Great Football Around Stark County: A Closer Look With Mark Miller
Photo Courtesy of WHBC

Another great week of high school football in and around Stark County! Our crew did McKinley at Perry and I imagine the other Federal League coaches were not happy to see how well the Bulldogs performed in a blow-out win over the Panthers. They will be tough to beat but some other teams (Hoover, Jackson,
Lake, Green) look like formidable opponents in the coming weeks.

We started hearing about players committing to colleges last spring then a lot more over the summer as colleges had their camps for high school players. We even heard about it during the preseason as players would commit, decommit or post on social media schools they wish were recruiting them.

I have to admit, the way recruiting is done these days is totally opposite what I experienced as a player in the 70’s, or a coach in the 80’s, or a radio broadcaster in the 90’s and 2000’s. Back then colleges offered scholarships to players they really wanted and only to those they actually held scholarships for until they made a decision. If they decided to go elsewhere, then the college would offer that scholarship to another player. Once players committed to a college, they kept their word and actually attended that school. Now I must admit, there were times when colleges or players would go back on their word, but that was rare and it reflected very poorly on the college coach or player, whomever went back on their word. It was bad business for either party to do that. But things have changed and the way colleges give “offers” and the way players “commit” have changed dramatically from my day.

I believe the biggest things driving that change is the college football transfer portal. I have heard many coaches say the transfer portal is, or has already, ruined college football. They believe the NCAA has totally lost control of college football. But whether it is good change or bad change (I have not heard anyone say it is good) it is the current set of rules and colleges and high school players deal with them. The current landscape has colleges offering scholarships to many more players than they want or have room on their roster for because they know many will change their minds before ever setting foot on their campus. They basically are
“covering their butts” to fill a recruiting class. The high school players are “committing” to the biggest school that offers them fully knowing they can de-commit when a better offer comes along. Sounds like both parties are exhibiting a lack of integrity doesn’t it? In my day that would be true but today you really cannot blame either side.
I believe the current spot high school players are in is tough. They are trying to pick a place to hopefully thrive in over the next 4-5 years. A place they can play and do well.

Then twice a year that college coaching staff can bring in experienced veteran players from other colleges and you are playing behind guys that weren’t even on the roster when you committed or signed. This process continues every year. Is it any wonder why players move from college to college so often? The situation at a college when you
decided, committed and signed changes and so your decision can change too. I don’t like it but it is reality and we have the big wigs at the NCAA to thank for it or to an even deeper degree, the attorneys that encouraged the players and their parents to sue colleges and the NCAA for not paying them and allowing them to transfer any time they wish. I would like to say high school football is immune from these transfers, but we all know that is no longer true. The OHSAA has caved just like the NCAA.