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The Future of College Recruiting

NORMAN, Okla. – Today’s issue of the College Golf Connection will be our 32nd since we launched back in March. The positive comments, questions, and suggestions that our office has received during this period have been gratifying to say the least. Our distribution numbers continue to grow, as we have now surpassed 35,000 with a goal of 50,000 by the end of the year. On behalf of the GCAA and national office staff, let me say thank you for your continuing interest in college golf.

Looking to the future, I would like to draw attention to a topic that now sits squarely on the radar screens of college coaches in all sports across the country. Recently, there has been significant media attention focused on recruiting in college athletics.  Unfortunately, the majority of this attention would at best be described as negative.  Make no mistake, college recruiting, regardless of the sport, is big business. With salaries for coaches in college sports continuing to rise, higher expectations for programs have followed suit. The sport of Men’s College golf is certainly no exception.  At the heart of this topic is the increasingly year round pursuit of Prospective Student-Athletes (PSAs). Evaluation and in person recruiting in college golf is literally year round both domestic and international. The push to have potential recruits visit campuses on unofficial visits as early as 6th grade has been well documented by the press. The fact that some young men, or more appropriately boys, have actually announced their commitment to a school before ever attending one day of high school is certainly a concern. While verbal commitments literally mean nothing and coaches are in no way obligated to follow through on them, how have we arrived at this point in time. Simply put, the pressure to succeed in collegiate athletics on our campuses is in many cases out of control.

In the past ten days, college coaches associations across the country have been notified by the NCAA that changes are coming.  Coaches in all sports have been put on notice that the NCAA will be moving forward aggressively to limit the amount of time that coaches can actively evaluate and recruit. While recruiting calendars have for many years been in place for college football and basketball, the rest of college sports will soon see significant changes. This NCAA directive is all about quality of life for not only college coaches, but for PSA’s and their families. Coaches have spoken for years about the need to have quality time at home to be husbands, dads, etc. Unfortunately, the number of coaches with health related concerns is growing each year. On the other side of the coin, teenagers are being pushed by the system to compete more, practice longer hours, attend more camps, and generally make life changing decisions much earlier. Who is driving this train can be discussed and argued until the cows come home.  In the opinion of this “old coach” the system is out of control and needs to be changed for all those involved. Kids, need the chance be kids again, many parents need to step back and quit pushing so hard, coaches need to use common sense and regain control of their personal lives and, most importantly, winning at all costs in college athletics needs to stop. Hopefully, in the very near future the NCAA is going to legislate some sanity for all those involved.

As always the College Golf Connection would welcome your comments on this subject and /or any other that you would like to see discussed in the future.

Gregg Grost
Golf Coach, Lamar University/University of Oklahoma 1981-2000