I’m glad Brandt flagged this recruiting story from last week. I meant to — but got sidetracked. I suspect that the top coaches and programs have become quite sophisticated in knowing just what they can and can’t do in getting players. So I suppose the question of “Are coaches recruiting?” boils down to the definition of “recruiting.”
I, personally, would prefer a world in which public schools just coached up the kids that attend their schools — and where private schools played each other. Team stacking begins at a very young age, as anyone who’s ever been a Little League parent can attest. It’s no more attractive when it involves 16-year-olds. To me, it falls under the broad rubric of “cheating”. But that horse is out of the barn, and it long ago trampled my ideal world. The world I actually live in often rewards creative cheating.
And with that in mind, l have a thought:
I know nothing about Jadrian Clark other than the really impressive performance I witnessed against LHS last season. But why do people scream about a talented young quarterback leaving the rarified South Lakeland air of Jenkins for the hood of Lakeland High, while offering nary a peep when McKeel or the IB program or Jenkins siphon off the best prepared students from other school zones and then tout their success in teaching them?
Listen to the whining now, “It’s not faaaiiirrrr.” That’s right. It’s not. But life’s not fair, is it?
Chances are, if you attend or teach at the wealthy Jenkins — or at McKeel, or IB, or Lakeland Montessori, or any of the other publicly-funded private schools in our two-tiered system* — you’ve enjoyed the upside of the unfairness for a very long time. But you’re not entitled to enjoy it in perpetuity. Getting all the breaks is not the default state of human existence. Remember that when Jadrian Clark throws four touchdowns against you next year.
*My kids attend Harrison/Lakeland High and Lakeland Montessori, which makes me a prime beneficiary of the unfair world.