by Henry Miller | Staff Writer
The University of Louisville faced scrutiny after it was revealed that coaches had bribed parents of recruits with money in exchange for attendance at their school. It was also revealed that apparel giant Adidas had advertised their brand to future NBA players as potential sponsored athletes. Both of these acts are banned by the NCAA and an FBI investigation has been launched. This according to USA Today’s Courier Journal.
From Germany to Australia, Hawaii to the heart of Washington,Whitworth athletics have recruited from a wide pool of athletes. The Whitworth basketball team alone has four players from the either New Zealand or Australia.
“There aren’t as many opportunities for international athletes to continue playing in their home countries. We have extended our reach to countries like Belgium, Spain and Turkey to look for talented recruits that don’t have the chance to play at home,” said head men’s basketball coach Matt Logie. The Pirates basketball program recently graduated an All-American Center hailing from Germany. “We extend our reach to increase the chances of finding a player that truly fits our program,” Logie said.
As expected,a high academic bar is set for Whitworth’s student athletes. Recruits must meet academic enrollment requirements before talks about athletics begin. Many Division I schools, such as Stanford and UCLA, both very highly respected colleges when academics are concerned, also hold athletes to admission requirements before accepting them to their respective teams. However, some Division I schools take a business approach to recruiting and will adjust enrollment requirements to better their academic programs.
When a Whitworth sport looks to expand their roster, there are multiple factors they consider when evaluating recruits.
“Talent is easiest to identify, but one of the other things we look for is character. We learn a lot about that through campus visits, phone calls, social media,” Logie said. Coaches consider the decision-making process of an athlete to be critical in evaluating recruits. Other important factors are passion and work ethic. Similarly, Whitworth football looks at how students can better our campus. Recruits have an advantage in admissions because of the athletic prowess they bring to Whitworth. Now, this is not to say only athletes have an advantage. The same holds true to the fact that a talented musician would bring their talents to Whitworth.
The football recruitment process takes place over during most of the year. Most recruiting takes place during a recruit’s junior year in high school. This is important because a school does not want to interfere with a student’s senior season of football, as that is a very special time for a student athlete.
“Our recruiting season starts in May by finding recruits in our areas, then we can go to showcases and summer camps to build a relationship with the players. We then watch the players senior season and when it is over contact them and start organizing visits and bringing recruits to games,” said head football coach Rod Sandberg.
Whitworth football has a wide radius of recruiting areas extending north to Alaska, west to Hawaii, east to Colorado and south to Arizona. Most recruits come from Washington, with the second most coming from California and Hawaii. Many of the Hawaiian recruits do not have many opportunities to play on the islands, similar to international players, so Whitworth looks to give them their opportunity.
With all that Whitworth athletics has accomplished over the past years it is evident our recruiting process is cutting edge. With many more recruits coming in with the class of 2021, Whitworth Athletics has a bright future ahead of it.
As for the situation at Louisville, two basketball coaches and the athletic director have been given paid leave while the scandal is dealt with. With this new information on a program that has seen great success in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it will be crucial to make sure that other high caliber teams are not implementing similar strategies.