Should the Kevin Hart Case Change College Football Recruiting?

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst IFebruary 12, 2008

Recruiting in college football has been important for several decades now. However, since the limit on scholarships has been added, there is a much greater demand for these seniors in high school.

No longer can the perennial powers recruit every senior just so the other schools can't have them.

This has now become a strategic process that has its own rankings and fan base. Recruiting season is its own campaign that takes place all year, but the playoffs begin when the games on the field end.

With the current issue of Kevin Hart and his fake recruitment to Cal, people have begun to blame the media for creating this craze.

People have questioned why we are all so obsessed with the decisions of 17 and 18 year olds, and now even 16 year olds who are just sophomores and juniors. This all does seem odd.

Let's take a closer look.

As a fan of both the game and the recruiting process, I feel torn on the issue. I have been a recruiting junkie for four or five years now. This has become a major craze over the last five to eight years, and obviously there is an interest in this, as with the NFL draft.

I like to compare this to the paparazzi and all the tabloids. If there is a market for it, they will continue to print it, and people like me are the reason for this recruiting craze.

However, are we to blame for Kevin Hart?

To people who question our obsession with the decisions of such young athletes, I say: This is necessary for any avid fan.

Fans of college football invest a lot of time and money into their teams and schools. In order for us to keep giving back to our universities, we expect a certain amount of succes from the product the school puts on the field or court. We want to know who they are recruiting and what's in store for the upcoming year.  

Although the rankings may not be totally accurate, they are "ballparked" correctly. If my team gets five players ranked in the top 25, we have a better shot at getting a good player then a team with two players ranked in the top 25. Obviously there are sleepers, but that goes for anything in sports. 

We as fans are also more knowledgeable to the needs of our teams today than ever before. This means that not only do we need the top recruits overall, but we want to make sure that the necessary positions are filled and accounted for due to the four-year eligibility rule in college sports.

The recruiting business is not 100 percent accurate, but it's close enough for us as fans to have an idea how hard our team's coaching staff is working, and what to expect for the future. 

This is obviously a double-edged sword. There will be negative aspects to come out of this, and Kevin Hart is just one illustration of that. To continue the paparazzi paralell, we have seen how some stars may fall because of the obsession.

However, our enjoyment of the recruiting process should not be discounted or looked upon as the problem due to one case. This is a troubled kid who obviously has other issues.

One can say that because of the media and fan craze over this, Kevin Hart was created by us. I do not totally disagree with that, however I do disagree with those who say that because of Kevin Hart we need to tone down the media coverage of the recruiting process. 

There are many activities and interests people have and there is always someone who can take things to far and ruin it for others.

I say let's use Kevin Hart as an example for the younger kids of why NOT to do what he did, and allow the recruiting craze to continue.

These universities and their sports programs want all the alumni support they can get. That support is usually in the form of money.

Well if they want our money, I as a fan want to know how hard they are working to put a good product on the field. I want to know who my team is recruiting, how they are recruiting them, and where we stand versus our rivals. This will show me how hard they are working for my dollar.

Sources for information are everywhere today. This was not all possible in 1976 for example, therefore it was not an issue.
We are a knowledge hungry society now and recruiting information is just another form of knowledge that some people seek out. Let's not allow one bad apple ruin it for the rest of us.