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Should We Have Football Academies in the US?


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In other countries they do and have for many years.  This is an interesting article from a couple of years ago 

https://www.postandcourier.com/sports/in-europe-you-dont-play-high-school-or-college-sports-some-think-u-s-should/article_92ad84ba-a5c8-11e8-86ae-df88215ac3a1.html

IMO, the US is continuing to use this antiquated system of developing athletes that fails on many fronts.  We place the burden of developing our future athletes on underpaid hs coaches and taxpayer funding.  Colleges and pro teams make billions off US athletes with relatively little investment.  What a deal!

Look at how many FL hs football players wash out in college.  Many of our high schools do not prepare football players academically and fail to teach them life skills needed to succeed as a student-athlete at the next level.  Yet we continue to cling to this concept and vilify the IMG's of the world.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, OldSchoolLion said:

In other countries they do and have for many years.  This is an interesting article from a couple of years ago 

https://www.postandcourier.com/sports/in-europe-you-dont-play-high-school-or-college-sports-some-think-u-s-should/article_92ad84ba-a5c8-11e8-86ae-df88215ac3a1.html

IMO, the US is continuing to use this antiquated system of developing athletes that fails on many fronts.  We place the burden of developing our future athletes on underpaid hs coaches and taxpayer funding.  Colleges and pro teams make billions off US athletes with relatively little investment.  What a deal!

Look at how many FL hs football players wash out in college.  Many of our high schools do not prepare football players academically and fail to teach them life skills needed to succeed as a student-athlete at the next level.  Yet we continue to cling to this concept and vilify the IMG's of the world.

 

 

 

 

We have the so-called academies for just about every other sport, so why not football. Volleyball and soccer clubs are the development ground for top HS players in that sport. College recruiters actually farm the clubs more than the HS teams. Youth sports, including high school, have reached the level where a high percentage of your top athletes are receiving private training in their sport. Both my grandsons play HS football and they train with private coaches. The younger brother is a QB and for at least the past five years, he has attended QB camps around this country, in places like California, Texas, and Florida. He has spent a couple weeks each Summer, excluding this past Summer, at IMG Academy. He also has a private coach here locally with whom he trains 2-3 Saturdays a month, year long. The kid who plays multiple team sports is the exception now, as compared to years ago when you played a different sport each season. The training is expensive, but you can see when kids have received private training compared to kids playing on athletic ability alone. For skill position players, 7v7 has become a "must" rather than just another way to play a little more football during the year. Recruiters are at just about every weekend tournament and playing on a select "all-star" team gets a kid more exposure. Specialization has taken over HS sports. 

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IMG absolutely is an academy.  In fact, "academy" is part of its formal name ("IMG Academy").   And arguably, in less than a decade, IMG has become the premier football academy in the country.  Clearly there is a market out there for such an organization.   But, let's be real about it.   If IMG is going to market themselves as a sports academy (which they do) and aggressively pursue elite athletes to fill their rosters (which I believe they do), that's fine.   But until the FHSAA develops a separate category of membership for sports academies, IMG really doesn't belong in the FHSAA.  That doesn't mean that teams in Florida can't play them if they want to.  They can.  Just recognize that IMG is something different than all the other schools who are members of the FHSAA. 

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2 hours ago, Perspective said:

IMG absolutely is an academy.  In fact, "academy" is part of its formal name ("IMG Academy").   And arguably, in less than a decade, IMG has become the premier football academy in the country.  Clearly there is a market out there for such an organization.   But, let's be real about it.   If IMG is going to market themselves as a sports academy (which they do) and aggressively pursue elite athletes to fill their rosters (which I believe they do), that's fine.   But until the FHSAA develops a separate category of membership for sports academies, IMG really doesn't belong in the FHSAA.  That doesn't mean that teams in Florida can't play them if they want to.  They can.  Just recognize that IMG is something different than all the other schools who are members of the FHSAA

They don't try to pretend that they should be playing in an FHSAA District or Classification. We have some teams in Florida that want to be an IMG, but still play neighboring schools. They're wannabes but don't necessarily want to play the gest teams in the country.

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15 hours ago, OldSchoolLion said:

In other countries they do and have for many years.  This is an interesting article from a couple of years ago 

https://www.postandcourier.com/sports/in-europe-you-dont-play-high-school-or-college-sports-some-think-u-s-should/article_92ad84ba-a5c8-11e8-86ae-df88215ac3a1.html

IMO, the US is continuing to use this antiquated system of developing athletes that fails on many fronts.  We place the burden of developing our future athletes on underpaid hs coaches and taxpayer funding.  Colleges and pro teams make billions off US athletes with relatively little investment.  What a deal!

Look at how many FL hs football players wash out in college.  Many of our high schools do not prepare football players academically and fail to teach them life skills needed to succeed as a student-athlete at the next level.  Yet we continue to cling to this concept and vilify the IMG's of the world.

It depends on the purpose of high school athletics. Is the purpose of athletics to allow teenagers to learn to work together in a common goal and develop important life skills (beyond the playing field)? If so, then no, Academies are not necessary.

Most players are not going to college on an athletic scholarship and most of them understand this by their junior year. Some compete because it makes them part of something bigger themselves or they like football. Some have pent up aggression and football gives them a legal avenue for that. Florida has numerous boys volleyball teams, almost none will get athletic scholarships, yet they play and why not? It is fun. 

Sports academies suck the fun out of games and competition. They make it less about a community event and more about who paid the most money. 

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41 minutes ago, gatorman-uf said:

It depends on the purpose of high school athletics. Is the purpose of athletics to allow teenagers to learn to work together in a common goal and develop important life skills (beyond the playing field)? If so, then no, Academies are not necessary.

Most players are not going to college on an athletic scholarship and most of them understand this by their junior year. Some compete because it makes them part of something bigger themselves or they like football. Some have pent up aggression and football gives them a legal avenue for that. Florida has numerous boys volleyball teams, almost none will get athletic scholarships, yet they play and why not? It is fun. 

Sports academies suck the fun out of games and competition. They make it less about a community event and more about who paid the most money. 

IMG makes no bones that they are an athletic academy that prepares students for professional sports. They also are a high school that prepares students academically. There is only one IMG academy in the state and probably one of a very few throughout the country. IMG may possibly be the only one of its type in the country. Really don't see how this affects the character of high school football either in Florida or the country as a whole. I'm quite sure that the students at IMG put their professional future ahead of having fun on the field of competition. While other high school players are having fun IMG players are working their backsides off to become the best in their field of endeavor. I do agree with your concern about high school sports as a whole getting too overly serious to where it tends to do more harm than good. When a team allows "recruits" (that's what I call them) to join the team it's usually at the expense of the players that are already on the team and may have been for 2 or 3 years. Can't imagine the potential damage that does. I liked the previous FHSAA ruling that if you transferred from one school to another to play a sport you had to wait until the next season to play.

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1 hour ago, Proseteye said:

IMG makes no bones that they are an athletic academy that prepares students for professional sports. They also are a high school that prepares students academically. There is only one IMG academy in the state and probably one of a very few throughout the country. IMG may possibly be the only one of its type in the country. Really don't see how this affects the character of high school football either in Florida or the country as a whole. I'm quite sure that the students at IMG put their professional future ahead of having fun on the field of competition. While other high school players are having fun IMG players are working their backsides off to become the best in their field of endeavor. I do agree with your concern about high school sports as a whole getting too overly serious to where it tends to do more harm than good. When a team allows "recruits" (that's what I call them) to join the team it's usually at the expense of the players that are already on the team and may have been for 2 or 3 years. Can't imagine the potential damage that does. I liked the previous FHSAA ruling that if you transferred from one school to another to play a sport you had to wait until the next season to play.

When OldSchool describes academies, please realize most of the European soccer/basketball academies are independent of the schools and thus if we adopted the academy model in the US, schools would no longer offer those sports.

I understand what IMG is, I appreciate the fact that they are honest about who they are and thus don't compete with traditional schools.  (I do wonder about who is paying for these kids to pay to attend these schools, because the cost is ridiculous and as a parent, if you have that type of $$$, then pay for the damn college education yourself, instead of relying on athletics). 

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11 hours ago, gatorman-uf said:

When OldSchool describes academies, please realize most of the European soccer/basketball academies are independent of the schools and thus if we adopted the academy model in the US, schools would no longer offer those sports.

I understand what IMG is, I appreciate the fact that they are honest about who they are and thus don't compete with traditional schools.  (I do wonder about who is paying for these kids to pay to attend these schools, because the cost is ridiculous and as a parent, if you have that type of $$$, then pay for the damn college education yourself, instead of relying on athletics). 

I think high schools could still offer sports like football, but as mentioned in the article, they would be more like intramurals.  Wouldn't be the worst thing in the world since kids shying away from playing today because they are not good enough and/or big enough to make the team might get involved.  

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6 hours ago, gatorman-uf said:

When OldSchool describes academies, please realize most of the European soccer/basketball academies are independent of the schools and thus if we adopted the academy model in the US, schools would no longer offer those sports.

I understand what IMG is, I appreciate the fact that they are honest about who they are and thus don't compete with traditional schools.  (I do wonder about who is paying for these kids to pay to attend these schools, because the cost is ridiculous and as a parent, if you have that type of $$$, then pay for the damn college education yourself, instead of relying on athletics). 

There is an increasing desire amongst college coaches today to get kids who are ready to play as soon as they hit the campus.  Think of how attractive it would be to a college coach knowing that your 4-star recruit is being prepped in an academy much better designed to get that result than many "regular" high schools.  They might even be willing to chip in to get that advantage.:rolleyes: 

 

     

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37 minutes ago, Perspective said:

Quick "yes or no" question for Hornet, Gatorman, Proset and OldSchool (and anybody else who wants to answer): 

In your opinion, or based on information that has been shared with you, does IMG actively recruit kids to play on its football teams -- yes or no? 

Yes they do. 

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52 minutes ago, Perspective said:

Quick "yes or no" question for Hornet, Gatorman, Proset and OldSchool (and anybody else who wants to answer): 

In your opinion, or based on information that has been shared with you, does IMG actively recruit kids to play on its football teams -- yes or no? 

Just like every private school they have to recruit in order to pay the bills. I don't know how else private schools would get students to enroll in their institutions and pay for it. Unlike public schools they are a business. Most businesses actively recruit employees. In this case it is students instead of employees. Just my two cents. 

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1 minute ago, Proseteye said:

Just like every private school they have to recruit in order to pay the bills. I don't know how else private schools would get students to enroll in their institutions and pay for it. Unlike public schools they are a business. Most businesses actively recruit employees. In this case it is students instead of employees. Just my two cents. 

Yes.  And that's where I have always seen the irony.  Imagine owning a business and the government dictating to you that some of your product line cannot be advertised or, if so, only with certain restrictions.  We would never tolerate that as a society.  

Yet that is exactly what we do to private schools.  Sell education all you want, but don't sell athletics.  We want free enterprise as long as it doesn't interfere with my son's public school team getting beat out by a private school.

I am not a private school homer.  I just call it how I see it.  

 

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4 hours ago, OldSchoolLion said:

I think high schools could still offer sports like football, but as mentioned in the article, they would be more like intermurals.  Wouldn't be the worst thing in the world since kids shying away from playing today because they are not good enough and/or big enough to make the team might get involved.  

On the average HS football team, you see all levels of talent. There are the kids who are tremendous athletes that excel above others; they get the most playing time along with the other better athletes on the team. Then you have kids who aren't stars, but love playing the sport. I doubt any of the aforementioned kids are looking for an intramural football team. They want to compete and hopefully be successful. Every team also has kids of average ability who want to be part of the team because they enjoy the sport, but they may not necessarily want to play the entire game and risk getting hurt or being embarrassed because they can't perform at the highest level. There is some prestige and level of acceptance by the student body for members of the football team and for some kids, that is enough incentive to be on the team. HS football offers some very talented kids the opportunity to attend college that may not happen otherwise. I think it's the responsibility of administrators and athletic directors, as well as the FHSAA, to provide appropriate levels where teams of varying talent can compete with like teams.

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7 hours ago, Perspective said:

Quick "yes or no" question for Hornet, Gatorman, Proset and OldSchool (and anybody else who wants to answer): 

In your opinion, or based on information that has been shared with you, does IMG actively recruit kids to play on its football teams -- yes or no? 

So, three people responded and all three answered "yes."  In other words, all three people believe that IMG is violating existing FHSAA rules.   Proset went so far as to state that all private schools have to recruit to stay in business.  But there's a difference between private schools advertising to a large pool of prospective students (perfectly legit) vs. making direct contact with select athletes for the purpose of encouraging those kids to come play football at the school (against the rules). 

Hey, I understand that good arguments can be made that public and private schools are inherently different and should be treated differently when it comes to sports, in general, and recruiting, specifically.   To date, however, the FHSAA has not been willing to make that distinction.   That's the problem I have with IMG (and arguably a handful of other schools).   They actively recruit.  Everybody knows it.  Nothing gets done about it.  Might as well tear that page out of the sports manual. 

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8 hours ago, Perspective said:

Quick "yes or no" question for Hornet, Gatorman, Proset and OldSchool (and anybody else who wants to answer): 

In your opinion, or based on information that has been shared with you, does IMG actively recruit kids to play on its football teams -- yes or no? 

Perspective, if you wish, create a thread titled "Should IMG be allowed in the FHSAA."  It's a viable topic that really deserves its own discussion.  The purpose of this thread was not to foster debate along those lines.  It was to look at the pros and cons of academies from a broader perspective.   

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4 minutes ago, OldSchoolLion said:

Perspective, if you wish, create a thread titled "Should IMG be allowed in the FHSAA."  It's a viable topic that really deserves its own discussion.  The purpose of this thread was not to foster debate along those lines.  It was to look at the pros and cons of academies from a broader perspective.   

Understood.   However, it appears to me that IMG is the prototype for "academies," at least in Florida.  If you want to focus the discussion on academies, as institutions separate and distinct from schools, that's fine.  I'm prepared to do that.  But when you overlap academies and schools (which is what has happened with IMG), it seems rather difficult to separate the issues.   Nevertheless, and going forward, I'll try to carve out any consideration of the educational value of academies, as that invites further discussion and debate about their involvement in the FHSAA. 

By the way, a "broader perspective" is exactly what my wife, who is a terrific cook, has ended up with after 30 years of marriage.   B)

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14 hours ago, Perspective said:

Understood.   However, it appears to me that IMG is the prototype for "academies," at least in Florida.  If you want to focus the discussion on academies, as institutions separate and distinct from schools, that's fine.  I'm prepared to do that.  But when you overlap academies and schools (which is what has happened with IMG), it seems rather difficult to separate the issues.   Nevertheless, and going forward, I'll try to carve out any consideration of the educational value of academies, as that invites further discussion and debate about their involvement in the FHSAA. 

By the way, a "broader perspective" is exactly what my wife, who is a terrific cook, has ended up with after 30 years of marriage.   B)

In years to come, we may look back at today as a transitional time when we shifted our way of thinking about education and athletics and the way we have intertwined the two.  Right now, hs football is faced with something relatively new, ie IMG and certain private school powerhouses, and is not quite sure what to do with them.  What this transition could look like over time is a fascinating topic itself.   

 

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On 11/23/2020 at 10:30 PM, gatorman-uf said:

Sports academies suck the fun out of games and competition. They make it less about a community event and more about who paid the most money. 

I worked for 2 years at IMG. IMG football games are dull and boring, no fan support, rare is the parent in the stands, no cheerleaders from the school (they bus some in), no band from the school(they bus in a pep band), no excitement at all...and for the most part even their own students don't attend, some wander in and wander out but you get more excitement in the school cafeteria when foreign soccer broadcasts are on the myriad of TV's. IMG fills a need for many athletes to get scholarships to better schools - including football - but it is certainly only a business and not a community.

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:57 AM, gatorman-uf said:

(I do wonder about who is paying for these kids to pay to attend these schools, because the cost is ridiculous and as a parent, if you have that type of $$$, then pay for the damn college education yourself, instead of relying on athletics). 

Man you should see some of the cars these kids drive at IMG...most of us couldn't' afford one in a lifetime of work and those that could are likely to frugal to do so... and oh are they some arrogant kids - obviously not all, many are foreign attending on Visa's and they seem better behaved as a whole but many act very entitled. 

I had one football player I told to get back to his dorm room as it was after curfew and he told me he was going to Alabama next year and I said, great but your not at Alabama now...get back to your room. He went but with attitude. 

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I'm not doubting your experience. However, the stands are usually packed for their home games. Don't know where these people come from and who they are? Maybe they just want to see a good football team play. And, I am quite sure that the stands are really packed for their away games. We all know that IMG is an institution of the privileged which I think most people accept. Unfortunately "attitude" is endemic among many of the young today and not just on the campus of IMG. Thank you for your insight though it's appreciated. 

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