Everyone would be surprised at the people who have been reading this blog. I have emails from a number of college guys I know. In fact I received 2 yesterday asking me some interesting questions I will not share at this time. But here are a few items that will provide some insight at recruiting and rewards.
Years ago my man Larry told me a few stories about his exploits on the recruiting trail as the lead Assistant for a university that would become number 1 in America. He recruited three special players including the number 1 HS player in America. Well the huge recruiting battle was not really for the number 1 HS player in America. It was for one of the others.
The players recruitment was handled by his Mom who was a nice Women according to Larry. But the battle to get him was fierce between Larry's school and a current Big East School. In fact Sports Illustrated wrote years ago about Larry and the Head Coach of the BE school coming close to fighting in the living room of the players home.
Both programs were attempting to show love in there own way to get the player to sign. Larry and his Head Coach went first and as they were leaving the BE school, who at the time was not in the Big East (not sure the BE was established), showed up for their presentation. After they finished both programs were told the family would decide the next morning at a specific time and invited both back to the home at the assigned time. Well when morning came Larry and his boss decided to go an hour early because they did not trust the other team. And to no ones surprise when they arrived there was the other Coaches parked outside trying to get another face to face before the final decision.
Needless to say an argument between Larry and the other Head Coach took place and they had to be separated. The family decided to bring in each program again. According to Larry, the BE team increased their love significantly to the point the Mother, the nice women she was, had a smile on her face. But despite that love increase, they got their man with their own love, and an opportunity to be part of something new and special. Though the Mother had a smile on her face for them as well.
Well folks that's an example of how recruiting was years ago. Recent years has brought about a change including AAU and Travel Team Coaches more involved than ever. Remember I applaud this based on the large number of HS Coaches who just coach to collect a paycheck. But despite my love for a number of AAU guys I know, there are still things going on across America that needs to be addressed. Many of the things provide an unfair advantage for some colleges, high schools, and AAU/Travel programs.
Relationships are great to have but many fail to realize that most college coaches really could care less about the coaching staff at the Montclare Timberwolfs, or the Brooklyn Hawks, both names I hope do not exist. Nor do they really care about most high schools or the coaches.
It's so funny when you see AAU/Travel guys trying to hang with the big boys. Now there are some exceptions to the rules, but most know that good players have multiple advisers and in staff meetings they go over in detail who will be calling the shots. No real secretes! These coaches know how important it is to stay in touch with potential decision makers or people with some influence. Many schools have lost kids by not having their homework done. I still laugh at how one particular BE Head Coach kind of mentioned to a potential recruits HS coach, "I sure wish I had an opening on my staff because I would snatch you up right away." The HS coach in question was horrible but had a very good player on his roster. Well the kid was pushed by the HS coach to the BE school because he thought he would eventually be hired. So recruiting is alot of nurturing, or should I say butt kissing. Some do it better than others.
I mentioned exceptions to the rules. Guys like John Chaney would never do anything illegal because he felt they would come right at him. As good as Temple was, he did it the old fashioned way, with hard work. Also, in the NYC Tri-State Area, schools like Rutgers and SHU have genuine intentions and great relationships. They also do everything above board. Ditto St. Johns who at one time had a great legal payment system with housing. At the time kids who played at St. Johns received a housing allowance based on the cost of living in Jamaica Estates, which is very upper middle class. They also received regular federal grants if they were eligible. Remember it WAS LEGAL because St. Johns did not have dorms. They attracted many kids. Some purchased Auto's and commuted, others just lived it up. I always felt when St. Johns got the beautiful dorms it would hurt the basketball team. But all three teams do it correctly from what I have witnessed. Plus they are genuine with their relations with people. Norm, FHJ, Gonzo, Jim Carr, DG, Dermon, CC, and others have established relationships that they will always have.
Now lets talk about some things others do. I cannot go into detail but I will say even some of the most squeaky clean programs have ways of getting things done based on War Chests. Ivy schools even get things done via a powerful alumni network. No scholarships but the recent decision by Harvard to pay full costs for kids in need make them a future Ivy contender. In the past a kid who was very good would choose a school like Stanford or Northwestern. With full aid, Harvard will attract better players. Tommy A. always is in the right place it seems lolol.
Many national programs with money encourage local businesses to sponsor tournaments and games on their campus as a way to get potential recruits there. How about employment opportunities for parents and relatives? What about secrete discount hotel deals for travel teams and parents when games and tournaments are held near there campus? How about discount car deals for that Toyota or even Firebird (from years ago). But you guys know about all of this I am sure.
But what has stunned me recently is the ticket exchange programs run by many colleges. Final 4 tickets are very expensive to everyone not receiving through the NCAA lottery, NABC, or participating schools. Tickets to the Saturday double header can be $1000 or more per ticket. I have heard a rumor that there are certain folks who get those tickets and are able to sell them at a huge profit since they get them free. Nice reward for having good players in your program. I even heard that a few travel coaches act as actual ticket brokers. So imagine getting 12 tickets from 6 programs recruiting your players and you can sell them for $1,000 each. That's $12,000!! Remember, I got this from a source and have no details on who actually does this. But it seems possible.
Which brings me back to the advantages of being a big money college program or a sponsored travel or HS team.
The big money schools can do so much with large recruiting budgets. They can only watch kids they are recruiting so many times. But at an AAU or Travel team tournament, they can be all over the place. They also are blessed with great equipment for mail merges, special mailings, video production, etc. They can make a kid who is their 250th option feel he is the number one priority.
Now how do I get a great HS Program to participate in my tournament being held in Sycamore Kansas? UMMMMMMMM! Sponsored programs on the HS and Travel level always participate where the sponsor feels they can get the most exposure. And as a sponsored team, there is always a budget for equipment, travel, etc.
This was just a small piece I wanted to do to provide some insight into the real recruitment world.