Shannon B. Terry is one of the most influential names in media and recruiting. Terry founded Rivals, sold it at a mindboggling profit and then went on to found 247Sports. It is safe to say few people know recruiting or the business of reporting on it better than Terry. Terry is honest, accessible and transparent in a business too often cloaked in darkness. This makes Terry’s latest tweets interesting.
Terry sent out a series of tweets this morning about the role of recruiting services on All-Star Games.
“Do believe the Army A Game needs to add #247Sports as a partner. Top players being routed to UA game. We could balance the talent” (Source). This was followed by, “Note: said “add” not “replace” #usarmyallamericanbowl #247Sports” (Source). And a few minutes later this was retweeted by Terry from Tom Luginbill, “RB Alvin Kamara has formally accepted his invite to the 2013 Under Armour All-American game. Welcome Alvin! #UnderArmour, @ESPNU” (Source).
This is a major development in understanding that some recruiting services exercise influence on the athletes they are supposed to cover.
How much influence is open for debate, but clearly there is some influence.
Coaches and others have contended for a very long time that recruiting services often exercise influence on high school students. College football coaches including Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Nick Saban have alleged some fan sites on the major recruiting services actively recruit for the schools they cover.
Back in 2009, Saban said writers for a recruiting site gave recruits damaging and incorrect information about Alabama.
“That should be addressed by somebody and should be brought to bear,” Saban said. “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.”
For good measure, Ron Zook said much the same thing at about the same time.
“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,” Zook said. “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.”
Even Steve Spurrier was frustrated with websites recruiting against South Carolina and for Clemson. Spurrier alleged Clemson recruiting websites were trying to push stories to players about arrests of Gamecock football players.
Does anyone doubt this?
If so, then everyone should remember what Auburn fan and Rivals affiliate website publisher Jeffery Lee did to Alabama signee Brent Calloway.
When Calloway spurned Auburn and signed with Alabama, Jeff Lee threw a fit with a series of stories alleging recruiting violations. This work of Lee’s imagination resulted in nothing since Lee failed to provide any information. Lee’s sourced were eventually revealed as nothing other than pissed off Auburn fans like Coach Doug Goodwin who came off as pushing the kid toward Auburn during the recruiting process.
This wasn’t the first time the Auburn Rivals website inserted itself into a recruiting scandal. This same website posted a video of Big Cat Weekend at Auburn that included numerous NCAA recruiting violations. Once the Internet buzzed about the violations, the Auburn fans redacted the video to remove any of the alleged violations.
What did Rivals and Yahoo do about this? Nothing publicly.
This makes today’s Twitter posts from Terry all the more interesting because it shows that recruiting services do have some level of influence on high school students.
It makes it all the more important to have ethical standards applied to everyone covering recruiting and strict oversight by the media conglomerates who own these recruiting giants.
Either that or the NCAA will get involved.