Mike Gundy’s recruiting vision comes close to college football

STILLWATER – College football has become the NFL Jr.

This isn’t news to anyone who’s been following the ocean of money flooding into the game, or rule changes as players are treated a little more like the pros. Name, image, likeness, and transfer portal revenue serves as a cheap imitation of contracts and free agency.

The NCAA is slow on the rise, or we would have come up with those cheap imitations years ago and would be closer to the real thing now.

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Looks like Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy wants to bring us closer.

“At the end of the day college staff will have a recruiting staff that goes out and watches the players play,” he said Monday. “Then it will allow the assistant coaches to be with the current team that they’re coaching, and they help teach academically and athletically during the season, which is where they need to be. Instead of being out on the road recruiting Thursday and Friday nights.”

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Forget the academic part of Gundy’s statement. The academic support staff helps the strong linebacker with the calculus equation, not the linebacker coach.

Gundy expects college coaches with their teams over the season, just as NFL coaches with their coaches, for reasons outside of class work.

“More than ever, the guys on our team need us around them all the time,” Gundy said.

“You can say, ‘Well, they’re big kids, find out.'” That’s right. But on a slightly smaller scale, it’s no different than what you want to be around your kids when you’re raising them.

“You want to be there to help them make good decisions. Or talk to them when they need help. Or when they’re hurting. It’s the same thing.”

“So it would be good for the recruits and their families, and for the coaching staff, if that was taken care of.”

Will this be of benefit to recruits and their families? Big controversy.

Gundy’s proposal would allow his five front office members dedicated to recruiting—hiring manager Todd Bradford and Bradford’s four assistants—to visit recruiters in place of traditional assistants. Since it’s Gundy and his 10 full-time assistants who are entrusted with the care of said recruits for the next four or five years—remember he likened those kids to “his” kids—the recruits’ families need to get to know the trained position heck much closer than the recruiting staff.

Is Gundy’s suggestion a good training device? It will be healthy for the employees. Their work would go weeks from crazy to outrageous. In that sense, yes.

Does Gundi’s proposal score from a practical point of view? mmm…

“We have all the video in the world,” he said. “I could finish every game played last Friday night.”

Meaning, in-season road trips on those Thursday and Friday nights for high school games aren’t as useful as they were before every college coach with a computer had Hudl highlights for every high school player.

As for the off-season road trips to the offices of prospective coaches and managers? To assess the character?

“We don’t get a lot of really accurate information from schools,” Gundy revealed Monday. “We live in a society where teachers, coaches, parents, and administrators can’t really talk about things that might say something not good about a child, and they end up in a lawsuit or out of a job. I can’t tell the truth anymore.”

Gundy points out that if campus visits are less personal or authoritative than they used to be, they should be left, season at least, to his recruiters. They become NFL scouts, because it is the NFL scouts who attend college prospects’ games and practices rather than NFL assistant coaches.

“The recruiting cadres that some of these schools have are very expensive. I’m talking about millions of dollars a year in investments,” Gundy said. And when the season is over, the staff can go out and talk to these kids face-to-face and talk to their parents.”

There is meaning to some of this.

It would make more sense if high school prospects signed contracts, not scholarship offers, to play on college teams. If they had the right to collectively bargain and share the proceeds from those billion-dollar media contracts.

Then the organization becomes less personal, the college players become less like “kids” and more like “staff,” and it makes sense to turn the college program’s recruiting team into a scouting department whose people live out of suitcases while bouncing off a high. From school to high school every fall.

Until that happens Gundy will probably have to keep his dates under the Friday night lights.

In this week’s episode, Guerin and Bill discuss the widespread impact of the 2014 classic Bedlam as well as Norman’s game-breaking weekend. Plus some interesting matches in the high school playoffs.


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