Recruiting often discourages teamwork in sports


Recruiting has become an institution in all levels of sports.  When a player is recruited, the athlete tends to focus on his or her own statistics to look better for that recruiter, discouraging teamwork. Next level recruitment breaks down teamwork and tears down the fundamentals of sports teams.

A prime example of this lack of teamwork is the one-and-done rule which is most prominent in college basketball. The NBA requirement for players is to be out of high school for one year, which created the one-and-done movement where players will stay for the minimum year and move on.  

Knowing that they will only be with the team for a year, the athlete does not invest all that much effort in the season. All they really care about is to raise draft stock and gain more stats. Virginia, Villanova, and Gonzaga proved that teams can have successful, even championship seasons with players who are more invested in teamwork.

Football players must stay in college for three years, but in recent years, many players such as Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, and Will Grier have chosen to sit out their team’s bowl game to rest for the NFL.  

“Very tough decision. But I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl, so I can begin my draft prep immediately,” said McCaffrey.  

Players that sit these games outlet their teams down because they only think about themselves.  

LaMelo Ball scored 92 points in a high school game in 2016.  He barely shared the ball and waited under the basket, making sure every pass went to him.  Selfishness can infest athletes early in their careers.

Showcase teams are commonly created to have athletes looked at by recruiters.  NCSA sports describes these events as when “student-athletes from around the country participate in sports camps, combines, tournaments, and showcases to sharpen their skills and gain exposure to college coaches.”  

In 2017, there was a showcase program created by four coaches in Mississippi who, in an advertisement on 247Sports, said, “We are only here to help players gain exposure and to serve as a liaison between college recruiters and parents/players.”  

Programs like these only serve to show athletes off to recruiters, and no teamwork is seen because individuals are trying to make themselves look better.

An argument could be made that athletes are not affected by recruiting, and they should be allowed to do what’s best for their careers.  This point is invalid because there are many effects, including the promotion of selfishness, physical effects on athletes because they are pushing themselves so hard, and even psychological effects due to the pressure on them at a young age.

The new rule pushed by lacrosse coaches that required athletes to be juniors before being able to be recruited was a great start, but it only affects high schools.  The new NCAA/NBA rule should be that basketball players must be out of school for three years to go to the NBA, or they should be able to go straight to the NBA.

Either way, it would benefit college basketball because players staying for three years would invest more time and effort into the team.  If players are able to go straight out of high school, only the athletes serious about contributing to their college team would play.

If this problem is not brought to the attention of the NCAA, and all professional sports leagues, it could create a spiral, and ruin the integrity of sports. Teamwork is a fundamental part of all sports and can no longer be pushed out.  If this issue is brought to the forefront, athletics can be made whole again.