Gareon Conley is very similar to other recruits in a few regards.
The star cornerback from Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio, is a fantastic football player. He has offers from some of the premier teams in the Big Ten. He’s even committed to a school (Michigan) like many other players. And like just about every other prospect in the country, he wants to take some official visits to either change his mind or re-affirm his decision.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
If Conley wants to visit any other schools, he will lose his scholarship offer from Michigan.
Michigan prides itself on its tradition and old school ways. There’s a lot of history there. Unfortunately, some of their traditions are incredibly outdated. Taking away a scholarship from a ‘verbally’ committed player who visits another school is absurd.
It’s those kinds of archaic practices that have prevented Michigan from winning more than one single national championship since 1948. Alabama has won more national championships in the last 3 years than Michigan has won in the last 64. Even the legendary Bo Schembechler couldn’t win the big one.
By taking away a scholarship offer from a kid who wants to see other schools, you’re signaling a weakness in yourself. It almost seems like they don’t have enough confidence in themselves to seal the deal. A fear of recruiting competition, maybe?
A 17 year old kid should be able to visit other schools without fear of punishment or retribution. It’s an exciting time for these kids, many of whom have never done any traveling outside of their own state, nonetheless across the country. It’s also the biggest decision any of these kids will have ever made in their lives, one that will have a lasting effect.
Of course, the argument can be made to just not commit to any school until you’re absolutely sure, of which I tend to be partial. But many of these kids commit to a school to try and slow down the sprint-like marathon that is college football recruiting. They want some relief from the constant barrage of texts, calls, facebook and twitter messages and so on. They think if they commit to a school, many of the coaches will get off their backs.
So Conley has a decision to make. The 6’2’’ 170lb physical cornerback needs to decide if taking visits to schools like Ohio State and Oregon are worth losing his offer from Michigan, to which he’s been committed since March 10th.
I’m hoping he does, and sticks it to ‘Big Blue’ and their dated recruiting ‘rules’.