Wed. Oct 16th, 2019

The state of High School Football

Here we are, a decade of years after the Independence dynasty in North Carolina. During those years we saw a small number of players make moves to get into the school. This brought about a lot of “recruiting” talk. There were almost weekly complaints to CMS about this and that. Recruiting was top of the list of complaints.

At the end of the dynasty there was a big scandal in CMS centered around West Charlotte and recruiting violations. CMS held a massive investigation that spread out to looking into all schools, all sports. Independence and Tom Knotts came out clean from that.

There were two problems that year; One huge one – West Charlotte – and that gave CMS a black eye in my opinion, and South Mecklenburg. Both would have never amounted to anything if it were not for a young, ambitious reporter looking to move up in the world. That is a whole story in itself.

Here we are, 12-years later and I’ve been wondering… how do things compare today? It takes only two words for me to say… much worse

By much worse, I mean that things are almost out of control; and most of the problems aren’t generated from the major coaches – Head Coach and Coordinators – at each school. I’ve heard stories about coaches; but they are just stories until someone provides hard proof.

This is where things are not clear, it is on the fringe of the programs. Some of it is generated by coaches; coaches that are of the “volunteer type”; those fringe coaches that the head coach might not know very well. However, most of the problems come from adults just outside the programs. There are many different mechanisms these people use as their tools of recruitment. I know this to be fact, not fiction; but again, maybe for another story.

We had an incident two years ago where a new Head Coach hired a coordinator who also operated “camps” geared towards getting athletes to the next level. There was clear recruitment of a few players to the new school; this was caught, and addressed by the LEA. The coordinator was not allowed to coach; and the players in question suffered some bad consequences as a result.

Now what we should have today are adults, guiding younger adults in a positive direction; instead we have adults “teaching” through their actions that unethical behavior is tolerated, accepted even.


Twelve years ago, I had a parent involved in the West Charlotte scandal talk to me about the “recruiting” of his son. He assumed it was allowed since colleges also recruit. As we discussed it, I could understand the confusion; especially since he was not aware that both CMS and the NCHSAA did not allow this behavior.

This was a parent that I expected to know the rules. However, he was blind to them; as as I expect many parents are.

Today, I believe we are reaching a breaking point; a point we will not be able to return from. I’ll set the “unethical” recruiting part aside for a moment… I want to look at the moves and does the player actually benefit?

One of the reasons parents do this is because they believe it will help their child have a better shot at a scholarship. I get it that parents will do whatever they can; I’m a parent and always what to do whatever I could to help my children.

With my children I would never cross a line and do something unethical. Rules are rules, and one thing I wanted my children to learn was how to operate within the rules of any system; that breaking a rule to benefit yourself is not good, even if you don’t get caught. My belief is that there are valuable life lessons learned from the experiences of working to get what you want instead of “cheating the system”. I also tried to impress upon my children how important loyalty is. I know these things worked…

What are we teaching kids when we pull them away from their team to play at another school? They certainly aren’t being taught how to be a leader, how to be a team member and put team over themselves, are they?

Are they really getting better opportunities for scholarships? I don’t think so. It is my goal to discuss this with several Division 1 recruiters and let you view those interviews to hear their side of how they “find” players.

The recruitment part is something the school systems and state Athletic Associations must address. I’ll write thoughts on this later. Right now, I’m interested in hearing if you feel that moving a child to another school for athletic reason is a good idea.

And to finish this segment; yes, I know students move to other schools for other reasons.

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14 thoughts on “The state of High School Football

  1. Being a parent might be the hardest job on this planet.  If you ever want to be second-guessed, become a parent….

    (I’m providing my own thoughts about this topic strictly from a parent perspective).

    Regarding transfers (based on athletics), multiple variables exist.  The weight of each variable is ultimately assigned to the parent or guardian of the child.  You might ask “what are these variables?”.  Here’s an non-inclusive list:

    • Athlete’s enthusiasm over a particular sport.
    • Athlete’s ability to maximize his or her natural and learned talent in a given sport.
    • Facilities of the school.
    • Internal and external support for a particular sport.
    • Quality (and quantity) of coaching.
    • Positive (or negative) influences within a particular sports program.
    • Winning (or losing) culture of the sports program.
    • Positive exposure from athletic accomplishments that potentially could lead to future endeavors within a sport.

     

    If I feel like my child loves playing a particular sport, but the school does not (1) properly support this particular sport, (2) does not have the proper facilities (for example, weight training) that are either unsafe or won’t properly develop my child, (3) negativity/negative influences within the program, or (4) an acceptable level of trust within the coaching staff does not exist, I would definitely consider moving my child.  Beyond that, I really don’t have a clue how I would react simply because I do not have a child that excels at any given sport.  

    For those parents who are lucky enough to have a very gifted athlete, I wish them all the best of luck. 

    1. @jimwest

      It’s bad when you talk with someone and they tell you that coaches are attending combines with players to cut down on the recruitment of their players. I get as a parent, doing all that you can to help your kid. But the question is, are you really helping them? The answer is, no. 

      These kids are getting bad life lessons that will cost them later in life.

      1. Posted by: @daleross

        @jimwest

        It’s bad when you talk with someone and they tell you that coaches are attending combines with players to cut down on the recruitment of their players. I get as a parent, doing all that you can to help your kid. But the question is, are you really helping them? The answer is, no. 

        These kids are getting bad life lessons that will cost them later in life.

        I’m not so sure if this is applicable to all situations.  If a program has physical safety risks, I would have no issue pulling my kid out of school and transferring my kid to another school should my kid have a strong enough desire to play.  If the program has significant negative influences that the coaching staff, having been notified of my concerns, can’t or are not willing to address, I would also consider transferring my kid.  I think in both situations, a kid can learn important life lessons:  (1) safety is nonnegotiable and (2) walking away from negative influences, after trying to remedy the problem, is the proper route to go. 

        1. @jimwest

          There are certainly times that the responsible thing to do is to walk away. The problem I raise here is not those situations. There are influences to the  movement of players that are unethical. That is the issue, concern I was bringing up initially.

          Now, movement views from the parent side of things… one of them is better opportunity at scholarship. At least that is their view. I’ve reached out to one recruiter to discuss this topic, and he has agreed to discuss it. I am going to work on a few more.

          1. Posted by: @daleross

            @jimwest

            There are certainly times that the responsible thing to do is to walk away. The problem I raise here is not those situations. There are influences to the  movement of players that are unethical. That is the issue, concern I was bringing up initially.

            Now, movement views from the parent side of things… one of them is better opportunity at scholarship. At least that is their view. I’ve reached out to one recruiter to discuss this topic, and he has agreed to discuss it. I am going to work on a few more.

            “The grass is not always greener on the other side”….  I personally hate that phrase simply because it can be used for self-serving purposes, but overall, there’s some truth to that rhetorical statement.  

            Being a parent can and will cloud ones judgment…much like being a fan of a sports team.

          2. @jimwest

            There is much truth sometimes. If you’re good enough, they will find you. That is their job, and to lose a top player to a school because you didn’t consider them… well that can cost a recruiter his job.

  2. In society today and the over-saturation of social media, the recruiters will find most of the premium talent.  I’m sure some talent will seep through the cracks…there’s no fail-proof algorithm.  

    As far as coaches go, I think many coaches will suffer a 1983 Dick Vermeil-like burnout.  Keeping kids in the program, keeping peace with the parents, the alums, the fans, and the administration, and trying to mitigate off the field behavioral problems is not for the weary.  

    1. @jimwest

      Yes, a twitter share of a huddle video. These recruiters do have trusted contacts as well – mainly COACHES -. Got that readers? Coaches will tell recruiters about kids at OTHER schools. It goes a long way if coaches provide solid recruits, even if they aren’t in their program.

      The biggest part has to do with your body – that ugly word genetics – LOL. Height, weight – what size are you parents, grandparents – then of course some measurements of your athletic ability – speed, vertical etc different test results -]

      How many  state championships, or yards you gained etc… are not as big impacting metrics as some parents believe, and are lead to believe.

       

      Are things going to change concerning the movement? Yes, it’ll get worse. I’ll quote a trusted friend/coach who read this…

      “It’s not to change my friend.”

      1. @daleross

        A little (but not a lot) off topic, but you remember Chuck Nevitt.  Chuck is what I would refer to as a basketball recruiters’ nightmare.  He had one attribute…7 feet, 5 inches tall.  After that, it was literally all downhill.  Chuck was very thin, not very athletic, and he was easily pushed around in the post.  And he really didn’t have good stamina, either.  Chuck averaged around 3 points and 3 rebounds per game at NCSU.  His height alone got him on an NBA roster for a decade.

        I mention Chuck simply because it’s so easy for recruiters to be lured into a player’s potential.  Could you imagine if Chuck played high school hoops during the social media age?  The videos would show him dunking the ball over players more than a foot shorter.  Sometimes social media makes a player look more appealing than what is deserved.

        I don’t think recruiting would be easy.  There’s just not enough time in the day to measure all of an athlete’s attributes.  However, with social media, exception players tend not to go unnoticed that often.

         

        1. @jimwest

          But that doesn’t tell the entire story on Chuck Nevitt… he developed each go, and his PPG went up each season, ending up at 5.5 his senior season. His games played went up each year , as did his minutes per game. They knew his physical situation and that he would not be a contributor early on because his bones outgrew everything else on him. His senior season, he was a big contributor, especially on the defensive end of the court. He had a lot of blocks that senior season. He was 1-2 years behind where they want him to be. It took longer to build his body overall to match his size. But his development, etc got him a decent career in the NBA.

          1. @daleross

            The Chuckster saw a whopping 825 minutes of court action in his NBA career.  A 6th or 7th man on an NBA roster will accumulate more minutes within a half of a season.

            The best Chuck Nevitt story was before the last of the “Big Four” tournaments.  Chuck was a junior and a semi-regular starter for the Wolfpack.  NCSU is about to play Wake Forest.  The team is in a pregame huddle.

            Jimmy V:  “Hey Chuck, are you nervous?”

            Chuck: “I’m not nervous.  I’m just uncertain”

            Jimmy V:  “Uncertain about what?”

            Chuck:  “My sister is delivering her baby right now.  I don’t know if I will be an aunt or an uncle”.

            The entire team laughs.  Jimmy V is happy because his team is loose.  

            Wake Forest then blows NCSU out of the water for Jimmy V’s first loss as NCSU’s head coach.

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