“The kid’s world went into disarray.”

Yeah, the optics surrounding this ain’t pretty.

Ryan Dickens beamed for the crowd Sunday night, his mind racing over all he had accomplished and the future he was ready to tackle.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior linebacker from Raritan High School had just been honored with a 2016 Mini Max Award for his football excellence, strong academics and devotion to community service, which includes roles in teen suicide prevention, breast cancer awareness and fundraisers for families in crisis.

Dickens also had his most important decision locked up, having verbally committed seven months earlier to accept a scholarship offer to play football for the University of Connecticut. He wore UConn T-shirts to school, chatted in group text messages with other UConn recruits and had already planned to major in business. Now, he was only 17 days from signing his name to a National Letter of Intent and making his dreams official.

Or so he thought.

Dickens’ cell phone rang while he and his parents, Matt and Patti, were still in the parking lot of the awards banquet in Princeton Junction Sunday night. UConn coach Randy Edsall was on the other end. Ryan Dickens excitedly answered the phone, but in an instant his world was shattered.

Edsall was calling to tell Dickens the unthinkable: The school no longer had a scholarship for him.

“And the next thing you hear is Ryan’s like, ‘You’re kidding, right?’” Patti Dickens said. “And then he put the phone on speaker and Edsall said, ‘No, Ry, we just decided we’re going to go in another direction. We don’t have a spot for you.’”

The timing certainly makes it something of a dick move and I’ve never been a big fan of Randy Edsall, but I can’t say I’m totally unsympathetic to his decision to pull the scholarship offer.  Diaco was fired because UConn performed poorly; if you’re hired to improve upon that, it’s hard not to start by taking a close look at what the last guy left you with and evaluate what your best options are.  Being bound by the promises of a coach who didn’t win isn’t what they’re paying you for.

And it’s how the recruiting rules are set up, which is why there’s resistance among coaches to early signing dates.  Anything that lets a kid bind a school a minute earlier than a coach prefers represents a threat to the current order of things that coaches control.  Having the freedom to pull offers until the last minute, along with raiding your old school’s commitment list the second after you take a new job, are features, not bugs.

An early signing date won’t have much impact on the elite prospects, but it should make for some interesting changes in what coaches tell the lower-tiered kids like Dickens.  My bet is Randy Edsall won’t be too happy about that.

Advertisements

24 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

24 responses to ““The kid’s world went into disarray.”

  1. Spike

    It’s a shitty thing to do to a 17-18 year old kid. I know. It was done to mine.

    Like

    • Bazooka Joe

      What makes it even shittier is that the new coach had just met with this kid like a week or two earlier and confirmed his scholly, then pulled it from him.
      If we ever start doing that, I’m done.

      Like

  2. Got Cowdog

    It’s a dick move. Senator, I understand the management necessity for such things, but it’s still a dick move. I don’t think I would do it. Not to a kid. Karma, golden rule, sleeping at night, etc.
    Probably why I’ll never be rich…..

    Like

  3. Dog in Fla

    It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

    Like

  4. SWGADAWG

    Don’t you figure that it will just mean that the lower level recruits will not be offered as early? It might in fact begin to give the second tier guys less choice or at least a later choice.

    Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Lower level recruits won’t be offered by top tier schools as early. But the early offers will be earnest. Clemson won’t offer a 3-star kid a scholarship in December, but Troy would. If he doesn’t want to end up like Ryan Dickens, he could take the Troy scholarship early and have peace of mind.

      It also exposes interest in marginal kids for exactly what it is. If you can make a binding offer to a kid early and you don’t, that kid knows exactly where he stands. It’s hard to convince a kid that you’re “ALL IN” on him when you refuse to offer him a scholarship until the last minute, assuming your numbers work out the way you hope they will.

      Like

  5. Macallanlover

    Horrible, really bad form on any coach, or recruit’s, part to switch plans at the last minute. Early signing won’t eliminate all of this but offers made at least can be locked in to prevent crap like this from happening. I will say there is some time to react, but not much, and it doesn’t excuse Edsall. And yes, I am aware we made a similar dick move a couple of weeks ago.

    One thing I would like to see along with the early signing period is a 4 year contract for a scholarship, and not a one year promise.

    Like

    • The 4 year guarantee isn’t going to happen as long as there is a hard 85 cap.

      Programs can’t take the chance that a kid completely phones it in once they get on campus and thus eats up a spot for 3 more years.

      It’s a dirty business, but it is what it is. The most unfair part in all this to me is the information disadvantage the kids have. They should be allowed to have an attorney (or an industry should be allowed to form) to help them truly understand their options. That said, I fully understand how that could get messy as well.

      Like

      • I find the 1 year renewable to be a bunch of garbage especially in the context of the transfer rules.

        Like

        • Don’t disagree with that. There’s a lot of area between the 2 extremes to come up with a better mousetrap.

          Like

          • Macallanlover

            Actually, I meant the school was on the hook for paying for the 4 years, didn’t mean they would be guaranteed to be on the team. Now if they transfer, all bets are off.

            Like

            • But what if they just call F it and get lazy and develop a bad attitude bc they’re not playing?

              It’s too much risk to a program.

              Like

              • Macallanlover

                Then move to an academic scholly, and pull all the support. If they can make it as a student on their own, that is part of the deal. If they don’t meet the academic hurdles, then the schppl is off the hook. Never meant they would get a 4 year athletic spot guarantee, just a 4 year scholarship to UGA.

                Like

      • Napoleon BonerFart

        A 4-year guarantee could be a valuable tool for marginal programs. If Alabama and Clemson offer a 4-star kid a one year deal, maybe Vanderbilt can catch Momma’s attention with a 4-year guarantee. Granted, few coaches probably support a 4-year guarantee for everyone. But electing to offer that kind of commitment to a highly ranked recruit could help close the talent gap for some schools.

        Like

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “just win baby! ”

      ….its the new mantra.

      Like

  6. One thing to say positive about our transition … from what I understand, Kirby didn’t pull a single scholarship offer from a previously committed player. He honored every one of Richt’s commitments. That does speak to Kirby’s integrity versus others in the business like that cretin Randy Edsell.

    Like

    • Dog in Fla

      “Men, there are four ways of doing things aboard my ship: the right way, the wrong way, the Navy way and my way — the Randy Edsall way. Let me say this: We do things my way and no one else’s, because Randy Edsall is all about one thing, and one thing only. And that’s Randy Edsall.”
      (h/t Sally Jenkins)

      Like

  7. Sanford222view

    What makes it even worse is ESPN Radio claims Edsall also called the kid on a few weeks prior to assure him he would have an offer still. I am not sure how accurate that is since radio personality who said that claimed it was on January 1st. Wasn’t that still during the dead period or no?

    I kind of get the not honoring a former coach’s promise thing but if he did in fact tell the kid a few weeks earlier he was still getting an offer that is pretty lame.

    Like

  8. Ken Dorfman

    its just sausage making gents.

    Like

  9. Mayor

    I hope the kid has other options.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      Heard he has an offer, and may get others. My biggest concern is Edsall waiting so late in the process, he had to know there were doubts before now, at least tell the kid this might not be the best fit for either party. Not as bad as the last day flips we have all seen, but pulling an offer should be a no-no for the last 30 days.

      Like

  10. 92 grad

    If it were me, I’d have told the kid “I’m close with coaches on staff at x, y and z universities and my O coordinator is trying to find you a spot at a few more schools so I’ll keep you posted. Keep your phone with you”

    And I would seriously try to land the kid a scholly somewhere.

    Like