Monday, June 22, 2009

Army Football

Recruiting football players to play at West Point can be an, uh, interesting challenge:

And while nobody disputes that locations such as Buffalo, New York or Laramie, Wyoming have their own unique and inherit (sic) disadvantages when it comes to attracting prep players, the recruiting challenges at West Point could very well be the country’s most daunting. Not only must Army’s coaching staff deal with the harsh realities of trying to attract recruits to a life of military discipline and rigorous academic challenges, but they must do so in a day and age in which most of the best prep players around the country are looking for a fast track to the NFL. Add in the fact of twelve straight losing seasons and the likelihood that any given athlete could be deployed to an area of danger after graduating from West Point, and it’s not difficult to see why Army hasn’t exactly reeled in its share of blue chip athletes as of late.

At least so the thought has gone.

In a recent interview with, new head coach Rich Ellerson maintained that although the perception is to look at the goals of service academies as running against the lifestyles of today’s prep athletes, the reality is that his staff has found a pool of recruits more than willing to serve, and more than willing to attend West Point.

It's good that they're recruiting cadets who will play football, and not vice versa. The former will become an officer, the latter will become an ex-cadet.


Carson said...

Im ready for a winning season next year. Go ARMY!

allen (in Michigan) said...

That's a gratifying piece and a gratifying observation.

Provides some support for my touchingly innocent faith in human nature provided I don't go off the deep end and insist that the qualities coach Rich Ellerson finds in sufficient quantity to fill out his squad aren't equally distributed across the population.

They're not but hey, they never have been.

vanyali said...

The NFL should just recruit kids out of high school. Maybe they can set up a junior training league or something like that. Maybe the new trend of good players going to overseas leagues out of high school will do some good on this front. It's not like players on star football teams are really getting an education in college. They don't have time for it, for one thing. They're grist in a mill, and not even getting paid for it. It's ridiculous.

Carson said...

They're not getting paid for it? While some athletes don't get an education its their own fault for not taking advantage of their situation. The smart ones will take advantage of their full ride scholarship to get a good education and thats a payday to me.

Ellen K said...

It's not just the military training, it's having to make grades as well. There's no big secret that schools which require higher academic standards often are not part of the elite in football. When SMU came back from the death penalty-a penalty that the NCAA has never levied again in spite of egregious behavior by many big name schools-the professors insisted on a higher academic standard. So while Texas has good football players, many of the smarter ones can also qualify for the big name schools. What is troubling is that many of these big name schools have dismal graduation rates. When is the NCAA going to do something about that? I had a kid who had a full ride to Arizona, and the kid can't read. But his dad was a Big Name Professional football player. That really needs to change or we simply need to say that these are all NFL farm teams.