Fan-atics don't know the game

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Football fanatics think they know everything abut the game. But there is a lot they don't know about recruiting.

When you are a fan-atic, you don't think straight. Everything revolves around your favorite program. It can do no wrong. There is no room for objectivity. You are a cheerleader. If the school is being investigated, you blame it on the investigators or snitches. You watch everything through rose-colored glasses or the school colors.

Fan-atics don't forgive or understand that everyone is human. A good example was the basketball war between Illinois and Indiana over the recruiting of Eric Gordon. Hatred boiled over. Hey, folks, it's a game, not the Middle East conflict.

It is shocking to me, even after 31 years in this business. I understand that only 1 percent of the public has turned recruiting into a personal vendetta or the Hatfields vs. the McCoys...death threats, name-calling, profanity-laced e-mails, "fire the coach" Websites, and that's before it starts to get ugly.

They are the ones who hang out on their computers all day, eating Cheetos and drinking beer. They are the anonymous ones, the really scary ones.

Fortunately, most football fans take the game and recruiting as it is...sports, fun, homecoming, Dad's Day, not the end of the world.

Unfortunately, the unrealistic 1 percent always think their school should get a kid because it has so much to offer. They fail to understand (or admit to themselves) that other schools have great salesmen and facilities and also have a lot to offer, maybe even more than your school.

One football recruiter once told me that he never lost a prospect, that if he didn't sign the recruit, it was because (1) he didn't want the kid in the first place or (2) the other school cheated. Most fan-atics have the same philosophy.

Evaluating isn't that difficult. It isn't brain surgery or nuclear physics. A coach must fit a model for each position. It includes a size description, quick feet and speed. Then you have to evaluate how a prospect plays the game. If he is a Division I candidate, he must stand out. He must have Division I potential. He must stand out against high school competition. All All-Staters need not apply.

The 1 percent doesn't accept any of this logic. It's a shame because they tend to ruin the fun for many of us who want to enjoy the game and recruiting for what it is, football's second season.

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Tom, great article. I know you referenced this for football, but it happens with basketball too.

Check out bradleyfans.com and what Tornado and Da Coach write daily!

All good points Tom. The bottom line is that, as fans, we are irrational.

One of the things I see, especially in high school fans (of which I am one) it that we fall in love with our own players. We often know the player and that certainly creates a bias. We view our guy as "the biggest, baddest cat in the jungle". And in our jungle (neighborhood, area) he may be just that. But when move outside of your jungle that player may not be the biggest cat. We are upset when recruiters and coaches don't see them that way. We become irrational.

I saw that this summer when I took a friend's son to a football camp in Iowa. To me, he is one big dude, but in reality, when compared to other players at the camp, he was in the upper 30% of players, but was still not the largest, nor best, player in camp by a long shot. I had to admit that my guy was still a solid player, but that in college he will be one of many "big cats" regardless of where he goes.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on September 28, 2009 8:43 AM.

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