Monday, February 15, 2010

USC and DePaul getting a jump on next-generation student-athletes

13-year-old David Sills. Photo from, courtesy of the Sills family.

New USC football coach Lane Kiffin made a scholarship offer to a 13-year-old quarterback. That would make the youngster part of the recruiting class of 2015. 2015! We will have had another Winter Olympics by then! And what are the odds Kiffin is still at USC in 2015? After all, the man's on his third job since 2007. On top of that, he was 4-12 with the Raiders and 7-6 at Tennessee, and now he takes over a USC program that's going downhill faster than Lindsey Vonn. Add in the fact that his coaching philosophy led him to give a scholarship to a kid who's never been to a Homecoming dance or had a final exam, and you figure David Sills may want to keep his college options open over the next half-decade.

Not to be outdone, DePaul's interim men's basketball coach Tracy Webster offered a scholarship to a 14-year-old who attends Rosemont Elementary School outside of Chicago. While the kid is an absurd 6-foot-7 1/2, both of these stories shed light on the lunacy of college sports.

Supposedly, Division I athletes are student-athletes who are first earning an education, and second playing a sport for that institution. But these scholarships have absolutely nothing to do with academics and nothing to do with the "recruits" finding a good college fit. These kids haven't earned one high school grade to date and to them, SAT is just the past tense of "sit." The coaches can't possibly have any idea what kind of people these boys will turn out to be, and the boys can't yet have any true idea whether USC and DePaul, respectively, will meet their needs academically and socially. But I suppose it's never too early to try to take advantage of a wide-eyed, precocious young athlete in the hopes that he will one day bring in the big bucks that enable Boards of Trustees to pay head coaches more than university presidents.

1 comment:

  1. This is absurd! So much for the importance of academics. Reminds me of a quote I read recently: "College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture".