Years ago, I sat in former
I can't imagine Bo in the era of private jets, video messaging and Twitter. I don't want to. Recruiting was bad back then. It is beyond description now. Big football schools can regularly spend nearly a million dollars each year -- some more than that -- to sign a couple dozen recruits. It doesn't always make them victorious. From 2010-2014, the
That's pretty bad return on investment.
But money might be the least offensive part. The behavior of coaches is embarrassing. Grown men act like lovesick teens outside a window, willing to serenade, drop to their knees, hire a mariachi band or rip off their clothes to get a yes.
And the players, some still too young to drive, are getting just as bad.
Earlier this month, we witnessed National Signing Day. Once this was nothing more than a line on football programs' calendars. Now, thanks to
This year on signing day, a
To say this is inappropriate is to be a decade too late. The message about the importance of sports today is insulting to the whole concept of education. There are no press conferences for science majors when they choose a college. No future math major ever skydived into admission.
And recruits now evidence a worrisome sense of entitlement. Last week, a
"I'm a free agent," he wrote.
That says it all. A kid still a year away from his senior prom already sees himself as a commodity open to all bidders.
But what can we expect when schools pursue prep stars like a Holy Grail? Here are true examples of the lengths to which college coaches have gone to sign a high school player: send 105 letters in a single day; arrive via painted helicopter; create personalized comic books; drive an 18-wheeler to a recruit's home; send out fake celebrity tweets celebrating the player; sleep over at the kid's house.
That last one made national headlines when
As the athletic director of
And all this time, you thought it was education. How naive.
Still, somebody should show these kids -- and their coaches -- the statistics on how many top recruits ever go on to successful
I think back to Bo complaining about having to be nice on a phone call. Hey, at least he never had to sleep in the family guest room, or wait for a future defensive back to fall out of the sky.