Texas HS association president blasts ESPN, "madness of recruiting coverage"

Texas high school football has become the litmus test for many national power houses from California, Florida and, most recently, Bishop Gorman from Las Vegas which defeated Cedar Hill in a nationally televised game in prime time by ESPN last Saturday.

For the second consecutive-time, the elected president of the Texas High School Coaches Association released a letter Thursday highlighting the differences between Texas’ public high schools and some of the private school powerhouses from around the nation. San Antonio Reagan head football coach and former Baylor player David Wetzel questioned the lure and purpose of All-Star football teams being built and the ESPN coverage which “over indulge(d) in all the recruiting madness that our media has created.”

Previous THSCA president Glen West previously has written about IMG Academy of Bradenton, Fla. Which recruits top players from around the country (including three from Texas this year including a former top player at SA Reagan, Texas A&M commit QB Kellen Mond.) and West encouraged Texas high school football coaches not to play similar programs. 

The full letter by Wetzel:

By David Wetzel
THSCA President

I watched my first nationally televised high school football game on ESPN Saturday night. The only reason I watched is because my good friend Joey McGuire’s Cedar Hill  team was playing Bishop Gorman from Las Vegas. Bishop Gorman Head Coach Kenny Sanchez (and his brother Tony-current UNLV Head Coach) and I worked together on the staff of the West team at the US Army All American Bowl in January of 2014. Cedar Hill is as talented a team as there is in the state of Texas. I think most coaches around the state would agree with that statement. The Longhorns, however, were no match for the players from Bishop Gorman.

I am sure Coach McGuire is disappointed with some of the behavior/personal fouls from some of the players on his team. I know for sure he did not like the outcome of the game. Joey will deal with all of that because he has helped raise and nurture these players. They all live in Cedar Hill, Texas. Most of the players on this team have been there for most of their lives. They went to elementary and middle school in Cedar Hill. Whatever immediate family the Cedar Hill players have most likely live in the Cedar Hill area. These families are part of the “village” that helps raise up young people. They are part of a community.

Comparing Cedar Hill to Bishop Gorman is like comparing apples and oranges. They are two very different entities. I like Kenny Sanchez and think he and his staff do a great job. But Coach Sanchez knows the deal, too. He knows that he has a totally different situation at Bishop Gorman. Several of the BG players moved to Las Vegas to play football at this prestigious school. Many of the players do not necessarily have “roots” in the BG “community”.

There must be a great deal of people who really enjoy reading, watching, and hearing about high school football as it relates to college football recruiting. I cannot think of another reason why so much time and attention was spent during the Cedar Hill/Bishop Gorman game displaying the offers that so many of the players have received. Is this really what the media thinks high school football is about? Is this really what we are interested in when we watch high school football?

If parents want to send their children to a “nationally rank football powerhouse”, that most certainly is their God given right as a parent. It is certainly the right of fans  to over indulge in all the recruiting madness that our media has created, too.

But I firmly believe that most of us in the football-loving state of Texas want to maintain and support the sanctity of what the community High Schools really do here in our great state. We live here. We work here. We pay our taxes here. We help raise each other’s kids. We love to win. But understand that may not always be possible. We appreciate the lessons our kids get from struggles and defeats, too. We are not concerned with recruiting lists or national rankings. We want our kids do their best. We want our teams to do their best. We want our kids to act right. We want our teams to grow and mature together and learn those life lessons that can only be learned on the football field.

Cedar Hill will have a good football season. I do not know what their record will be in the end. It really does not matter. Those kids will learn some valuable lessons from a coaching staff that has watched them and grown with them since they were very young. Many of these young men will come back and live in Cedar Hill and be responsible hard working citizens in the community in which they grew up. The parents and families of the Longhorn players are proud of where they live, where their kids go to school, and of the team their sons play for. These parents would never dream of moving out of state so their son could play for a team like Bishop Gorman. They would never dream of taking their son from the teammates he grew up with and shed blood, sweat, and tears with since the youth football days.

Texas High School football is so much bigger than the individual players that play on the teams. It does not matter if a young man is a top recruit or not. It does not matter if a player has an offer or not.

There are thousands of Texas High School football players who may never play in college. There are some really great players in our communities all around the state who are just that….really good High School players. They play for their school. They play for their community. They play for their families….the family they are kin to by blood and the family they have bled with for years through the association as teammates in this great game.

Everyone in our great nation has the right to value what they want to value. But I hope that we remember what makes High School football special here in Texas. We do not need All-Star football schools. We should not want to have ”select” football teams. We do not need the lure, glitz, and glamour of the NFL or FBS taking place on Friday nights in Texas.

What is important to me might not be important to the next guy. But I am willing to bet that there are many Texas High School football advocates who feel the same way.

It’s all a matter of perspective!

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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