Not for love or money

Chip Towers tells a heartwarming story about Trent Thompson’s recruitment.

As recruits go, they don’t come any more highly recommended than Trent Thompson.

Not only did he come to Georgia rated as a consensus five-star prospect, but he also achieved the No. 1 overall spot in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, which take into account the evaluations of all the major recruiting outlets.

All this kind of slipped up on Bridgette Flewellen, Thompson’s mother. Obviously she knew her middle child was big and good in football. But she didn’t really understand the depth and scope of it until they were in the full throes of the recruiting frenzy.

“I came home and started seeing stacks of mail,” Flewellen said. “The next day, another stack of mail. I’m like, ‘this is getting serious!’ All the sudden I’ve got five or six bags full of mail. Then they started calling, wanting him to come look at this school and that one.’

“I was like, ‘my baby?’ All I could do was look up and say ‘thank you, Lord.’ This is my baby!”

The interesting part of it is that it mostly was for naught. Thompson’s recruitment really was over before it started.

Thompson secretly accepted the first offer he got. It was from Georgia, and it came during their junior day during 2014.

“It was my first offer, the first school I visited, the first coach that came down to meet me and tell me they wanted me at Georgia,” Thompson said. “So I made my mind up I was going there.”

Not that he was going to let that get in the way of this impending adventure. Neither Thompson nor anyone in his family had ever been very far away from Albany. So Thompson readily accepted invitations for official visits to Auburn, Florida, Florida State and USC.

He also went to San Antonio, Texas, for the U.S. Army All-American Game. For that one, his mom went along. It happened to be the first plane flight of her life.

“She was squeezing my leg the whole time,” Thompson tattled.

Flewellen laughed. “I was talking real loud when I got off. I couldn’t hear anything!”

Like I said, that’s sweet.  You can’t help but share in Flewellen’s excitement there… until you step back and reflect on the NCAA’s position that a kid who’s never really been far from home with a mom who’s never flown on an airplane before are perfectly capable all on their lonesome of weighing the ins and outs of a national letter of intent.

If Trent Thompson were as skilled at playing baseball as he is at football, we wouldn’t be hearing this charming tale, or at least that wouldn’t be the entire story.  Because in preparing for the MLB draft, he would have hired someone to explain the consequences of the most important decision of his young life to him.  And nobody would find that inappropriate.

That the NCAA thinks that and, more importantly, is willing to punish a kid who might think about hiring someone to help him with understanding a contract is sad.  Honestly, given that Thompson has a learning disability that makes reading difficult, it borders on the outrageous.

But at least they love Mark Richt.  That makes it all right.

7 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

7 responses to “Not for love or money

  1. Ron

    Free choice doesn’t have to be fair and 5 star recruits don’t have to play football. The better solution is to create a better machine if you don’t think the current one satisfies the market. Or just bitch about fairness with no real purpose.

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    • Yes, Trent can only be free if the NCAA is allowed to ignore antitrust law.

      But I’m sure he’ll get right on building that better machine.

      Fair warning: it’s really going to suck for you when Kessler wins his lawsuit.

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    • Cosmic Dawg

      How do you think people generally get a better machine made? By NOT talking and writing about it with their neighbors?

      Does the industry you work in allow price fixing and labor market restrictions that essentially prohibit the entrance of competitors to compete for your labor, driving up the demand (and price) of your services and (equally important) allowing choice between contracts?

      Is the industry you work in so specialized that if you had to take a couple of years off, you couldn’t convert your highest-dollar skill into a similarly-paying skill suited for some other industry? What if all your alternatives were (in most cases with these kids) well below the poverty line?

      Would you be cool with it if, because certain people had clout with the government, they reduced your lifetime earning potential by about 10%-20% – paid immediately – because it suited them to require you to fulfill a 2-4 year unpaid apprenticeship?

      The end of the lousy govt-mandated guild system in England was an important part of the birth of free markets and the skyrocketing standard of living that followed. The “machine” you refer to is a free market, it was already “built”, but it’s been corrupted by these and other crony laws.

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  2. Macallanlover

    Excellent point, Senator. I don’t disagree with a word of it, and I am proud TT chose UGA and I hope he has a productive career at both the collegiate, and professional levels to reward him and his mother. He seems like a really good young man, and she a devoted mother. Good things should happen to good people.

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  3. Uglydawg

    If an unsophisticated and rather innocent person is to deal with an entitiy that seeks to secure their services, with a bonding contract, that person could find no better entity to treat them fairly and honestly than Coach Mark Richt, UGA.
    Fear not, ye of slight worldliness..ye have chosen wisely.

    Perhaps Trent is gifted at judging a man’s sincerity,character and heart..things one might learn from grandma.

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  4. AG

    I didn’t realize recruits were not allowed to hire a lawyer to aid them in the most important decision of their life.

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