Lane Kiffin is making the news again, and this time it’s by recruiting a 7th grader. According to this article (linked below) from ESPN by Ramona Shelburne, 13 year old David Sills committed to play for USC when he graduates high school……in six years.
This brings up an issue I have with college recruiting today in basketball and now football. We have heard stories of basketball coaches offering 8th graders scholarships and now it’s in football. The problem I have with this is that to me it seems like your putting pressure on a young kid to make a decision at a young age. How many decisions did you make that would make an impact in your life at age 13?
Another problem with coaches doing this is you don’t know if that kid will be good at the next level. For example, a kid on the 8th grade basketball that is 6 feet tall is obviously going to be good considering everyone around him is maybe 5’4’’ 5’5’’. Sills is said to be 6 feet which is tall for a 7th grader in my mind of course he’s going to look good. What if these kids don’t grow, that 6 foot basketball player may only grow another inch or two and becomes over matched by the time he is a senior in high school, doesn’t look so good now does he.
The other problem with recruiting this early and having them commit early is that these athletes still have time to change their minds. We see it all the time with IU football recruits, a good recruit that commits when he is a junior and by the time he is senior he realizes that better schools are recruiting them so they go their instead, or they just decide they don’t want to go to IU anymore. We see these athletes change their mind constantly (Jeremy Finch).
It was tough enough for non athletes to make a decision on where to go for their education. What if these coach stop recruiting for this one position cause an athlete commits as a junior and the coach thinks he’s a lock, that athlete could change his mind and now the coach is stuck with nothing (Bruce Weber).
The point being is that there is a problem with recruiting an athlete when he is young and sometimes really young as it is in this case. Recruiting an athlete for any sport men’s or women’s (however I’ve never seen this problem in Women’s collegiate sports) that just became a teenager is wrong in my opinion and needs to be addressed by the NCAA. My way of fixing this is maybe making a rule where you can’t start recruiting (by this I mean showing interest) a kid till maybe after his/her freshman year and can’t offer a scholarship till he/she is a junior in high school. That is just my opinion, anyone else have any thoughts about this?