Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier-Journal takes up the issue I have been banging on around here all summer -- that of early recruiting commitments.
Crawford takes note of the double standard that the media have applied to Billy Donovan's recent acceptance of Austin Rivers' commitment at 15 years old a mere two weeks after the NABC issued a strong disapproval of the practice, but that's not what Crawford's article is about. Instead, he is making exactly the same point that I have made over and over and over and over again -- early commitments may be a bad idea, but they are not harmful to the kids at all. Evidence? You know he comes armed with some:
The Juilliard School doesn't have much of a basketball team, but a Wall Street Journal story last month reported that it had recruited 15-year-old piano prodigy Peng Peng into its precollege and is beefing up its presence in China's "prodigy market." Harvard, Princeton and Yale offered admission to 14-year-old home-schooler Polite Stewart Jr., who turned them all down last month to attend Southern University in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La.
The funny thing is, I don't hear Miles Brand poo-pooing these commitments from academic (or even fine arts) prodigies, nor will I ever. That's because guys like Brand think that the only thing in the world that matters is academic effort, and spends his whole life relegating athletics to the red-headed stepchild of college scholarships. So it seems that if you play an instrument really well or are an academic prodigy, early commitment isn't just fine, it's praiseworthy. Basketball or football prodigy? Shame on you, coach.
Kudos to Crawford. He gets it, and gets it right.
UPDATE 01:09 PM: Graham Johns of the Winchester Sun had a piece addressing essentially the same facts back in June, but I somehow missed it.