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With the recent controversy and scandal surrounding the University of Colorado and the college football world, this off season has been one of the busiest ever. College Football has experienced an eye-opening revelation and these experiences call for major changes in the traditional recruiting practices. Last month, stories surfaced about the University of Colorado using sex, alcohol, and parties to lure blue chip recruits to their program. While these types of actions are prevalent at every major football program, this is the first time that they have been officially exposed. This exposure has started a chain-reaction of changes to the recruiting part of college football and has grabbed the attention of the United States Congress. The involvement of the most powerful government in the world shows the seriousness of the present situation and also that these inappropriate recruiting practices are not going to be ignored any longer. The face of college football will change dramatically and the results of this scandal will have a lasting impact for decades to come. For any person who follows college football and has a favorite team, this is an important issue because the traditional way that many of us have come to love, is about to disappear.
It is amazing how an isolated incident, such as the one at Colorado, can incite such a large frenzy and call for change. The scandal started with a former recruit telling his experiences during his college visit in Boulder at the University of Colorado. His stories included wild parties with unlimited amounts of alcohol and the open availability to sex with the women of his choosing. The term used for these parties was "sex parties" and recruits were told that the women would perform any sexual act he desired. After the recruit made his experiences public, other stories began to surface from other recruits who had similar experiences at Colorado and other schools. The situation came to a boil when a former female player accused some of her team mates of sexual assault at one of these parties. Other students came forward with similar allegations of football players forcing sex from females at their parties. What started as small story ballooned into a very situation and it became very obvious that the recruiting game was out of control and in need of major change. After the stories surfaced out of Boulder, Colorado more stories began to surface around the country and even Brigham Young University kicked off four players for sexual misconduct.
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This time in sports seems to a time for major reform as other levels of athletics such as baseball are having major shake-ups like the college football world. The baseball world is having a heated battle over the use of steroids between the players union and the Major League Baseball Association. There has never been steroid testing in baseball and because of the common use of steroids and the unfair advantage they provide, many want testing implemented. Similar to the illegal recruiting practices, steroid use in baseball is something that has been around for a very long time and just been kept under the radar. People have always known that steroids have been rampant in baseball and it took one single spark to begin the elimination of longstanding part of baseball. The people involved with the baseball world witnessed the harm of turning their back to steroids so they are implemented change. NCAA officials are coming to the same realization and have worked quickly to save the integrity of the game and set a precedent for the future on the proper way to recruit potential athletes. The baseball world has a negative cloud cast over it because of the steroid controversy and the NCAA can prevent gaining the same negative reputation by fixing the problem now. As a fan, no one wants to see their favorite sport portrayed negatively in the media or have to defend it to outside criticism. The honor of the sport is at stake with this pressing issue and hopefully the right changes are made to restore pride and honor of the game we all have such a passion and love for.
It is very easy to look at this present situation with the attitude of "who cares" or "why is this even important," but the severity of the issue is obvious with the involvement of the United States Congress. The government has many important and pressing issues to debate and settle and the mere fact that they have spent a large amount of time on this issue exhibits its importance. The bottom line is that this issue goes much deeper than football and it has the ability to affect out society. These high school athletes that are being brought on college visits are being pampered with private jets, steak and lobster dinners, strippers, alcohol, and pretty much anything they desire. This sends the wrong message to the youth of the nation, and instills bad values into many individuals. When a recruit goes on a visit and is exposed to unlimited alcohol and sex, he will most likely begin to believe they are both a common way of life. Players are taught that women are objects, commodities, and that if you come to this school, you get women, you get sex," according to Kathy Redmond who has been around the recruiting parties and knows first hand what has been going on (Coalition Founder 1). Surrounding these college scandals are cases of sexual assault and there seems to be a correlation between these acts and the atmosphere of college football. The player’s witness sexual assaults frequently and also believe they are entitled to whatever they want because that was the way they were recruited (Sherrington 1). This problem overlaps into the professional world as these athletes demand millions and millions of dollars simply because they can play a game well. Athletes are signing larger and larger contracts every day and we as the sports fans are the ones paying their ridiculous salaries.
Choosing a college should be about its academics, coaches, and facilities instead of who spends the most money trying to entertain. The problem of improper recruiting has been around since the beginning of the recruiting process, but the problem has escalated and coaches will do about anything to land the prized recruit. For example, star linebacker Willie Williams out of the state of Florida was flown around on private jets during his visits. The coaches had steak and lobster dinner for him and drove him around in very nice cars. This is an eighteen year old being told how great he is over and over and this is not the type of thoughts that should be instilled into a young mind. The ability to play football is not something that should be so important and many of these recruits have a feeling of superiority and this can cause misbehavior. Recently Willie Williams was arrested for the eleventh time and this is a perfect example of how these athletes feel untouchable and able to do whatever they want because they are given whatever they want in the recruiting process. One of the main problems is the pressure that alumni and fans put on their favorite teams to win. The college football world is so competitive, and achieving success is very difficult. Being successful should depend on hard work, good coaching, and quality football players instead of who can lure the most blue chip athletes to one school through immoral recruiting.
Rest assured, changes are being made and the biggest change being implemented is the lack of exposure to the current athletes and student body. Recruits will visit with the coaches and take a look around campus and the football facilities during their visits. Current players will no longer sponsor an athlete and take him around for a day because this is where the trouble has come from. One of the top coaches Steve Spurrier said, "on-campus visits are just excuses for kids to party and should be reduced from the maximum of five to four, even three" (Sherrington 1). Obviously the coaches know what is going on and need to get more involved in what goes on during visits on their respected campus. It will simply take a little more effort from all the parties involved to restore the pride that once filled college football and to eliminate the immoral practices that are making the headlines. I have faith that the right actions will be taken and all college football fans will be proud of their great sport.
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