Not every deserving player makes all-state
Removing myths about small college football
This is a public service announcement. The football world is going unchecked and sort of crazy. Some of you out there are living in delusional, alternative realities or universes. Some of us, on this side of the fence, don’t live there with you. Take a deep breath and read this article.Fletcher W. Long, Chief Scout, KPGFootball
- On All-State Football Teams…
Every year we publish an all-state team. We do this mostly to provide some indication to our fellow members of the press corp how our ballot will likely appear when the Associated Press opens its nomination and voting process.
We are voting members of the AP team too, and have found in the past that posting our own team in advance of nominations for the AP team (the granddaddy of them all incidentally) opens the opportunity for consult between any other voters who may wish to know our opinion and how we are leaning. We are, after all, the only member of the Kentucky Press Corp which covers football year-round.
Every year some prospect or another will reach out to us and tell us we were in error in not selecting them. Some of them will cite convincing arguments. Some of them are completely delusional.
If you’re not the best player at your position on your high school team, how in the world can you maintain you are an all-stater? Get real!
Now for the prospects who believe they should have made the team solely on the strength of being “offered” by some Division I school, you are wasting your time even contacting us. I hate to tell you this, but there are a ton of kids out there, today, intentionally misrepresenting their status with schools by whom they claim to have been “offered.”
You’re only fooling yourself. You aren’t fooling us.
I could put on social media tomorrow being offered by Alabama. I can even generate my own graphic offered in support of that proposition.
My graphic won’t look anything similar to what Alabama would generate, if the Crimson Tide even knew I was alive. It may fool the masses; which was my intent.
Alabama is not going to blow the whistle on me. By NCAA rule, the Crimson Tide can’t.
Coaches cannot publicly identify a prospective student athlete on social media (including the prospect’s name, nickname, or other personally identifiable info (e.g., address)) until the prospect has signed an NLI or submitted their financial deposit to the member institution. Before signing an NLI or scholarship offer, there can be NO PUBLIC COMMENT on a prospect except to CONFIRM the recruitment of the prospect.
Notice the permissible comment can confirm, not deny, the prospect’s recruitment. So, the school can say, “We’re recruiting Henry Lyon to Alabama.” The school can not say, “Henry Lyon is a delusional idiot and we have no intention of recruiting him, now or ever!” Schools may not comment on the prospect’s ability, potential contribution to the program, or likelihood of the prospect’s signing (NCAA Bylaws 13.10.2, 13.10.3).
So, for the reason above set forth, a player will never make our all-state team because that player purports to have been offered by some school. We learn, every year, of kids who have made numerous all-state and top-players lists on the strength of fictional offers.
Now, if you don’t make our team (or any team), it shouldn’t change your opinion of your career or season. As a seasoned participant in the voting and selecting of all-state teams…we miss. Yessir, you are getting this straight from the horse’s mouth; we miss, all the time.
No team gets every all-state caliber player. Some players play in remote parts of the commonwealth we rarely see. Some players play on teams which struggled and the team’s struggles overshadowed that player’s game play. Some times there are a wealth of fine players, around Kentucky, all playing the same position.
This year, there was an unusually large contingent of record-breaking RB’s and WR’s. This was a tough year for players at those two slots.
Some players play positions which don’t draw much notice. We picked an all-state FB this year (Calil McNary, Hopkins County Central Storm). There aren’t a ton of FB’s playing around Kentucky; but, the one we picked was extra special in our estimation.
- On small college football opportunities…
There is a huge misnomer about players recruited to and accepting opportunities to play at small colleges. The article we are using as a reference here, Five Benefits of Playing Sports at a Division-III College, linked herein in its entirety for those curious, is from GMTM.com, a social network designed to connect athletes and organizations. While it address Division III, NCAA; it is as illustrative for NAIA, and Division II.
First of all, people believe the different divisions of NCAA competition are tiered. In other words, D3 has to be the third tier of college sports. Well, that is completely false.
The different divisions denote the different rules by which the schools operate. Division 3 is made up of largely elite academic institutions which grant boat-loads of aid to students, and student athletes, the source of which doesn’t come from a pool of assets administered by an athletic department for the sole and exclusive use of athletes.
Division 3, Division 2, and NAIA are all full of top athletes and excellent academic opportunities. The article, authored by Scotty Jenkins and published on August 25, 2022, is pretty clear in this regard.
Jenkins writes, “A lot of people think Division 3 athletes just weren’t good enough to play anywhere else. That isn’t the case at all.”
Jenkins continues, “Division 3 teams across the nation have rosters full of athletes who were among the best at their high school and even in their entire state. Any Division 3 sporting event…is essentially full of All-District or All-State athletes from across the country.”
Statistics tell us only 6.5% of high school athletes, across the nation, get an opportunity to play college (NCAA, NAIA, or even NJCAA) football at any of its “levels.” Of those 6.5%, only 1.6% make it to the NFL for even a cup of coffee and that 1.6% is comprised of players from all over the different levels or divisions, as the case may be.
I have heard it put this way…NFL scouts are solely concerned with finding talent which improves the organizations for whom they work. If you’re a player who will assist improving the bottom-line product; these guys will find you, regardless of where you may be hiding.
On the other hand, if you are only playing college football to make it to the NFL, you are basically betting on a lottery ticket’s hitting. That isn’t very smart money.
Translation…go to class. You need to be focused on getting a meaningful degree which will provide you the type of life to which you aspire performing work you will find fulfilling.
NCAA Division 3 athletes are able to earn NLI money, just like their D1 counterparts. The cities that Division-III colleges are located in love their teams and they support their athletes well. Jenkins writes, “We expect that the more accomplished programs in smaller towns across the southeast, midwest and northeast are going to see a ton of NIL deals for their local athletes in the future.”
Probably the biggest myth out there is only the colleges at D1 and D2, together with NAIA, can offer scholarship money to athletes. They are able to offer athletic department money, where D3 doesn’t pool its assets in that manner. That aside, don’t think for a second D3 athletes are inadequately funded.
NCAA, D-3 schools offer tons of financial aid to student-athletes. Schools reserve plenty of academic, leadership, and various special needs scholarships for its student athletes.
If you are a good athlete with good grades and above average SAT/ACT scores, you may earn a near full-tuition scholarship while you play. The amount of funding may be found vastly superior, by your family, to any “ride” offered by any school below FBS, Division 1.
So here is the bottom line…If you’re one of those “D1 or bust guys,” that is fine and completely your choice. However, know the facts before you make such a rash and completely unnecessary decision which may impact the rest of your life.
Rant over. Thanks for listening.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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