“He loves to play the game of basketball, he loves to play video games, he loves to do his homework, that’s all that matters. Everything else doesn’t matter. He loves his brother and sister his dad his mom, his grandmas, let him be a kid.”
These are the words of the best basketball player on the planet, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar small forward LeBron James, in response to his first-born son, LeBron James Jr., receiving letters and inquiries from universities about his services to play college basketball. Many of you readers may be asking “What is the issue with his son being recruited and receiving scholarship offers to pay for his college education?” There is one conspicuous problem. The potential heir to the throne, LeBron James Jr. is only a mere 10 years old.
To many this is shocking and outrageous that universities would offer young children college scholarships before these young men even reach puberty. But upon doing further investigation this type of practice unfortunately occurs far too often. These are just a few examples.
- In 2012 then- 12 year-old basketball phenom Damon Harge received a scholarship offer from North Carolina Central University.
- In 2013, football powerhouse University of Alabama offered a scholarship to 8th grader Dylan Moses.
- In 2014, eighth grade basketball star Marvin Hagley III received scholarship offers from Arizona State, Creighton, and Northern Arizona.
- In 2007, basketball player Ryan Boatwright committed to the University of Southern California as a 13-year-old.
As you can see this is a very disturbing trend that must end. To put an end to premature recruiting of young potential star athletes I propose the following changes.
- An athlete can only be contacted by college programs after the athlete’s 16th birthday.
- An athlete can only be recruited if the university is given consent from the child’s parent.
- A scholarship offer cannot be offered to an athlete until after the player’s 17th birthday or the beginning of their junior year of high school.
The premature recruiting of young athletes is wrong on so many levels. Mainly, because it is not allowing these young kids to be just that. Kids. In no way shape, or form should young athletes be making decisions about where they will attend college if they have not even selected a high school they will attend. These adolescent children should be focusing on developing ,maturing and learning good morals and values that are necessary for success, in addition to the childhood joys of indulging in junk food, video games, and spending time with close friends. Not choosing between Creighton,Vanderbilt or UCLA . In the end, just let the kids be kids.
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015