Monday, January 09, 2006

The Great Hype Machine

Did you guys see James Aldridge's performance at the Army All-American Bowl? Did any of you know that James Aldrige was at the AAA Bowl? Probably not, because despite supposedly being the second half of a running back tandem, Aldridge inexplicably sat on the bench and watched while Chris Wells toted the piggy thirteen times, including an AAA Bowl-record three short-yardage touchdowns.

Apparently, the only Running Back on East's roster

I don't mean to detract from Wells' accomplishment, he looks like a very gifted player. But there's a reason that three touchdowns is a record. You see, a normal coach calling a High School All-American game would evenly divide the short-yardage opportunities between the two running backs, as both of them are there to showcase their talent on the big stage. This was not the case with East coach Ted Ginn, Sr, who instead decided the AAA Bowl was his big opportunity to showcase Ohio State's talent and aid their recruiting push. This game isn't about you, coach.

Non-photoshopped picture of Ted Ginn Sr. at an OSU-themed birthday party.

Now I'm not taking a pot shot at Ginn, and this certainly isn't just a case of sour grapes. What Ginn has done at Glenville is very admirable, and I'm sure he's a great guy. Furthermore, having a recruit underutilized in an exhibition game is a very trifling issue, and will more or less be forgotten a week from now. The real issue here is that I'm just not comfortable with a High School football coach being such an explicit booster for a major University. In the ultra-sensitive, very-morally-questionable area of recruiting High School kids to big-time moneymaking college football programs, Ginn's blatant involvement in selling Ohio State from the role of a High School teacher/coach/mentor makes me feel very uncomfortable and slightly queasy.


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous jj said...

I read your blog every day and think you're funny most of the time, but I think this post is awfully hypocritical.

You sound like a classic parent disgruntled because Jimmy didn't get enough playing time. Furthermore, you try to mask this with a cheap-shot at Ginn and Ohio State.

If you want to talk about shady relationships, how about Tom Lemming and Notre Dame. 10 ND commits invited to the game, and another commits during the game? (compared to 2 and 1 for tOSU)Where is your moral outrage for this? Lemming is certainly in a more influential position than Ginn as far as directing recruits towards schools.

I don't think that green feeling you have is queasiness...

It's also worth noting that Aldridge was the 3rd best back on the east team, behind Spiller, another bit you forgot to mention

At 12:20 PM, Blogger fightinamish said...

jj - Thanks for the comments.

Again, I apologize if this came off as sour grapes for Aldridge not getting enough playing time or a "cheap shot" at Ginn. I said in the post that I was attempting to do neither of these, although I understand how it came off that way.

For the record, Lemming's ND lean also makes me uncomfortable, but at the same time I also think it's a different, more innocuous form of sleaziness. Lemming is a guy who makes a living chasing around 18 year old kids. It's right out there for everyone to see that he has a vested interest in their decisions, and while he has the ability to (and very often does) sway recruits, the scope of his clout is limited to his website rankings and the AAA Bowl.

Ginn, on the other hand, is a high school coach, and spends a large amount of time with his players and, in his role, garners a certain amount of trust and respect as a mentor. The fact that he is so public about his ties to Ohio State to me seems to be in very bad taste.

Again, I'm not accusing anyone of anything and I'm certainly not moralizing. Recruiting is a very shady proposition in general, and nobody really has a right to take the high ground, especially not ND. Many people remember back in the late 70's, Gerry Faust was the equivalent of Ginn -- a superpowered Ohio high school coach who (probably even moreso than Ginn) shamelessly advocated and campaigned for ND and kept a steady stream of blue-chippers headed that way.

Really, the point of the rant was to show that when high school coaches get too involved in the college recruiting process, the conflict of interest is not only bad for the sport, but also ultimately ignores the needs of the kids, who are the most vulnerable players in this high-stakes ordeal.

I'm not sure if I've stayed on subject or made my point, but hopefully I've clarified my position. By and large, I agree with most of what you've said.

Further discussion is encouraged.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger IrishOutsider said...

This post could use the HRB-required fruit shot as you get off of the soap box? May I suggest the FedEx Orange Bowl's very own King Orange?

I agree with both of you.


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