Spurrier, Kiffin rock different boats in same sea

By DARRYL MAXIE
dmaxie@ajc.com

The high school football coach flexes his muscles. The principal lays down the law. Guess who stands up and takes notice?

Steve Spurrier.

Lane Kiffin.

Recruiting fanatics everywhere.

Developments of the last four months have made coaches from Spurrier’s South Carolina staff persona non grata at Tucker High in DeKalb County, and representatives from Kiffin’s Tennessee staff likewise unwelcome at Pahokee High in Florida. The reasons why have been well chronicled, and speculation fills the cracks where one side or the other has failed — whether by NCAA rule or pure preference — to disclose the whole story.

Is it just a bunch of wrist-slapping grandstanding? Does it really do any good? Or is it potentially harmful, driving a needless wedge between a college that might offer a scholarship and an athlete who could use it?

For all the publicity that Pahokee principal Ariel Alejo got Tuesday by booting Tennessee assistant coach Eddie Gran off his campus, what will it really do? The Volunteers reportedly have five offers on the table for Pahokee players as you read this. The principal can stop them from using the fax machine in the school office to send Kiffin their letter-of-intent faxes, come National Signing Day, but he can’t stop any of them from accepting a scholarship. Nor does he really, in his heart of hearts, want to.

It doesn’t really change the game, one in which players and their parents cite lying recruiters — not coaches hyping their fans — as one of the worst elements.

Recruiters still will lie for the same reason baseball players still will get caught using banned substances, and it sounds a lot like “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.” More specifically, it sounds like this: If you’re not stringing along a few kids to maintain a plentiful supply of prospects at a certain position, and your livelihood depends on securing blue-chippers, then you haven’t fully paid the price of doing business. That’s cold, but nobody taking a sober look at the process comes away feeling warm and fuzzy about the whole thing.

It’s a tough gig, brutal at times. Offers get yanked. Inflammatory words fly. Recruiters lie. It’s a part of the same script in which coaches feed red meat to their big-money boosters by saying things that are supposed to remain strictly in-house, no matter how off-the-scale implausible that may be.

Sooner or later, somebody has to stand up for the honor of his player, his school, his community.

The high school football coach flexes his muscles. The principal lays down the law. Maybe the next prospect that high school has will hear only a little white lie instead of the whopper the last guy heard. Maybe the next college head coach will take great pains to blow kisses and breathe sweet nothings in that community’s general direction.

But, inexorably, the show will go on.

13 comments Add your comment

Urban Lyer

May 13th, 2009
1:23 pm

I do not lie even though I tell all my prospects they will be a starter from game 1 if they come to gayturdland.

tyler

May 13th, 2009
1:35 pm

LOVE IT! The AJC just can’t stop talking about Tennessee…..

[...] I’m still amazed this statement is getting so much press considering it happened in February. I agree that he could have probably kept his mouth shut, but this article from AJC tells of the adverse effects of banning coaches: Spurrier, Kiffin rock different boats in same sea | AJC College Sports Recruiting [...]

Urban Crier

May 13th, 2009
2:58 pm

Hey, Call me “Lyer” one more time and it’s “GO TIME”.

Ryno

May 13th, 2009
3:54 pm

“Lyer”. Actually, that makes it “GO GATOR” time. Love, Corrine.

VolAboveAll

May 13th, 2009
3:55 pm

I am aware of the fact that you make your living, in part, throwing rocks at Lane Kiffin and the University of Tennessee. You have a built-in audience for this kind of article, and the amen chorus chimes in every time. I guess that is good business for the AJC and gets a lot of clicks on the website from the legions of UGa and Florida faithful. However, just once, would you consider a more intellectually honest position as Clay Travis did in the linked article?

http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2009/05/13/florida-principal-bars-tennessee-recruiters/

I know that Clay Travis is a professed Tennessee fan, although he went to George Washington University and Vandy law school. I also know that being a Tennessee fan doesn’t ban you from being able to criticize our Coach. However, the points Travis makes are a lot more valid than most of the drivel that many writers throw out there. You can take the easy way out and pander to your audience or the honest way out and report objectively. Have you permanently chosen your path?

Urban Meyer

May 13th, 2009
9:38 pm

TampaDave

May 13th, 2009
9:47 pm

“VolAboveAll” You ask for objectivity and then you link us to THIS article????????? The article starts out by making light of the Principals name being like the Little Mermaid and then goes downhill from there. You must think that FOX is really “fair and balanced” too!Brother, I think you need to go look up the word “objective” in the dictionary!

Crimson Crush

May 13th, 2009
10:25 pm

“…. I am aware of the fact that you make your living, in part, throwing rocks at Lane Kiffin and the University of Tennessee. You have a built-in audience for this kind of article, and the amen chorus chimes in every time. I guess that is good business for the AJC and gets a lot of clicks on the website from the legions of UGa and Florida faithful….”

You forgot basically every other school in the SEC . For that matter just say that every publication in the continental US has a “built in” audience to laugh at the slow motion train wreck the Vols have put into motion by hiring this clown .

You might as well get used to it because it won’t just be rags like the AJC having fun at the Vols expense . You guys are just the low hnaging fruit and your coaching hire is looking fruitier ( and funnier) by the day :-)

AlwaysAVol

May 13th, 2009
11:32 pm

Let’s just wait and see what happens in September. Talk is cheap, from all sides…Go VOLS!!! Go SEC!!! (except Floriduh).

89EAGLE

May 14th, 2009
7:10 am

I wouldn’t put Spurrier’s name with Kiffins. Spurrier had good reason to withdraw his offer. Kiffin just isn’t very smart.

Gator Growl

May 14th, 2009
2:45 pm

AlwaysAVol…indeed we will…

davil

May 19th, 2009
6:31 am

Tennessee is starting to look a lot like the former edition of the Clayton County Board of Education (sic).