The Recruiting Referee

I’ve struggled to think of a topic for my first-ever blog post because I have so much to say about the world of high school, travel, and college baseball — specifically the recruiting process. I know I’m supposed to be Positive Polly with the platform I’ve been blessed with, but when you learn as much as I have, it’s hard to pretend like everything is okay.

Those who don’t know me have a difficult time figuring out exactly what I do. Honestly, that’s by design. But I often explain my space by telling people I’m like a referee in the middle of a boxing ring. In one corner you have the confused families hoping to help their kids fulfill a dream. The other three corners are occupied by the high school, travel, and college coaches. My job is to facilitate a campfire among the participants before a Royal Rumble erupts.

To be clear, I DO NOT THINK THE PROBLEMS WITH RECRUITING ARE THE FAULT OF ANY SPECIFIC GROUP IN THE FIGHT. Each corner enters the ring with valid points, but in fairness, they lack an understanding of their opponents’ perspectives — they’re all right and they’re all wrong. How do I know? Well because I’m the only one whose job is to regularly communicate with each entity. I challenge you to find another person who spends 12+ hours a day interacting with the corners in the way that I do.

Everybody has a specific agenda. Parents are looking out for their kids, high school coaches are looking out for their programs, travel guys are looking out for their bottom lines and college coaches are looking out for their jobs. All these agendas are perfectly fine, but expecting these groups to live in perfect harmony is naïve.

We can do better, though. Based on my experience, the way to improve the culture of college baseball recruiting is by educating the masses. We need to listen more. Parents need to recognize their kid might not be the next Babe Ruth. High school coaches need to understand that the landscape has changed immensely over the last decade. Travel guys need to learn that making money is not a crime, but the way in which they do it can be. And college coaches need to realize that their actions dictate how everyone else approaches the process.

I genuinely believe that 95% of the baseball community acts in good faith. Considering it’s the government, I think it’s fair to say the NCAA is ultimately responsible for everything that is good and bad with recruiting. NAIA and NJCAA do a rather good job of creating a positive atmosphere but can be negatively impacted by the trickle-down effect of NCAA decisions.

My goal is to help bridge the gaps that exist between players, parents, and coaches at all levels. Hopefully, progress can be made through ongoing discussions that offer a comprehensive education. Hopefully, a guy like me won’t be necessary one day. I’ll use this blog, in addition to my social media accounts and YouTube channel, to provide a fair and unbiased education to those who seek it.