Are Out-of-State Prep Schools Using COVID-19?
The latest recruiting tactic performed by prep school and Academy shysters masquerading as coaches is not the least bit surprising.
As Cardozo head coach and reputable New York City hoops advocate Ron Naclerio stated via Twitter, some in the prep industry are now using the threat the novel coronavirus poses as a strategic method of gaining players.
Non-legitimate programs, many of them indifferent to the academic component, are now trying to say that New York schools will not have a 2020-21 season and committing (which in their Academy school vernacular essentially means sending an upfront payment for tuition) now while they have scholarship opportunities available will ensure a spot.
With the vast number of "pop up schools" and basketball academies competing with New York City schools and making efforts to poach players, it is clear there are no line these piecemeal programs will not cross.
The prep game can best be described as a cutthroat business, one predicated on an embellished sales pitch. This pitch touches on everything from college exposure, competitive "national" schedules, and loaded lineups to living conditions and flashy gear.
The reality of it is, many of these programs are flawed and are not actually "schools." Situations like now defunct Forest Trail Sports University (NC) or 22 Feet Academy (SC) and other botched opportunities like it identify the risk factor of deceptive recruiting tactics and putting kids in dire living conditions with a spotty meal plan and online classes which will not gain the approval of the NCAA.
Pop up schools are created daily. A money hungry "'coach" or "trainer" with considerable connections and leads on student-athletes suddenly kick-starts a program without a legitimate education system in place. He or she then charges in the vicinity of 40K for tuition and discovers misled international kids without taking the proper steps to ensure these foreign students a Visa or I-20.
These programs are predicated on getting the most possible tuition payers, while simultaneously poaching high level prospects for the national team. Meanwhile, they are seemingly hell-bent on running the operation while spending as little as possible.
Yes, programs with actual schools and proven, established coaching staffs such as Montverde Academy in Florida or Word of God in North Carolina do follow guidelines and hold student athletes to a high standard.
They do tend to have more NCAA coaches at open gyms and workouts, because of the vast number of unsigned prospects they can feature at an open gym.
What some young men fail to recognize, however, is that for every legit prep school there is a sham like and money grab operation that could ultimately destroy their credibility and also hamper their transcript.
Prep basketball was initially created to help a certain type of player. Those who needed the extra year to gain eligibility and those who could benefit from the additional year by developing physically and gaining experience for the rigors of the collegiate experience.
NEPSAC schools and high quality programs such as Oak Hill, Winchendon, Bridgton Academy, and others flourished for doing the right thing and adequately preparing these young men for the challenges that await.
As scam schools such as the aforementioned 22 Feet Academy have shown, however, is that recruiting is akin to blood sport in their business.
Also, malicious lies about the quality of education, the visa status of international players, the living conditions, and the gym access and funding of these programs run rampant. Any player who is approached by one of these "coaches" needs to tread lightly on believing what they are told. They need to be cognizant that this "program" is essentially a money grab.
Programs such as Forest Trails Sports University, which garnered national publicity for not feeding the kids properly and shoving them in an abandoned hotel which purported to be "on campus housing" are becoming all too predictable these days. Telling a New York area player that their season is going to be cancelled and that a commitment now would solidify a roster spot (or scholarship money) is an obvious enough portent of the lack of morals and integrity.
New York kids need to avoid these types and steer clear of the risk of being suckered in by "scholarship opportunities."
The NCAA is cracking down on scam schools and bush league programs as we speak. A new law has established that a post graduate program or an athletic institution that is not attached to a legit school cannot have NCAA coaches as guests at any of their events, practices, or open gyms/facilities.
It's indicative of how the culture has changed and how many of these pop up schools are sullying the environment while simultaneously burying kids' transcripts and misleading everyone involved.