Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 11, 2008 / 5 Adar I 5768

This is what happens when we turn college sports recruitment into entertainment

By Mitch Albom


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On the tape, it looks like any other high school gymnasium. The stands are packed, a crowd of students, parents, cheerleaders. The beefy young football player addresses the assembly, a shirt and tie chosen for the momentous occasion. Into a microphone, he thanks his family and his school. He makes his big announcement.


"It was Oregon and Cal," says Kevin Hart, looking at the two caps on a table in front of him, "and I decided I'll be playing football at the University of California."


The crowd erupts in cheers and applause. Hart pulls the Cal cap on perfectly, a two-handed tug on the back, a quick yank on the front. He rises and waves at the adoring fans, as if he's done this a million times in his head.


And apparently he has.


Because the whole thing was a hoax.


In one of the most bizarre events ever in football recruiting, Hart, a high school offensive lineman from the small town of Fernley, Nev., made up his recruitment, made up his acceptance and participated in a bogus news conference in front of the whole school.


"I wanted to play D-I ball more than anything," he later admitted in a statement. "When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality."


And the really crazy thing?


No one stopped him.

SO FAR UNDER THE RADAR
I don't know where this kid's coaches were, where his parents were or where any responsible adult in his life was. But to allow a high school senior to fake it all the way to a news conference is a pretty amazing act of gullibility.


All the schools Hart claimed to have recruited him — including Cal, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Oklahoma State — never did. Most never heard of him.


You would think someone around him might have noticed that, or wanted to meet an actual college coach, or heard an actual recruiting call?


You would think someone might have asked, "Kevin, how come you haven't gone on any recruiting trips?" Instead, the kid made it all the way to the microphone. Maybe the family wanted to believe. Maybe the school staff and the locals went along with it, because in Fernley, a farming community 30 miles outside of Reno, the glory of being recruited was too seductive to question.


And therein lies the problem. We have turned college recruitment into an entertainment seduction. Why on earth do we allow high school athletes to call news conferences to announce their college choices? Is that what the gym is for? Do we do the same for chemistry majors?


The high schools should say no. The media should say no. Instead, ESPN and CSTV now televise National Signing Day, complete with highlights, analysts and rankings. Watching this last week was enough to make you ill. High school seniors being interviewed, adored, shuffling around in pre-produced video pieces in which they offer quick little brags, like the kid who smiled and said "I'm a clown" (as if he were video dating) but quickly added that when he tackled "I'm gonna bring it."


Right. As if their egos aren't big enough.

THE SEEDY SIDE OF COLLEGE SPORTS
No wonder Hart wanted a piece of this. He seemed to know the whole routine. How to build suspense, how to tug the cap, how to hug the coach. I promise you he didn't invent that stuff in his head: He watched it happen to others on TV and some twisted part of him said, "I have to have that."


If we didn't celebrate it, he wouldn't mimic it. Oh, Hart still might have a problem with the truth. But these are kids, remember, still eating lunch in cafeterias. What we're creating with all this scouting, rating and fawning over them is a new set of doe-eyed megalomaniacs who think the world will lay flat for them as long as they star in sports. Forget studying. Forget humility. With recruitment mania, we've created an express train of immediate gratification. Hart realized the train was leaving without him. He tried to fake a ticket.


"I made up what I wanted to be reality." What a sentence for today's world. When this fraud was revealed, the consensus was "it's a shame." And that's true.


But it's not just Kevin Hart who should be ashamed of himself.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

MITCH'S LATEST
"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2008, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles