Basketball Recruiting’s Dirty Game

By Marcus Shockley

ESPN has jumped onto the story of the underside of basketball recruiting, something we’ve written about quite often in the past. It’s actually surprising that it has taken this long for the top sports network in the country to start reporting on something that is so obvious and out of control.
In a new story by Dana O’Neil, she interviews college coaches on what’s wrong with summer recruiting:

Here’s the silver lining for college basketball: Virtually every coach thinks that the majority of Division I programs are not intentionally breaking major rules. Of the 20, only four said 25 percent or more of the programs were, in the words of one coach, “committing felonies.”

“I had a question about e-mailing a kid and I asked another coach,” someone explained. “He thought we could; I thought we couldn’t. We both called our compliance directors and got two different answers.”

This article is apparently just part of a larger series about this subject. But it barely scratches the surface of the issue. The real issue is that during the summer, young talented basketball players travel all over the country to try and play as much as possible. Most players do not have their parents travelling with them, and many of them come from poor neighborhoods, broken homes or similar situations. Regardless of tough exteriors and tattoos, most of these players are young, polite and impressionable, easily manipulated by world-wise adults who only see dollar signs.

This is the real problem. As long as there are adults who think they can profit from a basketball player, and basketball players who are not experienced in the game of life, there will manipulation, corruption, and yes, even money changing hands. It’s a serious issue, and for now, the NCAA seems to be more concerned with coaches than other people talking to the players.

The NCAA should be creating a program that guides players with free consulting on college, financial decisions, and life. But I seriously doubt that will happen, because that takes responsibility and ownership. It’s much easier for the NCAA to just hire more people to watch the coaches, an increasingly ineffectual tactic.

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