As I witnessed scholarship commitments in a variety of sports coming earlier and earlier over the last decade or so, I consistently questioned why university athletic programs would be allowed the freedom to make such offers. I can certainly attest to the idea (as a 30-year veteran in education - 17 coaching) that most high school freshmen and sophomores are not prepared to make such a life decision.
They are still in the "figuring out who I am" mode and not in the "I know what I want to be" stage - let alone prepared to decide what college is best for them; not by a long shot.
And if you think that this new proposal has only come about because of early high school recruiting, think again. Remember seventh-grade athlete David Sills, highlighted in "College Recruits Getting Younger and Younger: Kindergarten the next great recruiting venue!!!," and his commitment to play football at USC? (C'mon, does he even know what size shoe his mom buys for him?)
As I said in that piece, I am all about striving to be the best one can be (if that is what the athlete wants to do); however, why make this particular decision so early? What's the rush? I see more downside for both athlete and school than upside.
In order to drastically cut back on this trend, the NCAA is looking into backing a proposal prohibiting scholarship "offers to recruits before July 1 in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school," as reported by the Associated Press last week in NCAA proposes end to early scholarship offers.
And they are looking to do this in all sports, not just a few.
Well, all I can say is an emphatic YES, and that it is about time!!!
In fact, if it were up to me, I would tack onto the proposal that no contact regarding athletics be allowed in either direction (athlete/parent to athletic program or athletic program to athlete/parent) until August before the start of an athlete's junior year - with severe consequence to the school for doing so. At least this would help put some type of control over underhanded discussions of scholarship occurring.
This would still allow parents and athletes to take the initiative to visit on their own time before that date. No pressure at all, just taking a look and seeing what the school has to offer - educationally.
Boy, wouldn't that be nice!!!