Recruiting and Broken Promises

It's offseason, and that has caused a drop in postings around Duck-land, and one thing has slipped through the cracks around these parts is the recruitment of Xavier Ramos.

Xavier is a young man who received a written scholarship offer on Friday from Oregon, and accepted it, only to have it rescinded Monday.  Rob Moseley has a good recap of the entire situation.  The Oregon coaching staff felt it needed to rescind the offer after receiving another verbal commitment at the same time, at the same position (the other recruit is unknown at this point).  This gave Oregon 2 commits where there was only one spot for scholarships.  It should be noted that this situation is quite exceptional, and though Oregon's offers were very standard within college football, this type of double-commitment rarely does.

Not shockingly, Canzano has some things to say on the issue, essentially stating that Oregon should not make promises it cannot keep.  Actually, he has a lot of good points throughout his article (did I just say Canzano had good points?), though he is, I feel, a bit overly critical of the Oregon coaching staff.  He also brings the emotion to this story, telling us the story from the perspective of Ramos, which is important to look at in situations like this.

The immediate fallout from this entire situation is that it is a blow to the credibility of the Oregon recruiting, and is a really unfortunate to screw a young kid.  The Duck coaching staff is now unwelcome at Saint Bonaventure High School, which is not a plus for recruiting, as it is typically a strong school, with many alumni at BCS schools.

But more than anything else, this is an yet another indictment on the recruiting process.  Recruiting has been heavily debated in the blogosphere this offseason, especially when Brian over at MGoBlog called out the over-recruiting practices of Nick Saban, drawing the anger of many Alabama fans, and a healthy debate amoung other interested parties. 

And this situation is yet another example of the problems in recruiting. Could Oregon have kept their to Ramos, as Canzano suggest?  Yes, they probably could have, though it may have cost them down the line, and let's be honest, college football is a million dollar enterprise.  The education of young kids is still very important in my mind, but in the grand scheme of things, especially in the recruiting process, it falls to the wayside in the name of success.  By all accounts, this situation was a big accident, as having the commitments come at the same time, this early in the process is quite exceptional, but to compete in the BCS, Oregon needed to send out more offers than they knew they could accept, to stay competitive and get the best class possible.  This is not new, and everyone does this.

Where I applaud the coaching staff, is they could have let this go into February.  They could have rejected someone academically (as happens fairly frequently), but they took the hard choice, and ended this controversy now.  There are consequences, for sure, but at least this was done as soon as possible.  Ramos is now free to pursue other options, which he will most likely have, and that is great.

So, what can be done going forward?  Can Oregon, or any school for that matter, afford to keep every promise?  I don't think so, as millions of dollars, and taxpayer money is on the line.  Education is very important, and should be one of the most important things when a kid gets to school, but in this day and age, with scholarship limits and little room for error, no mistakes can be made.

To me, what this all boils down to is that line that is walked between success and "doing things the right way," for lack of a better term.  This is not an easy line to walk.  I do not think that the University of Oregon should do anything in the name of winning, and I do not think they have done that in their history.  In this case, they made a promise they couldn't keep, and owned up to that right off that bat, which is probably the best that could be hoped for.

These situations will not end moving forward.  Oregon may not fave them for some time, but every university will at some point, as this is just how college football works at this time, and I don't see that changing.  The key moving forward for the University is to do their best to not give up anything for succes.  There is no good that can come of the recruiting process as it is now, but I hope that all universities will make the best out of these bad situations when they come up.

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