UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

For Argument’s Sake: Feb. 23, 2010

For Arguments Sake: Feb. 23, 2010

Earlier this month, newly hired USC head coach Lane Kiffin was back in the middle of controversy when ESPN reported that he had received a verbal commitment from Delaware Quarterback David Sills. The controversy? Sills is only 13.The news created an uproar among parents as well as the sporting community. However, this kind of scouting has been going on for years.At age 11, Stephon Marbury was touted as the world’s best sixth grader by the Hoop Scoop recruiting newsletter. In 2008, USC offered a scholarship to an 8th grader. More surprisingly, Sills isn’t even the first 13 year old Kiffin has been after. Last June, Kiffin got a verbal commitment from former Tennessee Safety Eric Berry’s 13 year old brother, Evan Berry.It’s a trend that seems to be increasing every year. So one must ask, should there be a limit on the age when coaches can recruit athletes?

  Why There Shouldn’t….

BY SEBASTIAN LENA Before you all throw a hissy fit, I suggest paying a little closer attention to the details. All of this uproar is over a VERBAL commitment. A commitment that can be broken off at any time by either party. The boy is not tied down by this decision. In a few years time if he decides he’d rather go to Oklahoma, he’s free to do that. If USC decides they’d rather chase another quarterback prospect, they’re free to cut Sills lose. Just because we say something doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. We all know that from first hand experiences. Heck, last week I gave my mom a verbal commitment that I would clean my apartment. Did I do it? Hell no. But I digress. Now, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the immense pressure that this might throw upon the shoulders of a 13 year-old boy. Please. That’s a bunch of nonsense. Sills has been training with California quarterback coach Steve Clarkson since he was 10. He’s had plenty of time to adjust to balancing his school work with his time on the football field. From those that know the kid, Sills is living the life of an ordinary 13 year-old. He still has homework. He still hangs out with his friends. He just happens to throw a football a hell of a lot better than every other 13 year-old in the country. There’s nothing wrong with getting professional help to achieve your goal. A goal that looks to be a whole lot closer with a verbal commitment from one of college football’s powerhouses. Why There Should….

BY ANDREW OTOVIC Really now? Is this what college athletics have come to? A kid who has probably not completed puberty is now going to attend USC….IN 2015! It is great that David Sills has unbelievable skills at such a young age, but to recruit him to college when he is not even sure what high school he is going to attend is beyond far-fetched. Is Coach Kiffin worried that Sills will want to go to Nebraska, Oklahoma or Ohio State and not go to USC? What about from the kid’s perspective. He will now have USC on him constantly his entire high school life. Checking in to make sure he is taking care of himself, going to all of his games, making sure he is not doing typical teenager stuff (underage drinking, etc.) and making sure he is under their thumb until the day he can officially be on the field. In reality, who does this help? Kiffin clearly knows how to recruit quarterbacks since he brought in Matt Leinart and current quarterback Matt Barkley. But nonetheless, is this kid automatically going to start the day he is eligible? What if there is another stud that nobody knows about just yet who also commits to USC. Say such a quarterback wins the Heisman and the National Championship and stays. Or that same QB leaves to go pro but his backup is the greatest thing since sliced bread. This kid could wind up being Matt Cassel and never see the field. At 13 years-old, I think that making this decision was not a good one. Unless he screws up or the school has more probation violations, he is stuck to his commitment. If he pulled a Barkley and committed at 17, that’s one thing, but at 13 with 5 more years of school, this was not a good choice for Sills to make.