“Recruiting creep” isn’t what you think it is.

There’s a pretty good story in today’s Washington Post about Rivals’ decision to add sixth-graders to its recruiting database.  As you can probably guess, there’s a somewhat sleazy commercial element to the move.

The NextGen Web site advertises the camp is “designed to discover and provide exposure for the country’s best middle school football players.” It vows to place the best performers at each camp in “our Future Five Star Newsletter,” which is distributed to “our network of college coaches and personnel directors.” It also promises “Elite Performers” the ultimate validation: a profile on Rivals.com.

Follow the chain: Rivals.com gains easy access to players, which it can use to entice fans to click on and subscribe to its content. NextGen and Williams receive the Rivals stamp of approval, which it can use to woo parents and earn a few more $99 entry fees. Parents gain the satisfaction of giving their children “exposure” to college coaches.

But the value of such exposure, those college coaches say, is null.

“It is all about exploiting these young people to say, ‘come here and get exposure to the coaches,’ so the kids have to pay money to go to these camps,” Edsall said. “You are not going to make a decision off of someone who is in the sixth grade.”

With all due respect to Edsall, let’s not forget that he has peers who have made offers to eighth-graders, which means all he’s getting his knickers in a wad over is a matter of timing.  But I agree that a coach who is evaluating sixth-graders is wasting his time.  And there aren’t many head coaches who have time like that to waste.

So, yeah, the real reason this is going on is monetary.  Rivals and NextGen aren’t quasi-pedophiles.  They just assume the source of their business is.  Recruiting creep is creepy.



Filed under Recruiting

9 responses to ““Recruiting creep” isn’t what you think it is.

  1. watcher16

    Do parents really want profiles of their 6th grade kids on the inter-webs?!


    • Dawgfan Will

      Far too many think their child is the next Tiger Woods, and they don’t care how vulnerable they make their child to get that validation.


  2. SouthGaDawg

    This isn’t about the kids. It’s about the opportunistic coaches (hint – travel ball and AAU coaches looking for easy $) and crazed helicopter parents. This is idiocy.


  3. ChilliDawg

    Hmmmm. More money over longer timeframes. Smells like an opportunity. When does the first lawsuit from parents upset that their sixth grader after signing up with a service doesn’t get the proper “star” rating and hence is disadvantaged in getting the proper a scholarship offer from the school of their choice? And if it’s their daughter who’s participating, how will they square the ratings as they (ahem) develop?


  4. Beakerdawg

    College football started to die when ESPN realized that they were on top of an endless oil reserve.
    Kids as young as 9 are brought into the soccer clubs in Europe. They are housed, boarded, given a basic education, but their existence is to develop as a player.
    At what point will these recruits no longer be “going to college” and just be “a football player” at Georgia brought through the academy program. If they have to be a student too, they can major in “Football”. They can choose to get a real major but it won’t be required.


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    ‘Recruiting Creep’?
    I thought there was gonna be a picture of Corch at the link.


  6. 69Dawg

    Hey the NCAA needs to nip this stuff in the bud. AAU has almost killed college basketball and the 7 on 7 leagues are just as bad.


  7. VADawg

    (Insert Penn State joke here)