An angry mother recently wrote a letter to administrators at Texas Tech University complaining that her son was mistreated by former head coach Billy Gillispie. The mother accused Gillispie of berating her son during a camp for high school athletes last summer for overthrowing a pass to another player.
Other (college) athletes have complained to the athletic department about Gillispie’s action towards them, so clearly a problem exists; the main difference here: the college players dealt with it themselves, and the high school athlete’s mom contacted the athletic department. This may not sound like a major distinction, but when you look at the scenario in terms of recruiting it is reminiscent of some of the situations we have seen develop over the years.
Coaches Want to Talk to Athletes and Develop Relationships with Them
Yes, they will talk to family members to increase the bond they have with an athlete, and they will talk to high school coaches to learn more about an athlete’s athletic ability and character but the core recruiting conversations take place between a coach and an athlete.
One of the best examples of an overbearing parent hurting their child’s college options comes from a recruit who made the ESPN top 40 football list a few years back. The first issue in this player’s recruitment stemmed from the way he communicated with coaches: he didn’t. His father handled all of the communication with coaches. Not only did the athlete not develop bonds with coaches through communication, but his father tended push and badger the coaches throughout their discussions.
Despite the disadvantages, the athlete still managed to get some interest from some Big East schools and some major programs in the Pennsylvania area (obviously the ESPN Top 40 ranking helped him immensely . Coaches invited him to camps to scout and evaluate him. While at the camps, the father overheard a few of the assistant coaches talking about his son. They had some favorable things to say about the athlete; but, as coaches do when they are evaluating an athlete, they also said some negative things about him.
Don’t Ruin Your Chances at a College Opportunity
What happened next would become the final death blow to this prospect’s chances at playing for a top NCAA division I school. The father went to the head coach and yelled at him for what he heard the assistant coaches say about his son. Eventually this athlete went from playing at a BCS football school to playing at an NCAA division II school.
A coach knows that a parent like this can develop into a thorn in their side for the next 4-5 years if they choose to offer a scholarship to their child. With an abundance of skilled athletes out there, most coaches choose to skip over that athlete and move on to the next name on the list. And the opportunities start to dry up fast, because believe it or not, college coaches often talk to each other about recruits.
Going back to the story about Billy Gillispie, sometimes coaches do things and it becomes necessary for a parent or a teacher or even another coach to step in and do something, but this should be an extreme exception; having your parent take full control of your recruiting while you sit back and wait for the offers to roll in will not lead you to the scholarship offer of your dreams.
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