The CNNSI article in today's links discussed the evolution that seems to be taking place in the sport of football and it's an evolution headed down a similar path to that of basketball. Prep academies, traveling tournaments and seven on seven events designed to put players in a position of maximum exposure and funnel them to the next level which is of course college.
In football this is a model that has remained relatively under the radar and it most likely still is on a widespread level, but it seems to be gaining some momentum. It's a model that has virtually eliminated the significance of high school basketball and while that isn't likely to happen in football due to the football crazed nature of our country, might some of the less desirable affects of the model creep into the sport?
The NCAA and some college coaches worry that adding another layer of third-parties will increase the number of people looking for illegal payments to steer players to certain schools. In football, high school coaches remain primary conduits to players in most cases. - Read more
While it's impossible to say that all high school coaches are on the up and up it appears far more likely that they will be based on the existing example that seems to have been set by AAU basketball. Follow a recruiting website or service and glance at basketball reporting compared to football reporting and there seems to be a substantial difference. Basketball recruiting coverage is filled with AAU interviews, glamor photo shoots and players with ego's larger than Lebron James at times. Football recruiting coverage seems dominated by players looking to gain exposure, high school coaches and while the top end talent certainly has some that fall in the large ego category, many are looking for an opportunity. At the moment it's two different animals in a lot of ways.
It seems to me that this might be further out for a variety of reasons including a variance in the rules between the two sports.
A high school coach, unlike a third-party hanger-on, might lose his livelihood if he runs afoul of NCAA rules. As the NCAA has learned in basketball, there is no such fear among those who hang around an elite travel team.
The good news for the NCAA is that its football recruiting rules do eliminate one potential minefield. Unlike basketball, where college coaches can attend certain travel-team tournaments and potentially break NCAA contact rules, football coaches are not allowed to watch the travel team tournaments at the moment.
Nonetheless it's food for thought and I'm curious how it would impact a program like Kansas who might have a harder time scouting the under the radar prospect and developing relationships with football "feeders" so to speak. Turner Gill would seem like someone who could develop the relationship, but he also seems like someone who would not at all be interested in getting caught up in the less desirable aspect that might come with it.
On some level it seems to allow basketball programs to improve in leaps and bounds in a relatively short time based on a sudden "relationship". Does that translate to football as well? These are two completely different animals but as talk and trends continue toward the two sport mirroring eachother on a prep level, it will be interesting to see what carry's over from the basketball scene to the football scene.