Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Package Deal

It seems that we have recently entered the realm of the package deal—or the 2-for-1 special.  Meaning, if a coach is willing to offer an athlete a scholarship, surely they are willing to offer their friend one as well.

What significance does the package deal have in college athletics, particularly college football?

Some fans would argue that the package deal represents selfishness, superiority, or even dominance. While others may argue that the package deal, when benefiting their particular school, is an ideal approach to recruiting. It shows a sense of character and brotherhood—the fact that two teammates are willing to stick by their word and attend the same university post-high school.

After all, why shouldn't coaches kill two birds with one stone—why have one player when you could have two?

I tend to be a firm believer of the former.

When you have young men ranging in ages of 17-18, we have to remember that these are high schoolers. Maturity levels will vary.

Along with being a national recruit, a sense of entitlement is soon to follow. With entitlement comes ego. And with ego comes—you guessed it—the package deal.

However, when the package deal occurs, one player is almost always better than the other. That is, one may be ranked amongst the nation's best, while the other may not be quite as well known.

Could this be seen as nothing more than the waste of a scholarship? After all, how far can one player carry the other? There is always a kid out there who is dying for that scholarship, only to have it offered to somebody undeserving.

It seems that with the package deal, in all actuality, the recruits are the ones running the show.  Recruiting used to be about choosing to attend the school that would benefit the individual the most. It was about picking the right university, the one that would permit the most success. 
Nowadays, it seems that recruiting is less about the individual and more about the duo. It's about kids shopping around for the best bargain.

Now, on the field, it is hard to determine which of the two athletes will fare better. There have been many instances where top recruits under-perform and lower-tier prospects surprise—kind of like uncovering a diamond in the rough.

And when it comes to playing time, does the rest of the team view a commit who got in on the wing of his buddy any differently? Is the lower-rated recruit constantly trying to distance himself from the nationally-known recruit's shadow?

My guess would be yes, he is. He now plays with a chip on his shoulder. There is now something to prove.

In any event, it seems that the so-called package deal is not a thing of the past. We were hoping it was nothing more than a slowly-dying fad. In this new era of recruiting, it will only be seen more and more with each class.

Will the deal eventually evolve to not just two players deciding together, but three or four or five?

Who knows, but it is time for us as fans to simply deal with this deal.