Let me explain. On May 7, 2008, Dick Vitale wrote a special article for ESPN, What's next in Recruiting? The article focused on the "wild" story of a 15-year old 8th grader committing to Coach Billy Gillispie and the University of Kentucky, Michael Avery. Avery comes from a solid home, with a two-parent support system, and from discussions Kentucky Sports Report has had with his family, his feet are firmly on the ground about this solid decision.
Not so fast.
A "wild" story, Vitale called it. "I don't think it is healthy and good for college basketball," Vitale exclaimed, pointing out that the kid had "lock city" with Gillispie's offer of a scholarship. "Kentucky got a lot of headlines out of the Avery story. The bottom line is that this is not good for the game," Vitale espoused.
Not good for the game? Just because a solid, sound, well-supported kid is 15 and makes the decision to verbally commit to college? Not sign anything, mind you, not place his name--or his parent's name--on anything binding. Just make a public commitment that the school he intends to attend is "XYZ" University.
OK, so we know Vitale's position. Or do we?
Fast forward two decades. No, two years. Wait, just two months. Two months? Surely Vitale would remain consistent when Billy Donovan accepted the commitment of -- gasp -- 15 year old Austin Rivers, right?
Donovan strikes Gold, the special feature to ESPN penned by Vitale read on July 10, just a scant 63 days after he condemned the practice. "Austin, at age 15, is a future PTPer," Vitale gushed.
"It is a win-win situation for the Gators, the Rivers family, and a young man who gets to play for a coach that relates well to the modern-day athlete."
Maybe you're right, Vitale. But when? Is the "modern-day" 15-year old athlete's commitment good for the game, or not?
Or does it depend on the coach, and the University?
Inquiring minds want to know. Actually, we probably know already.
This author's opinion is that Dick Vitale may be the one who is no longer "healthy and good for college basketball." Maybe he's out of touch with "modern-day athletes." The bottom line is, he still gets a lot of headlines out of his stories, much like the claimed Michael Avery commitment to Kentucky did. Unfortunately, this time, Vitale himself may be the one who is no longer good for the game. Certainly the polar opposite views he expressed just 63 days apart, with the principal difference being only the name of the parties, would indicate just that.
This has been an editorial comment, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Kentucky Sports Report, LLC, or Scout.com or its affiliates.
Hey, Dick: When is 15 not really 15?
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