Editor’s Note: Thanks to Coach Bonnie Bynum Graham from Tennessee Tech for sharing her thoughts about the recent changes NCAA rules to abolish the practice of early recruiting.
I remember not so long ago (15 years isn’t long, right??) when I was a high-school athlete being recruited. Back then, college coaches attended 18U tournaments and high school seniors went on their five official visits, excited to make their college choice for where they would be attending the NEXT YEAR.
I remember parents laughing at the fact that one time there was a college coach at a 16U ballgame, and thinking how crazy it was that they were wasting their time watching girls who were two years away from college.
Fast forward to 2018 and we have 11-year-olds deciding where they will be when they’re 22. As a new mom, I can’t imagine my daughter deciding where she will begin her college career in 10 short years.
Our sport has gotten out of hand with this early recruiting, and it’s no ones fault but the college coaches. I think it’s sad that we had to have a rule in place to finally stop this madness, but I believe we are doing our sport a huge favor by doing so. We wonder why the transfer rate has increased significantly, when girls who don’t even have keys to a car (and won’t for years) are making one of the biggest choices they will make in their lives.
I am happy to see that these kids get to have a chance to play the sport and love it again, not feeling the pressure of where to go when they are so young. I am glad to see that we will get a chance to watch athletes develop, and not “hope” that they develop in the five years it’s taking them to get to our school.
I am glad to see that they won’t hear this girl or that girl has already committed. I’m glad they won’t make a forced choice to a school, because they don’t want to be left behind.
As college coaches, we are the ones who got this madness started, and I’m glad to see that we’re finally doing something about it.
About the Author: Bonnie Bynum Graham was an outstanding performer at Tennessee Tech during her playing days and is now is the head coach at her Alma Mater. I was lucky enough to recruit and coach Bonnie at TTU and I’m very proud to call her my friend! – Coach Tory