Sportcation leads to free agency in high school sports

There will always be coaches bending the ears of parents and students to transfer schools for more playing time or to better their program. Over the years there have been various reasons transfers happen. The important thing for us to do is to acknowledge that reality and understand it. The reality is that winning programs will keep getting transfers.

"There’s no way to stop it unless something illegal can be proven, such as recruiting, using a false address or following an athlete to a school. However, even then no one follows up as we have seen blatant disregard from the rules in nearly a decade at 2 major 5A schools and one staff that has done it annually for 2 decades. Now everyone is doing it!" - Coach to remain anonymous

Transfers and adjusted rosters have always been an issue but now it is completely out of control as winning has become an ultimatum at many high profile schools. It has trickled down to all classifications and now includes little league coaches that are involved in pipelining kids that they recruited for trophies. These are the same parents that will transfer their kids at semester break if they do not get their way. If that is exhausted they even will attend schools out of state as pay to play schools have become fashionable and en vogue to families with deep pockets.

Many say if schools want to reduce transfers, go back to the old days, when athletes had to sit out a year when they didn’t move or when audited were seen traveling from home to school via the RTD or another parent. - Head Coach to remain anonymous

To avoid transfers, the next 2 year football cycle administrators should consider creating competitive equity playoffs, putting the ambitious schools in the highest division  and conference regardless of enrollment. Starting with 5A and moving down the other 6 classifications because obviously the last adjustment failed miserably. About the only good news in 5A  was 2 ambitious powerhouse schools were knocked out in the quarterfinals given way to a new champion or perhaps another title from the old Jeffco or Centennial leagues. Equity was never resolved, only heightened that 6-8 teams rule the roost in 5A and 7 conferences were gift wrapped over the past two football seasons.

At least in basketball we have heard about travel teams namely AAU and how these coaches posture their players to high schools often creating issues with other high school sports by embedding in the minds of many on its roster that year around basketball is a must. Partly because of the proliferation of sportcation and a handsome monthly revenue stream. But mostly because every year they have an annuity and more people buying into “The dream of sports beyond high school.”

Yes, sportcation has evolved as a result of many entrepreneurs exploiting sports and parents bank accounts with the emphasis of getting recruited at an early age. Fact is many college coaches may not be on staff 3-4 years from current date so there is no advantage to being recruited prior to having played  or been a major contributor to the varsity team as a sophomore. Recruiting is often a product of post junior season when game films are available and young men have grown into their bodies. For many females it is common to see an emphasis after their freshmen year and usually after a sophomore seasons. In the recent era many club teams host showcase events so college coaches will attend to evaluate local talents. A much easier process for club teams because families are paying to play and area high schools do not emphasis their championships or make strides to highlight some of their talents sighting its NOT their responsibility. Many coaches barely nominate conference selections for all state teams as they marginalize the process or in some instances play favoritism and overlook real talents. Therefore sportcation has become a popular marketing tool aimed at parents wanting the best for their children without knowing the real facts and/or speaking to next level recruiting coaches on the process. 
Currently, Sportcation is how many parents spend their hard earned dollars on tournament play rather than family fun vacations.  The hustle now is in the business of operating youth sports events and tournaments to lure uneducated parents and sell them promises of scholarships. Many parents are buying into year around sports and ramping up credit card debt because of HYPE. So if traveling to a random city for a meaningless Thanksgiving or Christmas tournament is a better option than to visiting the grandparents for holiday cheers, so be it and god bless. The harsh reality is no college level coaches care about these events catered for 3rd-9th graders or the 12th grade all star games. It is a money suck and waste of time. Next level Coaches want to see varsity reps and starters. However, DNA might be most important because you can not coach height. However, you can coach speed as many trainers are now in the business of speed and agility. The dream here is to run a sub 4.39 40 yard dash in front of college coaches at their stadiums. However, Sportcation is in this business now by some outfits charging $275 and up to run similar drills that the NFL has popularized and deemed the NFL combine.Traveling numerous miles for an arbitrary test seems so ludicrous but hundreds do it each month from December through June. In the end the only positives are the true Sportcation companies that hire electronic timing equipped outfits that produce real data like an ACT or SAT college board exam. Some popular sportswear companies offer these events for FREE but are in limited cities across the USA. So if its a car ride away you might consider it. However, the real focus should be on your high school academia that includes a GPA well over 3.0 and high marks on the ACT or SAT college board exams. The athleticism will be figured out by college coaches attending or watching your games in addition to meeting you at their campus.

So the next time you are influenced by a little league coach with ties to a high school, hold onto your wallet and think am I a target of Sportcation or is this a true assessment of my children’s abilities as an athlete. After all it is your prerogative to believe the hype or figure out if it is Sportcation that may lead to free agency in high school sports and compromise the family integrity. In the meanwhile let us hope the association remedies the competitive equity in all sports and starts with football in 2018.

Leave a Reply