The July recruiting period is over.
Now some would like to see it end forever.
|Scouting hundreds of prospects benefits non-power programs like Ken McDonald's Western Kentucky. (Getty Images)|
I agree with that premise on some level. It would indeed be beneficial to have college coaches on their own campuses during the summer working with incoming prospects and using the time to instruct. No question, that's true. But the reality is that the negatives that would go hand-in-hand with the elimination of the 20 "evaluation" days in July far outweigh the positives, and that's ultimately why summer recruiting should and will remain.
Want to shorten it?
Then go ahead and shorten it.
I've got no problem with that.
I was on the road only a little more than half of the allowed 20 days last month, and you can trust me when I tell you it becomes repetitive and exhausting. Twelve hours in gyms everyday surrounded by odd meals and travel isn't the blast some would have you believe. But it is useful, particularly for the non-power schools. And eliminating it would only widen the gap between the haves and have-nots of college basketball.
That's why Calipari is for eliminating summer recruiting.
It wouldn't hurt him one bit.
Calipari is at a big school (Kentucky) with unique resources (private jets) and in possession of great relationships that aid in the process of securing players. So of course he wants to eliminate summer recruiting! Even without it, he can still recruit off his own name and his school's name, and it's not a problem if he needs to go see a prospect in Oklahoma on a January night because he can finish practice by 4:30, hop a private plane by 5:15, fly across a few states, watch the game, get back on the private plane, fly home and get in bed by midnight.
That's the advantage of being John Calipari at Kentucky.
But what about Ken McDonald at Western Kentucky?
For him, things are a little different.
Without the July recruiting period, coaches at schools like Western Kentucky would be denied the opportunity to see hundreds of prospects in one location during the offseason, which would hinder their ability to identify the under-the-radar guys it takes to compete because it's difficult to stumble upon an unknown when you don't see as many prospects. For Georgetown and UCLA, that's not an issue because those schools mostly recruit straight from Top 100 lists; they don't discover prospects as much as they pick between the long-discovered prospects, and their recruiting pool is typically small.
But that's not the case for VCU and Santa Clara.
They need to see a bunch of players.
They need to find somebody good enough for Georgetown and UCLA that Georgetown and UCLA haven't seen.
And that can only be done in the summer.
Beyond that, there's the fact that smaller schools generally don't have access to the private planes that simplify recruiting during the season. Thus, the same recruiting trip that might last a few hours for Roy Williams (North Carolina) or Billy Donovan (Florida) would last at least two days for Tom Pecora (Hofstra) or Donnie Jones (Marshall). So guys like Pecora and Jones might not make the trip. But guys like Williams and Donovan would. And surely you can see why eliminating summer recruiting would only widen the gap between the power schools and so-called mid-majors, can't you?
Again, the elimination of summer recruiting makes sense for Calipari.
That's why he's pushing for it.
I don't blame him.
But for the majority of programs, eliminating July would only make things more difficult.
And that's why it must remain, despite all its warts and flaws.