As the college football regular season comes to an end the heart of the college recruitment season commences. Schools are restricted to a set of defined weeks to visit potential recruits in their homes and they can only make official visits to their campus for a few weeks in the December and to the January to March period. All expenses related to official visits are paid by the colleges and are limited in the number of days. Unofficial visits can be made but all expenses are the family’s and their contact with coaching staff is more restricted. The more highly recruited players tend to make their official visits during their junior year.
Recruits must take into a host of factors and not get caught up in all the glitz and the flattering puff up statements made various coaches. The case of Robert Marve illustrates why a student must think carefully about all the factors, particularly if one is being recruited by the major programs. The high school athletes often will make verbal commitments a year or more prior to the signing period. The national signing period for football starts on February 4 2009.
Once a recruit commits to a college in writing, the college is committed to providing the student-athlete the promised scholarship. As a student cannot readily transfer to another university, woe to the player who comes in with expectations that are not meet. What most fans do not know is that NCAA rules make it difficult for students to transfer to another program.
Transferring to a Div II and Div III program is not normally an issue but going to another Div I program normally requires that a student not play the year immediately following his/her transfer. Further the NCAA allows their coach to prohibit the student-athlete from playing for specific colleges. Most coaches put schools in the same conference on the restricted list.
Robert Marve a player with the University of Miami Hurricanes was expecting not to be able to play for another ACC team but he has discovered that the list can be much longer than the ACC. His coach at Miami, Randy Shannon has taken the NCAA’s rule beyond its traditional list and has prohibited his player from playing for a total of 27 schools, all ACC schools, all SEC schools and all Florida schools, Marve’s home state. Shannon’s anger and list is beyond the pale. For his players, his message of intimidation is clear, if you dare to leave the program I will bury you.
Hopefully high school student athletes and their families being recruited by Shannon will give serious pause by Shannon’s list as it indicates the character of the man who coaches Miami Hurricanes. A college coach is a faculty member, a teacher who should not only be teaching the sports skills but life and character skills. A coach who puts winning and intimidation of players above the student speaks is not the life and character issues that I believe should be taught to our college students. Shannon’s action suggests that his players are athletes first and students second, and winning comes above everything else.
College players are students first, athletes second. Let us never forget it! Lets not forget that the character of a coach we see on the television may not be the character.