Internet Recruiting

The yearly College Football recruiting scramble has begun in earnest. Colleges nationwide are identifying their "needs and wants" lists. Coaches watching hours and hours of film. Fans yearning for any tidbit of information they can get their hands on. Let the fun begin.

Over the last few years the information flow has increased. One has to question if this is good or bad. Young men are being called daily by the "recruiting services". Ratings by the "gurus" are a dime-a-dozen. Fans deciding who is a potential star and who is not.

There are teams that the "information age" has hurt. Teams like Nebraska, who identifies their own top prospects irrespective of ratings and publicity. If other programs see Neb has offered an unknown prospect they notice. A coach then watches film and an otherwise unknown becomes a commodity for the masses. This helps the program that does not do their own research but piggybacks other program's offers. Refusal to name programs here is in my own best interest.

It is now common for a recruiting "guru" to recommend to prospects to hold off committing, as it will raise the young man's stock. The only stock that gets raised by this practice is the "recruiting services". By prolonging the process they create more interest and market their product to a larger base. There is no way someone can tell me the prospect gains anything by lengthening the recruiting process.

Where does the fan's "want to know" fall in this foray? Retrace steps ten years and very few knew anything about potential recruits. We read little blurbs in the newspaper and were happy "our program" just signed a kid that the coaches liked. This was enough. Now millions of dollars are spent annually to find out this info ten minutes before it is on the radio. Internet message boards have customers paying to hear the latest word a prospect may utter. Now we are all "insiders". We brag to our friends we have the latest news. Do we really "need to know"?

The results that I witness are not positive. Coaches are questioned for their decisions at an alarming rate. Kids are berated for not making the "correct" decision. Expectations result that are so artificially raised that no young man can reach them. There is no way to put the worm back in the can, but one can ask the "fan" to be just a little less rambunctious and a little more respectful of the process and the people involved.

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