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.