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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

Our latest power rankings still have college flare

Jamil King

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Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Another week has come and gone. And it was another week of several losses taking place in the state. With that being said, here is how this week’s rankings shape up:

5. FAU Owls- With almost every other team losing someone has to land at five. The Owls were spectacular in wiping out the FIU Panthers in their 49-14 win. Devin Singletary flashed his great abilities with 184 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Former FSU Qb De’Andre Johnson jump-started the offense with two touchdowns of his own. Lane Kiffin and FAU won’t get back to the C-USA Title game, but that was a quality showing against the local rival.

4. Florida Gators- It was a sad Saturday at the swamp. The Gators offense couldn’t get anything going. In fact, Kyle Trask came on in relief of Feleipe Franks and now the debate is who should be the QB? The Gators were on a nice run before dropping two games in a row now. Florida though still finds themselves 15th in the latest CFB Playoff polls. There’s still an outside shot at a good bowl game, too.

3. Miami Dolphins- Would you look at this?! Another team that actually, won a game last week. The Dolphins battled lousy field conditions in route to an ugly 13-6 win over the Jets. The defense forced four interceptions, one for a TD and Jason Sanders field goals got the victory. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Phins and gave them momentum into a clash with Green Bay Sunday.

2. FIU Panthers- The Panthers, did drop a game last week to FIU, but the body of work keeps them here. I know it sounds like the CFB committee right there, who I will get to later. At 5-1, coach Butch Davis and the Panthers can win out and still play for the C-USA title. So they do control their own destiny for that.

1. UCF Knights- The Knights were able to hold off the rally by Temple to keep the undefeated season intact. Four touchdowns from the returning Milton helped the Knights win 52-40. The problem was that the score was close. In the new CFB playoff rankings, the Knights sit at 12. LSU though is still in the top 10 after getting shutout at home. West Virginia had a great road win at Texas, but also hardly moved up.

As the weeks go by it seems more and more likely that UCF will not be a part of the CFB playoff or even sniff the top 6.

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CFB

Shakeup in our power rankings this week

Jamil King

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What a crazy week we had in Florida. All three pro teams lost (none have wining records), all three power five college programs in action, also lost. So where does that leave us with this week’s rankings?

5. Florida A&M Rattlers- Who? What? How? Why? All questions you probably have with this selection. FAMU is located in Tallahassee for those who don’t know. Yes, a team there is winning right now. They play in the MEAC of the FCS division. The Rattlers though deserve to be here thanks to their good play (five wins in a row) but also the lousy play of everyone else. The Rattlers are currently 1st in the MEAC and sit one win away from clinching their first conference title since 2001. They have an impressive last-second win over 17th ranked North Carolina A&T. While they might be a small school, we don’t forget anyone here at FFI, especially if you are winning.

4- USF Bulls- The Bulls finally suffered their first defeat of the season. We have discussed here at FFI that the Bulls had been playing with fire and the subpar play they showed at times might cost them. Houston did just that and ended the Bulls undefeated season for the second consecutive season. The Bulls still have their whole season in front of them though with games against Cincinnati, Temple, and UCF. The Bulls could win out, win the conference and compete in the New Year’s Six bowls.

3- Florida Gators- The Gators also come off a loss last week at the hands of the rival Georgia Bulldogs. Some costly turnovers hampered the Gators ability to win this one. The Gators though did come in at number 11 in the initial College Football Playoff committee rankings, in fact, one spot ahead of UCF. While the Gators probably won’t be playing for any championships this year if Dan Mullen can win out and beat FSU and get to a major bowl game this season would be a great success.

2- FIU Panthers- The Panthers and coach Butch Davis (above) are the only team from last week’s five to win. Every week I talk about QB James Morgan and every week he leads the team to victory. Morgan tossed three more touchdowns in a win over Western Kentucky. However, the run game was dominating as well. D’vonte Price had 119 yards and two touchdowns. Napoleon Maxwell had 80 yards of his own. The Panthers take on rival FAU this week looking to continue the streak they are on and remain the top team in Conference USA.

1-UCF Knights- The Knights were on their bye week, and the only focus was on the rankings. While they climbed in the AP poll, they debuted at onlyl #12 in the playoff rankings. While it is higher than where they initially were last year, I’m sure they don’t like it. The Knights being behind in-state Florida is what might hurt the most with the Gators having two loses. The Knights though have a few big games ahead of them to end the season, starting with Temple Thursday night, and it will be interesting to see how everything plays out.

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CFB

Lots of movement up in AP Top 25 for state teams

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A very successful weekend for the four prominent college teams in the state and the latest AP poll out Sunday afternoon reflects the upward trend. This includes a team joining the AP Top 25 for the first time this season. More on them in the moment.

First up is UCF, which enters the AP top 10 for the first time this season on the heels of their 48-20 blowout win over SMU Saturday night in Orlando. QB McKenzie Milton threw for two scores and RB Adrian Killins ran for 120 yards and another TD in the easy AAC win. The Knights have now won 18 games in a row and are clearly getting national attention.

The biggest movement up was the Florida Gators racing from number 22 up to #14 in this week’s AP after their thrilling 27-19 victory over LSU Saturday afternoon in the Swamp. Florida, which is in the top 15 for the first time this season, is now coming off the three straight SEC victories. It’s also the first time the Gators had beaten an AP Top five opponent since 2015.

The Miami Hurricanes wild 20-point second-half comeback enabled them to beat rival Florida State 28 – 27 and the Canes have moved up one spot to 16th in the AP poll. Coach Mark Richt’s team breathed a sigh of relief with the win, which also keeps them unbeaten in the ACC.

Meanwhile, USF has entered the AP Top 25 for the first time this season at #23 overall. This after the Bulls got a school record rushing day from RB Jordan Cronkrite in a 58-40 to win at UMass Saturday afternoon.

Charlie Strong’s team had been receiving votes in the AP Poll the last couple of weeks, but it’s interesting that they’re getting this much respect. This is despite the fact that their last three victories have been over teams with losing records.

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