Negative Recruiting - What's the Point?

<p>"You have an unwritten rule that once a kid commits, you're suppose to leave that kid alone," Turner said. "Every one of our early recruits was contacted and recruited by Big Ten teams."

This has been a pet peeve of mine since the day I started to follow college athletics. After hearing the frustration in Ron Turner's voice you could tell he knew what was being said. "We know when they commit; it's not official until they sign," said Turner. "But in the Big Ten there's a gentlemen's agreement amongst the coaches - once a player gives a verbal, the recruiting process ends from other schools within the league." Mr. Turner knows that doesn't happen, but with him it does.

Iowa's football coach Kirk Ferentz has experienced the same thing this recruiting season, but with another power-football conference. "The most popular one for me is - I'm going to the NFL and I won't be here long, so why play for me," said Ferentz. "If a kid commits to a school and still shows a mutual interest in Iowa then we may talk with him, but if he tells me he really would like to attend another school, we tell them good luck and we'll see you on the playing field."

Ron Turner is not worried about going to the NFL. "It's job security. That's the big one for me," Turner said. Turner knew that negative recruiting was going to happen, but just not to this degree.

This just doesn't stop with football. A Big Ten assistant basketball coach from another school told me, "When other coaches that you have grown to respect make up lies and say bad things about your program it makes you not like your job. Some of us try to do things the right way."

What I don't understand is why coaches can't accept the fact that they lost a player and just let it go? No school can have the "best players" all the time. It's just not possible. I'm sure Turner was upset losing Bobby Buchanan of Joliet to Louisville or Tyjuan Jones to Cincinnati, but I doubt he called and harassed the kids about it. How do I know? A Big Ten coach made the reference that "Ron Turner does things the right way, even when his teams aren't doing well."

Food for thought: When a coach from another institution bad-mouths a school, don't you think the players will tell other players and that it will get back to his new coaches? One more thing: They all talk about what they did on their visits, so for all you coaches out there trying to use negative recruiting to give you an edge, it's really not a secret anymore because the players talk.

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