What Good is a Verbal Commitment?
Then we have the case of Eric Gordon, an elite guard from Indianapolis. Back in November, Gordon held a press conference and made a solid verbal commitment to play for Bruce Weber at Illinois. In the meantime, Indiana fired anemic coach Mike Davis and hired Kelvin Sampson. Sampson, in turn, hired Jeff Meyer, a well-connected Midwestern coach who coached Eric Gordon Sr. at Liberty University. Couple this fact with Sampson's vociferous desire to make keeping Indiana talent in Indiana and all of a sudden, trying to lure Gordon to Bloomington became an established goal for the Indiana coaches and fans alike. Sampson and his coaches began calling and - whether out of courtesy or genuine interest - the Gordons started listening. Indiana's die-hard followers started a campaign pleading for him to stay in-state and help lead their program back to glory.
Then, Gordon made some ambiguous comments at the Adidas camp about giving Indiana and Notre Dame a fair look. His father was quoted as saying they wanted to see what Sampson "was doing differently than Mike Davis," and Chicagohoops.com ran an article saying that Gordon had officially reopened his commitment. Several big-time coaches called the Gordons, Indiana fans becmae elated, and Illinois fans became irrate. Less than a week later, the article was found to be a total fabrication, and Eric Gordon himself was posting on the Illinois message board welcoming another Illini recruit, adding that "nothing has changed." We won't know for sure until the national signing period opens up; but for all the hubbub and all the "insiders" who bet their lives that he was going to Indiana, he still looks like a solid Illinois commitment.
For any rational person - that is, someone not engrossed in the world of college basketball recruiting - there appear to be several problems with this situation. First, there is the issue of overzealous boosters, fans, and media pundits publishing things that have no basis in truth. While it's commonly acknowledged by sane people that the Internet is a spurious place for truth, the college basketball community feasts on any nugget it can get from remote message boards and "insider" web sites looking for hits without regard for credibility. Perhaps the most obvious problem is the fact that so much time and energy are wasted on pyschoanalyzing teenagers. Flabby grown men should ideally have better things to do than spending their intellectual energy giving an elaborate exegesis of every word coming from a 17-year-old's mouth, especially one who is continually hounded with questions. That, I can safely say, is bonkers. Thus, the first people I'd like to shame are the "journalists," gurus, and fans whose engines run on baseless speculation, for they perpetuate this ethically-vacuous environment.
The second group of people I'd like to direct shame at are Kelvin Sampson and any other college basketball coach who decides to recruit a kid who is commited elsewhere. While Sampson is technically breaking no NCAA rules in his active recruitment of Gordon, he's swimming in ethically-murky waters. The Indiana coach, who is already maligned for rules infractions, ironically was head of the NABC's ethics committee not too long ago, but apparently that means nothing to him now. Kids who are verbally committed somewhere should be off-limits. Let us not confuse legal behavior with moral behavior. Other college coaches such as Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Jerry Wainwright of Depaul have declared that Sampson's behavior goes against their community's tacit ethical code. Weber, too, has of course implied that there is something shifty going on with Sampson. I point all this out not only as an Illinois fan who suddenly has a greater distaste for Indiana and their fans who want to rationalize unethical behavior, but also as someone who wants the verbal commitment in college basketball to mean something, for the sake of the game and the NCAA.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?