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Recruiting Shenanigans

by John Helsley Published: February 4, 2010

By John Helsley

Pat Jones offers up a great take — an inside take — on the recruiting game. And I couldn’t agree with him more, across the board, whether it’s the topic of rankings (who knows!?), coaches’ spin  (always positive!) or the obsession of fans and the media with the decisions and futures of 18-year-olds.

And Jones is dead-on when it comes to the signing party silliness where players reveal their decisions with a pick of a hat, or by stripping away a jacket to reveal a shirt or some other attempt at being cute.

Cute, it is not. Nor is it entertaining.

C’mon, be a man. State your destination, clearly, so as not to embarrass yourself or your new school before you even arrive on campus.

Bottom line: for the coaches and their families who understand and feel the time involved with chasing talent, resulting in too many nights away from home, recruiting isn’t some fanciful folly. It’s serious.

So when a guy like Calvin Barnett sends out a tease alert by promising “something different and a little flashy” a week before signing day, you can count on some silliness.

And some shenanigans.

But beyond the silliness, there’s something less than genuine involved. In Barnett’s case, there was deception and, according to OSU insiders, lies.

What we’ve heard:

Cowboys coaches were told for 10 straight days leading to Wednesday’s signing that Barnett and his mother told OSU coaches he would be a Cowboy.

Left to rely on his word, OSU couldn’t seek a replacement for his vacated spot in the signing class. And some young man who wanted to be Cowboy could not.

And there would have been options, right here in state. Cowboys coaches were taking calls from interested players — including a defensive tackle — right up to signing day. And based on Barnett’s word, they had to turn them away.

All Barnett had to do was be open and honest with OSU’s coaches. Yeah, he would have had to resist efforts to re-recruit him. Yeah, it might have been uncomfortable. But he owed them some honesty after all the “love” they’d showered on him for six months.

That honesty would have allowed the Cowboys to move on, fill their recruiting class and not have their own signing day tinged by silliness.

Barnett’s silliness.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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