RECAP: The corruption of recruiting sites

Here is a quick recap of the major problems with recruiting service websites.

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban alleges a service is giving recruits damaging and incorrect information about Alabama. Saban made the allegations in a story printed in the Birmingham News. Saban told the News, “If people are just covering recruiting with honesty and integrity, (there’s no problem). But all those guys that work out there for (recruiting sites) are for the school. Everybody roots for a team. And they get information for a team.”

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier alleged last July that a Clemson website was providing negative information about the Gamecocks to recruits in an effort to benefit his rival.

Illinois coach Ron Zook alleged recruiting services were no longer impartial. “We’re turning the recruiting over to the so-called recruiting gurus,” Zook said. “Now, all of a sudden, just like you’ve got basketball coaches complaining that it’s turning over to the AAU coaches, now we’re turning it over to these guys that can call them.

“Well, you know what a lot of them are saying. They’re selling their school to these kids, and we’re not able to talk to them. To me, we’re losing this thing, in my opinion.”

There are allegations the Auburn Rivals.com website edited a video of Big Cat Weekend to redact evidence of Auburn recruiting violations during a pep rally. An email sent to YAHOO/Rivals.com asking about editorial standards at the corporation has not been returned. Does YAHOO/Rivals.com have editorial standards?

Last year at SEC Media Days, the compliant Auburn reporters were helping perpetuate a negative Alabama story as the recruiting sites purposefully asked Alabama football players about the numerous arrests at the Capstone. The arrests were part of the general anti-Alabama spin story being pushed by Auburn insiders and repeated several times on the recruiting trail and in the media.

According to South Carolina coach Brad Lawing quoted in The State, “I can take a three-star and make him a four-star, and I can take a four-star and make him a three- or two-star with the contacts I have,” Lawing said. “That’s how ridiculous recruiting on the Internet is. I took Chris Culliver (USC safety) from a three- to a five-star in three weeks. All you’ve got to do is talk to the right people.”

Are there more stories like these? No doubt we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. This is an issue of critical importance to the purity of college football. It cannot be ignored. It must be given the attention it deserves. The NCAA must declare fan recruiting websites boosters and punish schools when their boosters break NCAA recruiting rules.