Friday, February 3, 2012

Bret Bielema/Big 10 Recruiting

“I can tell you this,” Bielema told Hayes. “We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC—in any way, shape or form.”

When I read this earlier today, I was baffled. The context of this quote, in Brett Bielema's defense, was a reporter asking Bielema, Wisconsin's head football coach, about new Big 10 coach and recruiting extraordinare Urban Meyer "flipping" recruits in his first 2 months in the conference. What "flipping" a recruit is, is continuing to recruit a recruiting prospect after he is committed to another school, and getting him to come to your school. Let's back up a bit, here is a bit more backdrop on this:

*Urban Meyer spent 2005-2010 in the SEC conference at Florida and stocked up on talent, winning 2 national championships, while also hoarding all of the speed/talent in the southeast (Tim Tebow/Percy Harvin caliber kids). He came aboard the Big 10/Ohio State University Nov. 23, 2011, and in 2 months put together a top 5 recruiting class.

*The Big 10 conference is known for it's power/slow/smashmouth football, and although a powerful conference, it has not taken the big step in winning national championships due to lack of speed/highly rated recruiting classes. Part of the issue is location, as it is a mideast based conference that lacks many of the top prospects. The  majority of speed is in the southeast and west.

*Brett Bielema has not had a top 40 recruting class since he has been at Wisconsin, but has been VERY successful still winning games, and making the most out of his talent (the conference as a whole has done this). Wisconsin is just not an attractive place to attend school for most kids in FL, TX, CA.

*Recruiting is a nasty BUSINESS at times. Colleges/coaches' livelihoods depend upon getting the best kids to their school. The best schools get the best players, it's just that simple. It can be deemed as a win/win for the kids and the coach, the kid gets recruited hard and knows all of the selling points of a school and can find the best fit for him, and the coach gets more talent.

Evidently, in the Big 10 conference, there was a "gentleman's clause" before Urban Meyer got there, to where if a kid commits to a school, the other schools in the conference can't continue to recruit this kid. Well, an agreement of sorts that Urban Meyer never agreed to, and will never agree to with good reason. Kids in high school are unsure about what school is best for them, I was one of those kids. I even had to transfer from one school to the next during college to find the right school for me, these truly are KIDS here. 

It does a kid no harm to give a verbal commitment to a school and hear sales pitches from other schools, they have signed nothing yet obligating them to a school. A verbal commitment to anything from a 17 year old kid aint worth shit, they can't even commit to what they want for breakfast in the morning. Anyone that has been recruited knows coaches pressure you into verbal commitments, you could commit to a school just because of this or any other reasoning. Maybe during your trip a pretty girl told you she would blow your balls off if you commit now, you commit, and get home and come to your senses, who knows! I wish more schools had recruited me after I verbally committed, it may have saved me a year at a school that was not best for me. Bret Bielema also added that recruiting a kid committed to another school was "pretty unethical", hmmm would you call it ethical to go for a 2 point conversion up 4 touchdowns with 6 minutes left? How about hanging 83 points on Indiana? (Both which Bielema has done). Life is not fair! There is no rule enforced in NCAA football that outlaws recruiting kids who have given VERBAL commitments, no matter what VERBAL conference agreement was in place that evidently not all of the coaches agreed to (and there are a ton of recruiting rules in place that are very specific). New Michigan coach Brady Hoke stated, "It's recruiting. It's competitive. It's a part of it. There is no legislation against it," That is the attitude of a guy with a great recruiting class, a competitive coach not looking for excuses, not a coach who needs a meaningless gentleman's agreement to hide the fact that he doesn't recruit tirelessly like the top recruiters. Urban Meyer added, "We will continue to comply with NCAA rules and recruit with relentless effort, especially the great state of Ohio." He is exactly right, and he will succeed. 

1 more thing to think about is, if a kid decided to play for Michigan when competitor Ohio State had an interim coach at the helm, in the midst of a coaching fire/recruiting controversy and a lackluster season, do you not think that things change BIG TIME when a young coaching juggernaut comes into Ohio State? It's the same thing as when a coach gets fired and a kid de-commits, when a new coach gets hired to a school, a kid shouldn't be frowned upon for now considering this school, nor should the coach be for recruiting that kid. A lot of times kids pursue a school not the other way around. Also, sometimes 1 college coach may have a higher grade on a kid than the previous coach, hell maybe a kid wasn't even recruited by a school until a new coach comes in. Things change, as long as a verbal agreement in in place, all is fair within NCAA guidelines. To Bret Bielema and other coaches who feel the same way he does: RECRUIT YOUR KIDS UNTIL THEY SIGN, AND IF THEY TRULY ARE SOLD ON YOUR SCHOOL, THEY WON'T LOOK ELSEWHERE. DO YOUR JOB WELL AND YOU WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE BIG BULLY URBAN MEYER TAKING A 17 YEAR OLDS VERBAL COMMITMENT FROM YOU. Take care of your business in house, don't look for another coach with his family's livelihood on the line to do you any favors.

Lastly, Bielema stating he doesn't want the Big 10 to be like the SEC in any way is ridiculous for another reason, the SEC wins! The SEC has won the last 6 national championships, the last Big 10 national championship was Michigan in 1997 (share of title)! A conference known for being non-athletic and overachieving needs to try as hard as possible to be MORE LIKE the SEC, and Urban Meyer is part of the new influx of the NEW Big 10 - Hoke, Pelini ,Meyer- that will hopefully get the conference off of it's mediocre states of mind Brett Bielema and other coaches have. Recruit on Urban! Flourish my boy!

(Link to radio discussion -

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