Old School Athletics Is No Longer The Trend
Sorry to break it to the high school and college football purists, but the landscape of building programs in Miami-Dade and Broward, and across the country has changed.
While transferring schools is nothing new, the rate that it’s happening certainly is – and there is no end in sight. Over 300 in the two counties last year, and 270 the year before.
The days of playing at your local schools are truly over, unless your school happens to be private or a public school that has enough desks to fill in this age of open enrollment.
Back in the day, families moved into a community because the schools were good, and when you moved into that district, you would attend the same elementary, junior and senior high as everyone else did, and while it still holds true in some small circles, the objective is to attend the school that offers many avenues of education – while providing balance with championship-level athletic programs.
While it happens in all sports, the mass exodus in football gets much of the publicity, not only locally, but nationally as well. Zack Poff, National Football Editor for Max Preps sees the transfers coming at a record pace and knows that two or three new faces can chance to direction of a football program fast.
“Just in the short time I have been ranking teams and players, things have changed so much,” he explained. “Athletes are jumping from one program to a winning school because of the obvious – more exposure.”
While the saying that if you are good, college coaches will find you still holds true, it’s easier to be found when you are on a national stage each week.
THE BLAME GAME
It’s easy to point your finger at a coach, athletic director or the administration at any school for the influx of transfers, but that blame game is society itself. You cannot blame a coach for not wanting to get better, and you certainly cannot lay the blame on the athlete or the parent, who has to come up with the money for college if their son/daughter doesn’t get a scholarship.
Forget about the loser’s lament of loyalty. It holds no water, especially when you look at the next level, and college coaches are not only having to recruit incoming classes, but their current team to ensure they won’t grab a lucrative Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) deal that will benefit them somewhere else.
Even the powerhouses in all collegiate sports are starting to feel the once “little” guy pulling at their coattails, and are now competing for the same athletes that once made these programs superior. It’s all about the dollar – as it should be.
I have long been an advocate to say that college athletes get paid for the revenue they assist in bringing into any college or university, but this has far exceeded putting some spending money in their pocket to be able to enjoy the social life of their collegiate experience. Making $2 and $3 million is not what any of us had in mind, but the deals are only getting larger, and the NCAA is too weak to step in now. Nobody would listen, and the lawsuits would fly. The NCAA is quick to say you can't buy a sandwhich for a potential recruit if you are a booster or put restrictions on a head coach from going out to recruit during the spring, but putting a limit on how much can be paid out to an amateur athlete, it's a whole different story.
When you are a Chaminade-Madonna (8 straight trips to state), St. Thomas Aquinas (5 straight state titles) and Miami Central (state champions 4 of the past 5 years), the only way to stay on top is to reload and not rebuild. That’s why every day, you are seeing these 15-minute of fames graphics filling the screens of every social media avenue. If you are the beneficiary of those prospects coming to your school, you simply look at them and smile. If those recruits are taken from your program, you feel otherwise.
The one thing that stinks this transfer portal process in college is when you leave a school to attend another, you should have to sit out a year - and it will change some thinking quickly!
Also, at the high school level, student/athletes are leaving in the middle of a season and playing somewhere else with the weak excuse that they are relocating. What that will create is a super team – where players who are out of playoff contention by week 5 or 6 will make moves to schools who are very much in the playoff hunt, in the sense loading up.
While the landscape continues to change, many public-school programs – in all sports – are fighting an uphill battle. Only Parkland Douglas, a public school, and the baseball program, dominate every year with several national titles. But the Eagles are indeed the exception to the reality.
While transfers are currently happening in all sports, it’s football that grabs the spotlight – with numerous players making the move during the holidays and hundreds more following over the next six months.
Colleges coaches, although are frustrated with the direction of the high school athletes, simply have no valid argument – when they are living in the ultimate glass house.
Back when we started 54 years ago, transfers were basically nonexistent, but through the years things have changed and slowly but surely, we have arrived at a place that nobody ever felt we would get to.
While many coaches will tell you that winning has replaced developing – others will argue the point by saying a talented team will provide enough competition to learn, mature and improve.
Whatever direction things are going, the conversation – on both sides – will be talked about over several cold beverages next week at the National Coaches’ Convention.
MIAMI-DADE/BROWARD INFORMATION YEAR-ROUND. https://larryblustein.com/