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National Recruiting Day major part of exploitive nature of college football

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Brett Davis)

I understand I’m a few days late driving a rant towards the impurity of major college athletics, but I needed a few days to gather my thoughts. Unless you have been living in some hidden anti-zombie bunker recently, you ought to know that Wednesday was National Signing Day for college football. Now this year it was a little different as they have opened up the recruiting process allowing for recruits to sign their national letters of intent starting in December. That said it didn’t stop the overtly egregious media coverage on Wednesday.

Perhaps the biggest drama occurred at WR Jacob Copeland’s announcement which was televised nationally, which I’ll get to in a second. But by now you are likely up to speed as to what happened.

Now the whole hat ordeal wasn’t anything new, it’s kind of a little game the recruits get to play with the different hats. It was Copeland’s mother’s reaction that was the story. I was joking that she was probably worried that she would have to return whatever gifts Nick Saban gave her to try to woo her son to Bama. Obviously I have zero evidence to make the charge or any inside information proving this assertion, but it isn’t too far fetched.

Recruiting has become a gigantic industry within the college football landscape. It’s the lifeblood of all programs and it’s the part of the sport that is 24/7/365. Taking a day off could mean missing out on a major prospect that could make a major difference on said program.

I don’t have to explain to entire process to the audience on this site. Everyone understands the importance of recruiting. It’s so important that was once obscurely covered where you would find out who went wear when a fax came through with a list of names, now has dozens of websites, radio shows, TV programs, podcasts, web series that covers recruiting every single day of the year. Look it’s popular we understand, but what it has become is yet another example of gross exploitation of young mostly African American males.

Hey Ari why do you have to make this about race?

Duh because the overwhelming majority of the nation’s top recruits are black  Be my guest and be cognitive dissonant, and also be complicit in the exploitation.

I’m not going to sit here however and wax with some righteous indignation. I have been covering college sports for a long time, for over two decades now. My hands are as bloody as anyone else in this game. However recruiting and it’s excessive coverage has always been something that has made me feel really dirty just talking about it.

The Copeland clip is just an example of how ridiculous this all is. There is no reason for these young men to receive all this attention and prestige. Not saying their skill and accomplishments aren’t deserving of praise, it’s just they are parading these young people out only to throw them into a system which isn’t giving them their fair share of the cut.

Coaches these days are making several million dollars a year. TV contracts are out of this world, however not a dime goes to the kids. That said, there is a lot of money that flies around during the recruiting process. If you think suitcases of money and other monetary transactions aren’t happening on a daily basis you’re living with your head in your rear end.

A lot of these young people have handlers these days for the various youth leagues and camps they attend. Those guys are going to need a cut. You have the apparel companies that are out here trying to get school contracts to outfit the kids, those guys are going to want a cut. Then you have the families, many come from working class or from abject poverty that of course are looking for their cut. Often the young people involved don’t end up with much. Maybe a car, which title will be transferred over with car note after said recruit has a tragic injury or just plain old repossessed.

Now I know those looking to maintain the status quo are going to be talking about how the scholarship is the worthy transaction and so valuable you can’t even quantify it. Indeed this may be the case. But these folks aren’t going to the school for that scholarship. It’s the money they generate for the University at large is what brings them to the school. The fact you can’t quantify the value of the college diploma is really part of the whole scam. I didn’t even get into the physical toll football plays on the body. These kids don’t even get medical coverage once they leave school despite sacrificing their body for the school. Again tell me what a college diploma does for managing chronic pain or worse CTE. This isn’t exactly proper treatment, but I digress.

It all begins with the recruiting process though. That’s were the seeds of exploitation are planted. I do not blame Jacob Copeland, or did I think his mother did anything wrong. I’m not out here blasting them. It’s just that TV moment really exposed the problem with the hypocrisy and ridiculous nature of recruiting. I wish nothing but the best for Copeland and his family, he seems like a nice young man. I’m just concerned whether he’s aware he’s about to be tossed into the machine and is a mere expendable pawn. I would be more than happy to blow up this exploitive system so Copeland and his family can directly benefit for his talents. Until then I’ll just use this platform when I can to fight for justice for these young people.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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CFB

Gators at Vols and USF trying to stay unbeaten top Saturday primer

Jamil King

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Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The latest Saturday of college football around the State has every school in Florida in action. Some will be paying each other; one will be in a rivalry and another looking to bounce back vs. a MAC opponent.

Here’s what to watch for as September rolls on:

The Florida Gators will be taking on SEC East Rival Tennessee in a game in Knoxville, TN, that looks to be just who can make the least amount of mistakes.We wrote earlier this week about how the rivalry has lost its luster.

The Gators will need to try to find an offensive identity in this game, whether that be with QB Felipe Franks finding a grove or establishing a downhill running attack. After dropping his first conference game to Kentucky, Dan Mullen will look to get his first conference win, as a Gator.

The Florida State Seminoles are just looking for something to go right for themselves this weekend. After the second humiliating offensive performance of the season last Saturday, Willie Taggart needs this game to go his way. Still, as we also wrote this week, Taggart is not going anywhere during or after this season.

Against NIU this afternoon, the Noles need to keep QB Deondre Francois on his feet and establish the run. Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick need to get a lot of carries early and often in this one so the Noles can set a tone. Will the offensive line be better. Can the Seminoles defense make plays?

The Canes will get in-state rival FIU in a battle of south Florida. Miami has bounced back from their early-season defeat to LSU. However, Canes haven’t played any significant opponents in Savanah State and Toledo. The Canes though have used these games to fix an offense that was broken in Dallas.

QB Malik Rosier has improved over the weeks, and the Canes may have found a playmaker in Dee Jay Dallas. Miami will look to continue the offensive momentum before starting ACC play.

Finally, USF is under the lights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and should have a fairly easy time with American Conference opponent East Carolina. The Bulls come off back to back impressive wins over Georgia Tech and last week in Chicago against Illinois.

In that game, QB Blake Barnett threw the winning TD pass in the final two minutes to help the Bulls start 3-0 for the second straight year under Charlile Strong.

Let’s see if the Bulls make quick work of the visiting Pirates.

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CFB

Bulls travel to Illinois as part of Saturday College Primer

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another Saturday of college football in September and two of the state’s teams travel on the road in the biggest matchups of the weekend.

USF will take on Big Ten power 5 team Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago at 3:30 Eastern.

The Bulls are fresh off a 49-38 defeat opponent Georgia Tech last weekend. In that game, quarterback Blake Barnett (above) played solidly. And, special-teams speedster Terrence Horne raced two kick off returns back for touchdowns in the first quarter alone, to help the Bulls get a win over a Power Five conference team.

For his efforts, Horne was named Special Teams Player of the Week in the American Conference.

Meanwhile, it has been a struggle for Illinois and former Buccaneers and Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Winless in the Big Ten a year ago and now in his third season, Illinois struggled to get by two easy opponents to start this season. His team is going with a Young quarterback in A.J. Bush and the oddsmakers have the Illini as 12 point underdogs at home.

The pressure is on Smith to get something going, particularly in conference play in a bad outing maybe a bad omen.

The next biggest game of the day comes up at Noon Eastern time when Florida State travels to Syracuse in an ACC game at the Carrier Dome.

As we wrote earlier in the week the Seminoles better have their track shoes on, as this one is likely to be and up and down the field high-scoring game.

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey is excellent dual threat, and probably better at running the football. FSU’s defense has really struggled in the first two games with Virginia Tech and Samford and has to get themselves back on track.

Meanwhile, quarterback Deondre Francois, running back Cam Akers and the Noles offense know that they have to put the points on the board, as well. They did so in the second half of last week’s come back when over the Bulldogs at Doak Campbell Stadium.

New coach Willie Taggart needs a good showing to qwell the growing criticism early on of his hire.

The Miami Hurricanes, they are in Toledo, Ohio taking on the MAC’s Rockets, also in a Noon Eastern Time game. Canes had no trouble with Savannah State last week in a 77 – 0 blowout win.

Quarterback Malik Rosier played only part of the first have that’s coach Mark Richt was able to get some playing time for two of his backups as the game went on.

Toledo actually played Miami tough for a half last year at Hard Rock Stadium leading 16-10 at intermission before Miami pulled away in the second half.

Toledo’s home stadium, known as the Glass Bowl seats 25,000, and they have been waiting for this game for two years. Let’s see if the Hurricanes have some struggles.

And finally, the Gators play host to Colorado State at the swamp at 4 p.m. Florida is still smarting from their upset loss at home last week to Kentucky in the SEC opener. As you probably know, the Wildcats napping 31 game losing streak to the Gators completely out playing them especially in the second half.

Florida’s defensive line in particular struggled for much of the night to do anything to stop the Wildcats rushing offense.

A while this will not be an easy task has Colorado State comes in having knocked off SEC West team Arkansas at home last week behind quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels, who has already thrown for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in three games for the Rams.

Ironically, this is a game being played because former coach Jim McElwain and the University of Florida worked out a deal with Colorado State to help let him out of his contract, if they would host the Rams in a game.

Of course McElwain was dismissed in late October last season, and now the new coach, Dan Mullen, is trying to regain some swagger after last week’s stinging defeat.

Gators cannot get caught looking ahead to next week showdown at Tennessee.

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CFB

Week two Saturday college football primer

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a hot September Saturday in Florida and all five of the prominent state school teams will be hosting games this week.

For FSU, Miami and UCF, they have easy opponents and should win convincingly. For the Gators, it’s the SEC opener with a team that has been their slave for four decades (Kentucky) and USF plays the game with the most intrigue this weekend, as they host perennial ACC contender Georgia Tech.

First for the easy ones, Florida State will look to bounce back from their 24-3 defeat Monday night against Virginia Tech on a short week against Samford. Look for the Noles to score early and often tonight in this one with a much easier level of competition.

Miami is still smarting from their Sunday night lost to LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Canes will get an easy game today with Savannah State at Hard Rock Stadium. Quarterback Malik Rosier has got to get himself back on track to open this season.

And in Orlando, UCF puts the nation’s longest winning streak on the line at 14 in a row, and will easily make it 15 in a row in a game with South Carolina State. Look for QB McKenzie Milton and Co. to light them up and not play much in the second half of this one.

For USF, they have the noon Eastern Time start with the Yellow Jackets, as we wrote earlier this week the toughest task is defending their triple option. It will be difficult on USF defense to stop quarterback Taquon Marshall and all of their assorted runners in the backfield.

Bulls quarterback Blake Barnett threw for three scores and ran for another against easy competition in Elon. However, this will be a step up in competition for him as well, against Tech.

And finally tonight in Gainesville, the Gators open SEC play against Kentucky, a program that they have owned since 1986. Our Matt Zemek took a unique look many different parts of life and pop culture that started 32 years ago when the Wildcats last beat the Gators.

In the present day, quarterback Felipe Franks Franks looks to follow up on his five touchdown first half performance last week against Charleston Southern. The Gators will also try to use running back Jordan Scarlett more this week as well. Florida is heavily favored to be 2-0 and 32 for 32 against the Wildcats.

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