The NCAA voted Thursday to lower the age from 9th grade to 7th grade that a boy can officially be considered a prospect by college recruiters.
So, lets get this straight… 12 and 13 year-old kids are now being scouted?
I am all for kids being involved in sports from a young age. Participation in athletics keeps kids interested in school, teaches them teamwork, goal setting and helps build a healthy self-image.
The problem is that all too often nowadays kids are now being exploited. First by their parents who are trying to live out their dreams of glory vicariously through their children. Then through coaches, trainers and scouts looking to capitalize on the parents’ hunger to see their child become the next LeBron James, Sidney Crosby or Serena Williams. In fact, this is what led the NCAA to lowering the age of male basketball prospects. College coaches were being paid big bucks to work at high-profile camps for 7th and 8th graders. This new ruling will make that an NCAA violation. Look for a similar ruling in football soon.
I happen to have two professional athletes in my family, one football player and one hockey player. I have seen firsthand what it took for them to achieve the ultimate goal and get paid to play the sports they love. At twelve years old they, like most kids, dreamed of being professional athletes. There is nothing wrong with that. But at twelve and thirteen they were still allowed to be just what they were - kids. At that age playing sports should be about one thing, having fun.
Want your kid to grow to fame and glory on the field? Teach them the fundamentals of their sport, teach them about healthy competition by setting an example of good sportsmanship and then when the game or match ends go for ice cream rather than heading home to break down their game film. If your kid is as special as you think he or she is the rest will work itself out in due time.