, "I think that being a mentor to some of the kids, it's still going to be the same to me. These kids sometimes just don't have some people involved that normally might be there with certain kids. It leaves it up to guys like myself, which we don't necessarily like because you don't want to make a bad decision for somebody else's kids."

Along with the added communication via text and phone calls, a big change was the moving up of official visits. Currently Wallace is in the process of making all of his trips, and coming to a decision. The question was posed to his father, if his son could have taken earlier official visits, how would this have changed things.

"It would have been a lot easier because since the process would have really gotten going his sophomore year, so it would allow you to eliminate schools a lot earlier," said Wallace Sr. "You would start investigating earlier. If we could have made official visits during the junior year, by now Tyrone would have already made a decision."

For Burke, whose son committed early to Penn State, only to re-open his recruitment and eventually land at Michigan after making a visit there, he says things would have been slightly more difficult, though he says the ultimate decision would have stayed the same.

"I do think it would have made our decision a bit harder," said Burke. "Now instead of being real personable with one or two schools, it probably would have been four or five schools. That said our decision I am sure would have stayed the same because of the connection Trey felt to the school."

For most prospects, parents, and coaches April opening up isn't a huge deal since they were already playing AAU in April, now it is just a matter of who is watching them. However for Burkhart, whose son is also an excellent baseball player, it creates a bit of a problem.

When asked if he would advise his son to play in an AAU tournament seen by college coaches or stick with the baseball team, Burkhart said he didn't know the correct answer.

"That is probably one of the toughest questions I have fielded. I have no idea what I am going to tell him," said Burkhart. "Before my excuse to him was that the coaches couldn't see him in April anyway so it didn't matter if he missed an AAU tournament."

He continued, "For Bo it is going to be extremely tough for him. We raised him to when you make a commitment you can't let your coaches or teammates down. Now Bo and many other multi-sport athletes are going to have to make a decision of do I want to let this sport or that sport go, or should I maintain with just one sport. I think it could impact high school athletes as a whole."

Overall there is a lot of change coming, and from parents to coaches at the high school level the changes are definitely going to impact them and how they handle the process.


Scout Hoops Top Stories