In the past week or so we've seen more than a few stories regarding post national signing day coaching changes. Texas, Florida, Ohio State, UCLA etc have all been involved in the coaching carousel with moves from either coordinators or position coaches.
These moves have resulted in some negative press involving reactions from players who signed LOIs to attend their respective schools while under the impression that they'd be playing for a specific coach. We've seen reactions from 4 star Ohio State RB Mike Weber:
I'm hurt as hell I ain't gone lie— Mike Weber (@mikeweber25) February 5, 2015
To Longhorn DT Du'vonta Lampkin's thoughts on former longhorn DL coach Chris Rumph making a lateral move to the University of Florida.
Texas DT signee Du'Vonta Lampkin on the Chris Rumph to Florida news… pic.twitter.com/YMVQNnPNNt— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) February 6, 2015
The reaction to these has been varied, but many have stuck to the tried and true philosophy that a player should commit to a school and not a coach. Barrett Sallee wrote a lengthy article regarding the national signing day drama and concluded with the following sentence.
Coaching is a nomadic business, but playing college football isn't. As a result, players should commit to schools, not people.
I don't disagree with Barrett, but I think it's incredibly unfair to the recruits to place the blame on them for being disappointed with coaching changes and hiding behind the notion that "coaching changes are going to happen"
Recruiting is a year round business of developing relationships. These relationships typically take years to develop. Players start hearing from coaches sometimes as soon as after their freshman year in high school, and those individual coaches serve as representatives of their respective universities for up to three years. The coaches sell the school...how on earth can you separate the two?
Recruiting is a relationship business, and players develop those relationships with both individual coaches and the school...but the emphasis is typically on the coach serving as a representative of the school. Many of the players Texas A&M signed in 2014 would never have considered attending A&M in 2011 under Mike Sherman for a variety of reasons: scheme, assistant coaches, program perception, etc. The school remained the same, but everything else is 100% different.
This notion of "committing to a school" just seems like a fancy way to say "buyer beware" and a way to distract from the fact that the recruits are entering into a hugely one sided contract that leaves them with no recourse should things change in 24 hours.
So in short, saying that players should know better because they should have "committed to a school not a coach" is basically a way of telling players to "suck it up and deal."
What's the solution here? It's true that coaches are going to leave, and that post-NSD is the perfect time to announce those changes. The solution here is for recruits to be smart about how they go about the recruiting process and recognize that this is a fluid situation. NSD has been built up to be a gigantic event, but really that first Wednesday in February is only the first day that players can sign--but the pressure of a ceremony leads to players making decisions based on incomplete information, and often regretting that decision.
I applaud the way guys like Roquan Smith and Cece Jefferson are operating. Take your time. Get all the facts and then make a decision. Don't let a false sense of urgency become the reason for a poor decision.
But that aside, it's time to let go of this silly notion that "players should commit to a school and not a coach" because it's absolutely impossible to separate the two. Players pick schools because of the vision that an individual coach sells.