US Lacrosse -- the national governing body of lacrosse for the greatest nation in the history of history (fact!) -- issued a statement yesterday regarding the culture of early recruiting that seems to have permeated college lacrosse over the last few years. The statement -- while it isn't a policy point that carries much weight other than saying, "This is icky!" -- does provide a firm derision of what is going on across the country:
US Lacrosse shares the concern of many lacrosse players, parents and coaches that the college recruiting process is not structured or timed in the best interests of high school student-athletes. The current landscape of recruiting events and club programs — some of which operate throughout the calendar year — has encouraged an increasing number of young student-athletes to forego a well-rounded high school experience based on unrealistic expectations and misperceptions about playing college lacrosse.
Parents are being led to believe that college coaches focus on recruiting only those children who play year-round lacrosse and who attend multiple, expensive recruiting events throughout the year. While some recruiting programs and events offer positive experiences for student-athletes, others — particularly those that conflict with the school calendar or occur outside of the traditional lacrosse season — threaten the well-being of student-athletes with incidents of injury and burnout. This intense recruiting culture also has eroded the work-life balance of coaches and parents.
The debate about early recruiting isn't anything new; Inside Lacrosse has dedicated lots of space to the issue over the last few months and put together a nice little package that focused on the issue from the perspective of coaches that are in the thick of it. When pulled together in concert, however, US Lacrosse's discomfort with the situation and the coaches' dislike of the system doesn't mean a heck of a lot because this fact remains: It's on the NCAA to make the change.
All the chatter about how horrible early recruiting is just that -- chatter. Until the NCAA makes reforms around the process, this is going to continue for a simple fact: At least a handful of coaches will continue to wade through the muck of early recruiting believing that it will give them an advantage; this will residually cause other coaches that have no interest in early recruiting to recruit early, feeling as if they don't they'll get left behind. It's a cycle, and all the tersely-worded statements from US Lacrosse will do nothing unless the NCAA actually acts.
So, yeah. Hope you're pumped to read about Class of '17 commitments.