In light of a recent rash of decommitments, Minnesota Golden Gophers head football coach P.J. Fleck was asked about it, and he reiterated his policy that committed players are not allowed to visit other programs. Here is the full quote:
“I have a rule: You commit to me, you can’t go see another place,” Fleck said. “Not because I’m insecure. But if you want to be committed, you’re going to be committed. Too many people teach young people to be committed but also one foot in and one foot out. ... You’ve got to be all in.”
Seems simple enough, right?
Twitter, of course, had opinions, which we’ll get to in a bit. But right now I’m struggling to understand the cries of, “Hypocrisy!” and “Double standard!”.
Remember, this is a verbal commitment we’re talking about. This is not the same as a player signing a Letter of Intent and then being blocked from transferring to another program. That is an entirely different discussion, and I’m of the opinion that student athletes should be allowed to transfer without penalty, but I digress. Back to verbal commitments.
I don’t think Fleck is asking all that much of his recruits. If you are sold 100 percent on signing with Minnesota, then commit. If you’re not 100 percent, don’t commit. Obviously the risk here is waiting too long can mean forfeiting your spot in recruiting class if others at your position decide to commit, but that seems like the nature of the beast.
I certainly don’t have a problem with coaches who are willing to be more flexible with their committed recruits, allowing them to look around for a bit and solidify their decision. But if Fleck would rather they do so without being committed, then so be it.
I think we’re ready to turn our attention to Twitter now. Let’s dive in to the cesspool:
A bigger issue with seem to be coaches pulling offers at the last minute. But hey maybe that's just us.— Head Coach Ranking (@HCRfootball) May 23, 2019
This I agree with. I realize there are situations where head coaches have pulled scholarship offers from committed recruits weeks or even days before Signing Day. It is undeniably cruel, and I don’t think it should be allowed to happen. Unfortunately, I don’t know what a solution to that looks like. I feel that college football recruiting, in general, is a warped and unhealthy enterprise.
@Coach_Fleck I agree with trying to teach about commitment, your word, and what it means but you have to live by your own convictions. Currently your actions are showing something else. 303 offers for c/o 2019 photo cred @max_olson. Schools should only offer 2x what they can sign pic.twitter.com/7VolbTyqwz— Geno Thompson (@Coach_GThompson) May 23, 2019
So each college football program should be forced to operate with about 50 scholarship offers, give or take one or two, and hope they have a 50 percent success rate?
Right. What could go wrong? Brilliant suggestion from Brian Ferentz’s burner account.
This is laughable. So Coach Fleck wouldn’t visit Ohio State or Alabama if they called him? He’s that “committed” to Minnesota? Such a double standard.— Drew Connell (@coachconnell85) May 23, 2019
This is a laughable comparison. I do think that a double standard exists, but not between head coaches and committed recruits. Enrolled players should certainly be afforded the same freedom as head coaches to leave for another program. But committed recruits have the freedom to decommit and look elsewhere. There is nothing binding about their verbal commitment.
With any knowledge of PJ's personal life / marital history, this quote is rather.....ironic.— Mike. Just Mike (@GetOffMyYardKid) May 23, 2019
Isn’t Twitter a wonderful place?
At the end of the day, to be completely honest with you, I don’t really care. These are 18-year-old kids trying to make decisions for themselves. There is bound to be indecisiveness. How coaches choose to handle that is up to them, ultimately.