The University of Michigan will host a high school football game on Sept. 2, 2016. That would not make news, except that the game is between two out-of-state high school teams.
The teams are from New Jersey and Maryland, likely chosen to assist the Wolverines’ recruiting efforts in those states, and to help them make more waves in the college football world. Both high school teams are private schools, and each comes with heavy baggage.
Some public schools in New Jersey have boycotted playing the New Jersey school in football; the Maryland school is not a member of the MHSAA’s counterpart association in that state. One school is flaunting the rules; the other school has no rules to follow.
That major college football has been in an uncontrolled spiral of excess is not news; but its insidious damage to high school sports is finally making headlines.
NCAA rules have recently been robbing schools of winter and spring sports athletes as college coaches entice high school seniors to graduate at the end of their seventh semester and start practicing football with their future college teammates several months early. We are grateful to see Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby question the practice of enrolling players before their scheduled high school graduation.
Now, NCAA rules appear to invite universities to select high school football teams from anywhere there’s a great prospect or two, and transport the teams across the U.S. to compete in a nearly empty stadium, save for recruiting “gurus,” athletic apparel reps and a few media. We are hoping to see some college sports leaders step up to question this practice.
All of this leads to the rich getting richer – on both the college and school levels. All of which induces another updraft to the spiral of excess in what are supposed to be education-based programs.